Thursday, 24 March 2011

Ruskin Explains Manga

I'm reading John Ruskin's "The Nature of gothic" at the moment.
I noticed he describes exactly what Manga is, (or any artistic label, that's the point) better than almost anyone. I've edited his text here, replacing various words and examples- and repeatedly the word "Gothic" with "Manga". Take a look.
(also cross-posted at the Mango Art Jam blog, for those who don't like reading white on black...)

We know already what the early Disney art style is from which the transition to Manga was made, but we ought to know something of the modern Manga style into which it led. I shall endeavour therefore to give the reader in this chapter an idea, at once broad and definite, of the true nature of Manga style, properly so called; not of that of Japan only, but of universal Manga.

The principal difficulty in doing this arises from the fact that every book in the Manga style differs in some important respect from every other; and many include features which, if they occurred in other books, would not be considered Manga at all; so that all we have to reason upon is merely, if I may be allowed so to express it, a greater or less degree of Manganess in each image we examine. And it is this Manganess the character which according as it is found more or less in a book makes it more or less Manga--of which I want to define the nature; and I feel the same kind of difficulty in doing so which would be encountered by anyone who undertook to explain for instance, the Nature of Redness, without any actually red thing to point to, but only orange and purple things. Suppose he had only a piece of heather and a dead oak-leaf to do it with. He might say "the colour which is mixed with the yellow in this oak-leaf, and with the blue in this heather, would be red, if you had it separate; but it would be difficult, nevertheless, to make the abstraction perfectly intelligible; and it is so in a far greatest degree to make the abstraction of the Manga Style intelligible because that character itself is made up of many mingled ideas and can consist only in their union. That is to say, giant eyes do not constitute Manga--nor tiny mouths--nor speedlines, nor screen-tones; but all or some of these things--amid many other things with them--when they come together so as to have life.

Observe also that in the definition proposed I shall only endeavor to analyze the idea which I suppose already to exist in the readers mind. We all have some notion, most of us a very determined one, of the meaning of the term Manga; but I know that many persons have this idea in their minds without being able to define it: that is to say understanding generally that Naruto is Manga and Spiderman is not, that Love Hina is Manga, and Watchmen is not, they are nevertheless, no clear notion of what It IS that they recognize In the one or miss in the other such as would enable them to say how far the work by Kodansha or Marvel is good and pure of its kind; still less to say of any nondescript art, like Adam Warren or Jiro Taniguchi how much right Manga element there is in and how much wanting. And I believe this inquiry to be a pleasant and profitable one; and that there will be found something more than usually interesting in tracing out this grey shadow many-pinnacled image of the Manga spirit in us; and discerning what fellowship there is between it and our Western hearts. And if, at any point of the inquiry, I should interfere with any of the reader's previously formed conceptions, and use the term Manga in any sense which he would not willingly attach to it, I do not ask to accept, but only to examine and understand, my interpretation, as necessary to the intelligibility of what follows in the rest of the work.

Now go and read The Nature of Gothic, by John Ruskin (From The Stones of Venice, Vol.II)


Saturday, 1 January 2011

Die 2010 DIE.

I have this tradition, see, of posting random text message drunkeness while under the influence on New Years Eve on this blog. The message is as follows: gbashkp9'nkm,sqag
Congratulations. And a good one to you.
Left to Right: Worried Earnie, Red Dave, Homie, Sam.

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Fight Dinosaurs with lightsabers.

One of my clients asked me to do a poster for his six year old son as a Christmas present. The specific brief was to include dinosaurs, lightsabers, his electric guitar, his Kung-Fu pyjamas, explosions and ninja cats.
Rarely in my profession do we get paid for this much awesome.
I don't know if the "client" liked it- but I really hope so.

Friday, 23 July 2010

Silver Silhouette.

So my new webcomic is up on giant model fansite Modelinia.com It's about supermodels. Being superheroines. It's pretty silly. I was collaborating with Francesca Hammerstein who fed me high-life fashion info. Also thanks to O who gave me some typically snide insights into the seedy underbelly of the fashion world, unfortunately mostly unprintable!

I had a lot of fun drawing different models, and especially other characters that inhabit the fashion world. Just wait till you get to the episode with Anna Wintour and the Giant Japanese Robot invasion.

Sometimes I find it hard to belive I get paid for this stuff.

Wednesday, 30 June 2010


Y'all probably seen this already. I really need to get back to working in colour. I've got this sneaking feeling i'm forgetting how.

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Stop Presses.

Artist actually uploads art to blog. WORLD ENDS.
--some liquid City doodles.

Monday, 31 May 2010

MCM 17.

Another May, another MCM.
This time I was selling at the DFC table, trying to shift some of the gorgeous new DFC Library books. Bob Etherington, turned up to pimp Monkey Nuts, Baggage and all their related crazyness. Nobody sells like the Etheringtons. It's like they're a magnet for doe-eyed teenage girls.Adam Brockbank and Ben Haggarty were there on behalf of Mezolith, looking a little bemused, Dave Shelton signing Good Dog bad Dog and Niel Cameron to remind everyone the Mobot High graphic novel will hit the stands anytime soon! Gary Northfield and the impossibly energetic Sarah McIntyre had their own tables to man, but the popped in and out as the weekend rolled by.Highlights for me were Seeing Svetlana Chmakova again, who has an anthology book out with Sweatdrop Studios. She made good on her debt of two drawings, from the last time she was in the Uk. So now I can say I have two Svet originals and you don't. Nya Nya Nya!I bought some great small press too, Particularly Ross Burt's Astrofunk #2 and some gorgeous postcards by Celine Choo. She's one to keep your eye on for sure! Special mentions also go to Pud and Emma Vieceli for all the mind-bendingly hard work they put into the Expo twice a year.

Housemate Ronnie made a video. Warning- lots of flirting and piss-takery.

Then I went home and got stuck in a lift. I had to stare at this graffiti for at least half an hour while I tried to escape. Look, it has a diagram!Later.