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Please stop calling yourself a mangaka by MaximoVLorenzo Please stop calling yourself a mangaka by MaximoVLorenzo
Please stop calling your work manga, and yourself mangaka.

Before I explain why I’m asking for this favor, I should tell you a bit about myself. Growing up I had a friend who was into comics, stuff like THE PUNISHER, VENOM, SPAWN, really grim dark stuff. When he took me to my first comic book store I was about 12 years old, and I wanted to read about rad cartoony kids like me having adventures, running away from home and searching for treasures armed with firecrackers, yoyos, and baseball bats. All I could find in the 90’s were super muscled old dudes, guns, grimdark, and then there were archie and sonic comics. Sonic comics were action cartoony so I bought those but they didn’t really hold my interest (loved the cartoon though). Anyway I gave up on comics, I drew them but I was always inspired by videogames which had the heros I liked. I was drawn to Megaman, Goonies, Mario Bros which all either had kid heros or bright poppy colors and cool art in the instruction booklets. I stayed influenced by videogames until middleschool. I remember seeing a cartoon (anime) called Unico when I was a about 4-5? on a rental, it blew my mind so bad I was sort of convinced it was just a dream and it didn’t really exist, every other cartoon was nothing like that. But I remember watching Sailormoon and DBZ on TV about middleschool-highschool and it once again blew my mind that type of animation really did exist. From there I started buying over priced anime VHS from suncoast (mostly ranma 1/2), started reading manga, going to conventions, cosplaying and my art even started emulating my favorite anime/mangas from there. Later on I even got published under Tokyopop and THEY called my work manga ( I didn’t agree, but who was I going to argue with when they were paying me to draw comics? ). So by all accounts I understand the “But no manga is different!” feeling and that’s my biggest issue.

-It shouldn’t be different.

People see are the way the industries are run. The most powerful comic publishers in America flood the market with superheros written for males in their 30s-40s. Japan’s powerful comic publishers…well take Shueisha for example, publish comics for all genders all ages, while story lines move at much faster rates. These industries are important because they are the spots where lively hood from making comics is more possible, and because their distribution is more powerful they effect the general public’s perception of comics. In Japan comics are made for everyone so almost everyone reads comics, in America comics are seen as a culture and less of a medium for everyone. This makes the lures people like me with thoughts of going to Japan and being a mangaka, but that would not only be MORE difficult and also that wouldn’t help solves any of the problems we have in America. Instead of attempting to separate yourself from other comics artists, we should be working together to change the industry to our standards. With stuff like the internet, webcomics, kickstarter, apps, now more than ever it’s possible to change the world of comics into the world we want it to be. Personally I have no patience for people who superficially look down on others based on their art style, because they are annoyed by diversity which is the centerpiece of making comics a format that is acceptable to the general public. Everything you like from japan is accomplish-able in any other country and viceversa.

-People put too much importance on art style in a storytelling telling medium.

You can tell any story you like in any art style you like. Just to reiterate myself, manga isn’t a style, it’s not any more of a style than the words “movie” “newspaper” “tv show” “comic” Those perimeters are not specific enough to consider them styles, they are formats. Manga (comics from japan) do use symbolic features as part of the language there, but some do not. Some manga are drawn incredibly realistic (vagabond), some are cartoony and have more of those trademark symbols you recognize like big shiny eyes, or sweatdrops or whatever. If you use those symbols your only using superficial tools, these tools are useful in certain cases but they are hardly the heart of comics/manga which is STORYTELLING. So really the distinction most people see is superficial, what matters is the STORY.

-You don’t need that label of Manga / Mangaka and no one should be labeling you.

If you’re a comic artist and someone tried to tell you you don’t belong because of your art style? They are shallow and you shouldn’t waste your time with people like that. Don’t try to fit into what people want you to fit into, work to change things so what YOU prefer becomes the norm. Using the internet finding people who share your interests and will follow your work has been easier than ever. Yes you’ll go to publishers to show your portfolio, and even if you are skilled enough you will be snubbed based on your style. That is their short sighted mistake, in truth publishers don’t usually know what’s going to be good, they can only look at sales and say “oh if we put tits on the cover it sells more, so we should do that”. Punish them by being successful without them, make comics on your own, make a webcomic,and then if you’ve pulled followers on your own you’ll have more muscle to deal with publishers on your terms. If you are intent on working with a publisher keep searching until you can find a specific person from a publisher who will believe in you and support your work.

-Lastly although I hate to mention it, calling yourself a mangaka / manga artist unless you are from Japan makes people take you less seriously.

It shouldn’t really impact your decision to whether you do call yourself a mangaka / manga artist, but just know people are going to assume you are trying to be a special snowflake, that you’re not in the trenches with the rest of the comic artists, you’re above all that. But the fact is if you’re in America our comics industry and culture effects you, no matter how you try to separate yourself from the issue if you’re in a country and the people, economy, and culture all effect your success.

So worry less about your label and help change things so what you like doesn’t need to be distinguished from the rest of comics. Perhaps tell Deviant art to stop influencing youth to think otherwise through distinguishing galleries by “manga style” and “everything else”. Have them distinguish styles by Realistic, Cartoons, Isometric which are much better indicators of style. CHECK THE PYRAMID => [link]
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rulklad1 Featured By Owner Feb 17, 2015
Nekoekko Featured By Owner May 13, 2014  Hobbyist Artist
This is actually a good argument. But to be honest you don't
have to be Japanese to be a manga artist. I'm Cambodian and I actually do draw in the manga style. I'm sorry if I sound mean I'm not trying to be. Llama Emoji-08 (Crying) [V1] But this reminds  me of a guy in class who said that I couldn't be a manga artist just because I'm not Japanese and he told me to go jump off a bridge and kill myself. The thing is I have family in japan that are half Cambodian and Japanese and they  told me I didn't have to be Japanese to be a manga artist. To be honest I would like to work in the cartoon and comic business. But after that I actually lost some of confidence. Do you have any ideas what I should do. And I'm sorry if comment makes you angry or anything. 
MaximoVLorenzo Featured By Owner May 18, 2014  Professional General Artist
You can be anything you want to be, what im saying is a manga artist is a comic artist, why not just say comic artist? That guy in your class is an idiot, and you should feel like you can do anything.

Anyway my point isnt you cant be a "manga artist" so much as you make it harder for yourself to do be a comic artist when you support seperating manga from comics.
XAlieraxWinters Featured By Owner Jan 27, 2014  Student General Artist
This totally changed my mind set. I was feeling bit depressed at first, but then I really took in what you wrote. You're right. Thanks for changing my view 
warahi Featured By Owner Jan 20, 2014
just gonna say, Dragon Ball whip's Z's ass into the ground
FourteenthAngel Featured By Owner Dec 4, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
FINALLY, someone who is on the same wavelength as me! I loved what you have to say here and that is enough for someone like me, who was previously unfamiliar with you work, to respect you.

My art teachers would scoff at anyone who drew in anything that was even vaguely resemble "manga style." In reality, there is no one "manga style." A manga or anime could literally look like anything the artist wants to. Defining them all into one style is honestly quite silly. I always tried to reason why my teachers but they wouldn't to what I had to say even if I ranted until I was blue in the face.

When I was younger, I was big into anime and manga and still am but I take my influence from many places so these days I just call myself an artist. I do believe the comic industry is starving and we as artist should do something about it if we are so willing. 

Art style is important of course but those are just the bell and whistles when it comes to telling a story with actual characters. Way to many people "...judge a book by its cover" so to speak. 

Again thank you for this!
bizzeebee Featured By Owner Oct 7, 2013
Well,I'm studying Japanese,and someday,I'm gonna make comics in Japan,so call it what you want!I'm not gonna argue with you.
Crimsonoid Featured By Owner Oct 5, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
I totally agree, but something else made me want to comment here

hellfiredemonchild Featured By Owner Sep 22, 2013  Student Artist
how did you get your work seen by the publishers in japan?
MQ-Killer Featured By Owner Jul 22, 2013  Student Digital Artist
I usually call them wapanese(you know, people who think themselves Japanese because looks cool).
I understand your words. I have seen loots of them here in south California... they even flow in the
family... what a waste of their time. Great argument bro!
Dreamslayer1 Featured By Owner Apr 6, 2013

also. DBZ, one of the most popular in the world has terrible story about a villians named freezer. cell and a guy from a disney movie's childrens song called bidibi bodibi buu

another is named after underwear, trunks,bra, bulma. another after a vegetable named vegeta.

the story is about 7 dragonballs and they fight with powerlevels. shitty story but very very good fighting in it. one of my favorites and others for just that. its hardly the heart of manga which is FIGHTING. hence why its so much better. than normal comics.

or anything else written(yes even preacher with garth ennis, he is a shock writer with gore any sexual necrofilic cannibalistic sex in it but he is one of the best if not the best writer when writing friendship in characters)
and simular are graphic novels.
obviously a neogolistic term created by the spirit creator.
nevertheless, his work. a contract with god is boring but at least tries. in my own opinion its not a graphic novel since its too terrible. the creator of the term couldnt of course make his own creation a graphic novel when he created the term. sad but true.

sandman and watchmen are, they are primary to storytelling. the rest like cape hero comics are something to pass the time. but its not interesting fight scenes, speedlines, pre-panels that manga has. nor the pages for it.

i mean hell, baki, son of ogre has 400 fucking pages dedicated to one fight.

ONE FIGHT VIA characters one on one.

if you are a good mangaka, you can call your manga for manga and yourself mangaka.
How you define yourself is not by popularity since Twillight and the belief the world was round means its not a constant. but you yourself should judge it and compare it to mangas you yourself have researched and defined as quality and explained reasons if only too yourself.
Solid-Shake Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I agree
NO-Yoichi Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2012  Student General Artist
Exactly. you pretty much stated what the problem is in the entertainment industry
EskimoTate Featured By Owner Jun 13, 2012
So much truth here, thank you.
sindaran-ainu Featured By Owner Jun 6, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Ah, the good ol' pyramid! Proving again that Scott McCloud is wise beyond his years.

>> Perhaps tell Deviant art to stop influencing youth to think otherwise through distinguishing galleries by “manga style” and “everything else”.

My biggest pet peeve with dA, that's for sure.

I hate calling my work "manga".

I *loathe* the label.

To me, all sequential art is comics.

I only use the label "manga" to differentiate from Japanese-made comics from the rest of the world, and usually just to put things in context with other people. If it were up to me, I'd call all of them comics. <3
Calvero Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2012  Student
The comma should be after manga.

I don't think it matters whether you are from Japan or not. you shouldn't call yourself a manga-ka if you are speaking English.
AvoryAzion Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
This...This just blow my mind. No, seriously. It just changed my mind set.
Soulless--one Featured By Owner May 29, 2012
Agreed. Comics are comics and cartoons are cartoons. No matter where they come from. Manga is simply cartoon in Japanese and the Japanese call them comics. There is a Japanese store near by here. They have their manga label as comics and even have a section for American comics. Comics are comics I don't know why is so hard to accept that? Instead they must label them as different or something else just because they are from somewhere else. :/
Pocketowl Featured By Owner May 29, 2012
I agree!
Mishudo Featured By Owner May 24, 2012  Student Photographer
Great read :)
Adimus-Prime Featured By Owner May 21, 2012
Very good stuff. My growing up with comics, cartoons, anime and manga through the 80s to now was about the same. I pretty much just like to call myself an artist or illustrator.
David-on-DA Featured By Owner May 18, 2012
Wow! ha ha I'm later on reading this but this is super great! It's cool that you posted this and really open peoples eyes to breaking down these walls that people have made for us. We humans are always trying to label something so quick and gain the praise for the knowledge we think we hold. But like you said. no body is taking the time to really dissect the industries and the cultures. Shoot and for myself and my dream of really breaking walls and having a great story for the world. What your saying conects with me and that we can decide our fates. So yeah! Maximo! Let's go! lets continue to build good works for the world! Alright! and Thanks for posting this!
cristalcat101 Featured By Owner May 18, 2012
I respect everyone and their individual style to draw or create art. As art does not only limit to pen and paper. Art is everywhere and everything and I believe it should be respected to each and every ones liking. Art is different to everyone. Whether you shoot it, bake/cook it or design it; art is art. It's how must people communicate without using words. Artist speak the same language. Usually it takes on artist to another to really understand the depth of the artist art work, but really anyone can. For you to speak up and say this is inspiring and I lend you, and anyone else my full support. CX (sorry for the rambling)
paulinaghost Featured By Owner May 16, 2012
I've never really heard the term Mangaka my self but this seems like a very well written message.
einlee Featured By Owner May 15, 2012
Guess it boils down to people being lazy. Like me u_u
Most of the time the people I explain it to don't really get it (nor do I have any series to compare my style to, much less ones that they would know) so I'm just like manga and they're like OoooOohh. ok cool dude.
As long as artists have fun doing what they do I think it's great whatever they wanna call themselves. Thanks for the lecture though, food for thought :)
reccahanabishibankai Featured By Owner May 13, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
this blew my mind, i have never declared such a thing to be the prettiest rainbow or sparkle the most, i just never thought of the issue of trying to define yourself thru another culture as a problem.

TillmanEv Featured By Owner May 11, 2012
MortMorrison Featured By Owner May 11, 2012   Digital Artist
First of all I'm sadly not a native speaker and sorry for my mistakes.
Thanks for posting this. I see your main purpose and agree with it.

But I also think it's importend to think about the word "manga" in a describing way.
If strangers ask me about my stuff without see it before, how should I - a artist with strong manga influences - explain?

Without the word I would begin to tell them words like abstract designs and proportions, colorful, expressive eyes and so on (just in my case) ;P
But I know if I tell them "manga" they immediately know what I'm talking about.

That some people think "urgh manga" I don't care at all. Really..... It's also a another kind of black and white thinking.
So I don't care what the people call my stuff - I'm a artist and that's it :) But if I should explain it without showing my stuff I have this term "manga" and still use it.
It's importend for me cause I'm proud of it. If I would draw great stuff like old school black and white comics I would also be proud, but would call myself an comic artist.
If I would call sweet pinup girls, I would call it like this.

So fact is.... we have this terms / words. And as long the people connect pictures and suggestions with this words it would be hard to discribe our way to draw without these.

But apart from this I really agree with you. I love all kind of art. And at the and I see all as -art- :)

It's sad that some people glorify the word "mangaka". Like a dream that's very far but still possible to reach. I don't talk about it to give up dreams. Of course not.
I talk about young people / kids they (maybe) don't understand how hard it can be to be an comic artist.

But also we should think about the case that the people feel more comfortable with calling themselves "mangaka" cause they make bad experiences with other "non-anime/manga"-artists or overall strangers calling their Art crap BECAUSE it is manga. So to draw a line between this negatives experiences/people and themselves they WANT to be a word that them isolates from the others. At the end it's just sad for both "sides".

Aslong people don't feel comfortable in a genre they will keep on searching her own.
I'm sure they're some comic artists out there which won't be compared to manga artists. Sadly. I think, 'cause they associate bad stuff with it.

Overall.... your post should be a inspiring example for the art scene. For the idea that artists are equal.
But we shouldn't forget how huge the search results would be, (and they are already) if we had all in one "comic" section.

I never called myself mangaka or comic artists... cause I doesn't drawing comics at all, only illustrations.
Every time I start with saying that I'm a artists or Illustrator.

However I hope people stop thinking in black and white :)
Thanks for inspire my mind speedking and keep on drawing your awesome stuff :nod:
MaximoVLorenzo Featured By Owner May 11, 2012  Professional General Artist
Hi! well the main problem with that manga is many styles, When you say manga it could look like this: [link] or this [link] or this [link] or even [link] ..The problem is when you say "manga style" your boiling all that down to a stereotype which isn't true. You're help giving people the wrong impression, that its ONE style. It is not.

If you want to describe your style be more specific than "manga" say "it looks close to this series, or this book" it's much more specific. The same goes for comics, there is no "comics" style....And yes if you combine them there is alot but you can divide by mystery, horror, romance, superhero, shonen, etc.

Thank you for commenting btw i love your work!
MortMorrison Featured By Owner May 11, 2012   Digital Artist
Hm I see. Once more well spoken, sir! :nod:
And I think with my missing language skills I don't get it to explain in all details. But nevermind.
But of course you're right, with just saying "i'm drawing manga" there is still no promise that my opposite will get the right imagination.
I don't think about this very well.

At the end I really hope you don't be mad at me, I just felt to comment the topic.
Thanks for this good argumentation :)

And thanks for your compliment which means honestly a lot for me.
MaximoVLorenzo Featured By Owner May 11, 2012  Professional General Artist
of course i am not mad, we are just discussing! Even if we don't agree we can respect each other :)
MortMorrison Featured By Owner May 11, 2012   Digital Artist
That's true :nod:
HNMartin Featured By Owner May 11, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Well said. I get sick of the "Japan-cool" culture. For me, it was a phase that I thankfully grew out of. I opened my eyes and realized that there was a rich comic culture here as well. A comic culture that didn't exclusively revolve around muscles with painted on spandex. With any effort, stories or strained romance, high school antics and spectral power can be found here. The lesser known presses offer a wealth of stories. To assume that "lawl it american it muscle" is just ignorance of the medium.

Everyone who refers to themselves as such, and feel Japan is the only place where they can be seen would really do themselves a service by walking into a comic store and heading straight to the back. Or, even better, walk up to the counter and say, "Give me something beautiful."
Digit-Aria Featured By Owner May 11, 2012
You should probably just get over yourself. It probably bugs you when people refer to anime as cartoons or Avatar: The Last Airbender an anime.
VermillionFenrir Featured By Owner Jul 21, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Well said sir! If people misunderstood anime as a cartoon,I would be very angry! :D
good job said that! :icongoodjobplz:
MaximoVLorenzo Featured By Owner May 11, 2012  Professional General Artist
Digit-Aria Featured By Owner May 11, 2012
Yes? A photo I uploaded nearly four years ago?
Tai-chow Featured By Owner May 10, 2012   Digital Artist
thank you for sharing your wisdom. I appreciate and agree whole heartdly with everything you said. I learned alot of things from your description, and feel whole lot smarter about the medium I enjoy. THANK YOUUUUUU!!!
MaximoVLorenzo Featured By Owner May 11, 2012  Professional General Artist
I'm happy if I can help anyone! Thank you for reading! :)
ArtsyBlondeChick Featured By Owner May 10, 2012  Student Digital Artist
Wow, this is awesome. I really believe you. :)
some1eleven Featured By Owner May 10, 2012
That's one long, sensible and convincing artist's comment :nod: After reading it all, I've got to admit I see your point, agree at some issues and see where the rest of them are coming from. You couldn't be more wrong in one very critical point, however: What we've learned to call a "manga" is, in fact, a lot different from the western "comic".
The biggest difference comes not in the art, however, but in the cultural influences the Asian works are saturated in. As a result, the ideas and themes, not to mention values and worldviews, presented in manga differ from those seen in Western comics. There is a huge gap between the two in the matter of plotlines, characters, relationships, narration and the common themes. In fact, art itself is hardly even the most important matter in the distinction between the Eastern and Western comic paradigm. What draws the Western readers to the manga the most is the different worldview they're able to find in there, one they don't have a chance to see in the works rooted in their own culture. Saying that "It shouldn't be different" is just asking for impossible.
Which brings the main point of distinguishing "manga" from "comics": A lot of amateur artists might label their works one way or the other purely for the convenience of the audience.
Calling a work a "manga" or a "comic" might give a potential reader a different idea on where the author was taking his/her inspirations from and which "hemisphere" does s/he identify with. It infomes the audience what they're likely to find inside, what might they expect, and whether a given piece is something they're looking for or not. It's simply a very pragmatic thing to do.

Also, in all honesty- I wouldn't worry all that much about changing the comic market to include the ideas typical for Eastern paradigm. It's already happening before our eyes at it's own pace, and trying to speed the process isn't likely to bring anything good. Certain things just have to happen naturally. Just give it a dozen of years, maybe two. It's not that much time, really :)
shinsengumi77 Featured By Owner May 10, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Many people like to say they draw "manga" (myself included, though I don't mean it in any arrogant/ignorant way) but no one has ever called themselves mangaka -that's just ridiculous. I'd say it's mostly to distinguish one's style (yes, style, I'll say it, even if you don't agree) or way of storytelling from the more cartoony comics you see in the newspaper, or the more heavily shaded and defined western comics, which do tend to have distinct differences. This is of course just my opinion.

Really I'd say more accurately we all draw webcomics -unless you're published, but many of us don't care about that. It's just fun. And as for the style thing, well, to each his own. Most people who participate in the style controversy do recognize that all comics differ from one another in many ways and can range from extremely cartoony to very realistic whether it's manga or not. It's just useful to use the distinction, and often people do recognize things based on their visual characteristics. There are of course blurred lines. I am a huge fan of Vagabond though. ;P
Ritsuioko23 Featured By Owner May 10, 2012
Nope, and you write too much :D
rasenth Featured By Owner May 10, 2012
All I can say is HIGH FIVE! I agree with absolutely everything here. :'D
Cetriya Featured By Owner May 10, 2012  Professional General Artist
I call my self a comicker cause it sounds cute. thats all.

as for calling my comics manga, it depends on who I'm talking too since I want to gain their attention and let them judge themselves with out having a false or negative preconception.

so if I'm at an anime con, I call it manga, if I'm at a comic con, I call it comic. Sometimes I change depending on who I'm talking to and sometimes on the printed format (full color 30 page staple or 150+ BW paperback?)

it just makes it simpler to talk about. Other wise, don't really care.
BlackDelta Featured By Owner May 10, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I totally agree. To me it's even hard to call myself an artist...
MaximoVLorenzo Featured By Owner May 10, 2012  Professional General Artist
if you express yourself through creating you are an artist :)
BlackDelta Featured By Owner May 12, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
thank you so much!

you know what's even worse than calling yourself a mangaka? being called one by your classmates. XD i'm always getting angry when they call my stuff 'manga'
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