Manga, which is Japanese-style comics, and anime, which are Japanese-style cartoons are insanely popular all over the world. Mangas and animes are extremely important to Japanese culture and to the lifestyle in Japan. However, it is not only in Japan that mangas and anime have an enormous following.  In the west (Europe and the Americas) anime and manga have also been hugely popular for decades and have become part of our culture and lifestyle as well.

Who hasn't woken up to watch Pokemon or play pokemon at some point in our lives? There are other hugely popular animes and mangas that we've seen over the years such as Dragonball, Attack on Titan, One Piece, Naruto, and much more. These mangas have sold so many editions not only in Japan but also in the United States and Europe.

While manga and anime come from Japan, many artists around the world are very much influenced by manga and anime. There are American illustrators that have come up with cartoons that are influenced heavily by anime, such as Avatar the Last Airbender. So if you are into drawing and would love to come up with your own anime or manga you don't necessarily need to go to Japan to learn how to do so or to practice drawing. There are plenty of resources available to you as an aspiring artist to learn how to start drawing your very own manga.

So even if you aren't in Japan, the dream of starting your own successful manga or anime is definitely something that is well within your grasp, knows you can maybe even create something as successful as some Japanese classics like Pokemon, Dragonball or others, or even American animes like Avatar. In this guide, we'll mention how you can start, where you can go possibly find work, and simply what anime has meant to Japan and the United States.

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What Exactly Are Mangas and Animes?

Manga

Manga simply put are comics that are created in Japan following a certain Japanese style. Normally a manga is created by an illustrator called a "mangaka". The mangaka usually creates a story that can last many issues, for example, one manga called One Piece has been going on for over 20 years, and it follows a single linear storyline. Usually, animes are based on mangas.

There are two distinct types of mangas as well.

  • Shonen
  • Shoujo

Shonen mangas are more focused on action and fighting, relationships are developed in these mangas however the typical storyline in a shonen manga is based around a protagonist or group of protagonists that fight against a common enemy, and have to keep getting stronger through a lot of training and power-ups with cool new abilities.

Shoujo mangas are not really focused on fighting and creating new abilities for protagonists or evil enemies. Shoujo mangas are more about relationships and the characters. Love and friendships are the typical themes in shoujo mangas and usually, the settings are placed in high schools or places where young people would typically gather.

One important step in becoming a manga artist is figuring out if you want to draw and create a story that is more action-based or more romance-based.

Anime

While mangas are original comics, animes are cartoons created for television or film in Japan. Animes in many cases are based on manga material or even video games. Some animes that were made based on mangas are Bleach, Naruto, Dragonball, and more. Pokemon is created based on a popular Nintendo video game and has spawned an anime franchise as well as a film franchise.

Anime illustrations have become increasingly more detailed and better made over the years. The jump in quality over the past ten to fifteen years has been immense. As a future illustrator, you would need to learn how to animate on a professional level.

Dragonballs from Dragonball
There are many popular animes in the United States. Source: Unsplash

The United States has a long history of animation and comics. Comics from the United States are hugely popular across the globe, DC and Marvel comics have created huge franchises that have earned these comic book industries an insane amount of money based on comics, films, and cartoons based on superheroes such as Batman, Superman, Spiderman, the Avengers and many more.

Cartoons have also been really popular with a lot of success above all with the enterprises of Disney and Nickelodeon. While the United States has its own successful animation and comic industry, anime and manga have flourished in the United States over the last few decades. Personally coming home from school and catching the anime block from Toonami was my and my friend's favorite thing to do and to talk about.

So what mangas and animes have been hugely successful over the years in the United States.

Pokemon

Arguably the most popular anime and franchise that has arrived in the United States, Pokemon has invented and reinvented itself many times over and has maintained a huge following in the United States. Video games from Pokemon are still hugely popular and played as well as new animes and pokemon based on the franchise keep on being spawned.

Dragonball

Dragonball is hugely followed in the United States and Europe. Dragonball is a manga created decades ago following the adventures of protagonist Goku and his friends as they fight off different villains. While the manga has been popular as one of the most successful in history in terms of sales. The anime of Dragonball has arguably been even more popular.

Many different films and series of Dragonball have been created over the years.

Some other popular mangas and animes in the United States are:

  • Attack on Titan
  • One Piece
  • Naruto
  • Bleach
  • One-Punch Man
  • My Hero Academy
  • Sailor Moon
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While manga and anime are Japanese inventions there have been famous artists in the world of manga and/or anime in the United States as well. While there are very few very famous artists in the United States there have been some manga/anime style artists in the United States such as:

  • Michael Dante Dimartino
  • Mark Crilley

However, most American anime and manga fans will tell you that the most famous manga artists are from Japan and they have the largest followings. While some Americans have made some famous Japanese-style works, the Japanese dominate the industry. Just as worldwide basketball is a popular sport, most citizens from Europe or Asia will tell you the best players in the world are Americans that play in the NBA.

The most famous mangakas of all time would include:

  • Hiromu Arakawa
  • Eiichiro Oda
  • Akira Toriyama
  • Masahi Kishimoto

Aside from this list, there are many more famous manga artists.

How to get started as a Manga Artist and then Start a Career

Pencil on blank piece of paper
Trying to become a manga artist can be a difficult yet rewarding journey. Source: Pexels

Starting out as a manga artist or as an anime illustrator you would of course need to be into drawing and illustrating. If you are still in high school there are plenty of resources to get started as an artist. High school is a great place to be an artist as you have the option of taking art classes and join art groups. There are even high schools that are based on improving student's artistic talents.

Outside of school, there are plenty of classes and groups you can join to improve your drawing and illustrating. Then once it is time to go to college you can choose to take art or choose a college that is specifically made for artists in training.

Once you finish college, getting a job as an illustrator can be a challenge but if you really love your work then it will be rewarding. In various parts of the country, there are businesses and studios looking for illustrators. As a mangaka, you would need to be able to buy your own materials and try to have your own studio to work in, and then work on getting your manga to be published.

Professional Help for Learning How to Draw Mangas or Animes

If you love mangas and want to start creating a manga, it can seem difficult at first, there is after all a lot that goes into creating mangas. Working with someone who knows how to teach you some things you need to know and to give you advice is important, using Superprof you can find a drawing tutor to help you achieve your goal of becoming a manga or anime illustrator.

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Chris