If you are a huge fan of anime then you may or may not know that animes are many times adapted from manga comic books which for beginners to this part of Japanese culture are Japanese-style comic books. If you are thinking about professionally entering the world of anime and manga as you are a huge fan then you should know who it is that has been creating content for the animes that you have loved watching probably since you've been a kid.
Many of us love or loved to watch anime but really never picked up a copy of the manga. Mangas are where the content comes from and for many where the story is best told to its audience. It may seem obvious but we need to state the obvious most famous manga artists come from Japan of course.
In the United States, you won't find much fanfare from people towards manga artists here in the States. That's not to say the really hardcore anime and manga fans won't know a great manga artist or "mangaka" if they were to meet one. However, it would most likely have to be somewhere in Japan, unless they're on vacation in the U.S.A that is. That's not to say that there aren't famous manga artists here that are. It is certainly possible to make it as a manga artist here in the United States.
So let's talk about the most famous manga artists around the ones here in the United States as well as those you can find in Japan.
Different Types of Mangas
To talk about manga artists of course we have to talk about the manga artists that come from the country where manga originated from. There is no better source of inspiration than from the very best, in fact, they've drawn influence from other manga artists from the same country. When we've seen anime like Dragonball Z, Rurouni Kenshin, and others we have to recognize the great job the manga artists have done in creating an interesting world with interesting characters.
Anime has been popular in the United States for a long time and for those who do not know you can define manga and anime into two categories that target two different demographics. Anime and manga that are based around characters who have powers or fight battles and try to increase their power are called Shonen manga and anime. Usually the demographic for this type of manga is made for teenage boys.
Mangas that are more based on relationships and love as well as characters that are more worried about friendships and feelings are called Shoujo manga and anime. These types of mangas and animes are made for a demographic that includes young and teenage girls. Usually, the setting of these mangas is set in high school and follows high school dramas. That's not to say guys can't like it or some Shoujo manga characters don't have Superpowers.
Famous Shonen Manga Artists
Shonen animes are the animes that are typically shown on television in the United States and therefore the most famous type. Many animes were shown on the Toonami TV block on Cartoon Network in the 1990s and 2000s. So of course the mangas in Japan and the United States were and are also big hits.
One of the most famous manga artists and successful manga artists of all time is Eiichiro Oda. A unique artist as he is a legendary manga artist for his manga classic One Piece. He is unique as far as legendary manga artists go as he is STILL well into writing One Piece and the manga has sold around 500 million copies.
One Piece has influenced other famous mangas like Fairy Tale and can influence you as well. One Piece is the highest selling manga of all time and has maintained its status as one of the top 3 most popular mangas in polls for around twenty years.
This manga artist is extremely well known in Japan and has influenced many other great manga artists such as Eiichiro Oda. Akira Toriyama is best known for his manga Dragonball. As almost any American male in their twenties and early thirties can tell you they were a fanatic of Dragonball Z during their childhood.
Akira Toriyama is the one to thank for that. His shonen story is a timeless one following hero Goku that is one of the most recognizable heroes in the history of anime, and even nonanime followers would be able to recognize Goku.
This is another famous shonen manga artist as the anime adaptation was also hugely popular in the United States. Naruto is one of the recognizable mangas in the United States over the past ten years. The story of the young ninja became extremely popular to young men in the United States and created a huge following.
The manga in Japan and the United States has become hugely popular and the art and storyline are very influential and have captivated millions. Masashi Kishimoto made a typical shonen manga where a boy overcomes childhood tragedies to try and become the hero of his village.
Tite Kubo is another famous Shonen manga artist and is best known as the creator of the manga Bleach. Bleach is a fantastic manga to learn from as the art style is very unique. The beginning of Bleach has a very unique story in the beginning and while it loses its popularity its art style stays very high quality. If you are an artist looking for sharp art styles to learn from Tite Kubo's Bleach can be the perfect manga for you to learn from.
The creator of two successful mangas Yu Yu Hakusho and Hunter X Hunter, Yoshihiro Togashi is well known for his stories based on battles and troubled youth. Like most shonen mangas these themes tend to appear, however in the mangas of Togashi he really does a great job of conveying a young man's struggle as well as how he can go on to be a cool protagonist. Yoshihiro Togashi is another manga artist that you can learn a lot about.
Famous Shoujo Manga Artists
While many could argue that shonen is the more popular of the two manga types. Shoujo is also very popular, especially in Japan, and there has been a couple of breakthrough Shoujo mangas that have had success in the United States. If you are interested in creating a story that is more along the lines of a shoujo manga there are a couple of mangakas you can learn from.
Naoko Takeuchi is a female mangaka from Japan and is responsible for creating and illustrating the manga Sailor Moon. This manga contains a lot of fighting and superpowers however it is definitely a shoujo manga. Sailor Moon revolves around a young girl who develops a relationship with her friends and her boyfriend, she also happens to have superpowers.
What is great about this shoujo manga is that it does cross the lines of both shoujo and shonen as it is a manga about a girl that has superpowers and fights evil as well as focusing on relationships, friendships, and romance.
Io Sakisaka created a manga that is not like sailor moon, she created a manga that is more relatable to younger readers, to girls above all called Strobe Edge. If you are interested in creating a manga about romance and relationships this may be the best manga and mangaka to draw influence from. This follows the lives of high schoolers and young people which makes it really relatable.
American Manga Artists
While the best of the best types come from Japan, you shouldn't discourage yourself. You wouldn't be the first American to publish a manga and have some success.
Mark Crilley is maybe the best example of an American manga creator. At one stage in his life, he lived in Japan and also produces video tutorials on how to draw manga characters. Mark Crilley created a manga called Miki Falls which is more of the Shoujo genre, as well as a manga called Brody's Ghost which is Shonen.
Other American manga artists include:
- Felipe Smith
- Adam Warren
- Becky Cloonan
Looking for Help to Become a Manga Artist
If you are just starting out and interested in becoming a mangaka, it wouldn't hurt to go and find some help with your drawing. When you start out it can be quite difficult to master the Japanese manga style, so finding a private tutor can help you become a better artist quicker. Superprof has many tutors available to help you improve your drawing ability. Finding a tutor that is highly rated will help you in your mission to make a manga.
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