Surely, you’ve noticed. Manga artists are no longer holed up in their apartments, appearing in public like groundhogs only for the occasional event. For one thing, events are becoming more and more common, so even the most reclusive manga artists are enjoying the company of their fellow artists and fans more than once or twice a year now. A mere 48 hours ago, thousands of fans and the artists they like were hobnobbing at Comitia 100. And Twitter has connected more of these artists together and more of the fans with those artists, than ever before. (Follow my Yuri Mangaka list on Twitter to see what your favorite artists are up to.)
But as small as the world is getting these days (and as glad as I am about it,) that’s not what we’re talking about today. We’re talking about the increasing role technology is playing in getting the artists, and their work, in front of fans in real time.
Last week, I took Yuricon into the live video age and a lot of manga artists are doing the same. Technology has reached the point where live video hangouts and streams not only make sense, but are accessible to nearly everyone, world-wide. Even at events, it makes sense for artists to show, rather than tell. At Comitia 100, creator of Dogs, Bullets and Carnage (a series I read regularly, but have not reviewed here,) Shiro Miwa, drew live and projected it on a large monitor for people to watch.
This is not a comprehensive list of live video sketching, but here are three mangaka of note that I know of who have been drawing live and doing tutorials, that you might want to check out:
Serial Experiments Lain, Haibane Renmei creator Yoshitoshi Abe has put some coloring demonstrations online for your viewing pleasure.
Iono-sama Fanatics, Ame-iro Kouchakan Kandan creator Fujieda Miyabi often sketches live on his Ustream site. If you have a Twitter account, you can sign in and chat with him.
Wedding Peach, Moon and Blood creator Yazawa Nao is doing a series of online demonstrations and Google Hangouts that you can join, for her Manga School Nakano. She’s got a Youtube channel with her videos, as well. (Yazawa-sensei has very good English, and is very friendly, so definitely drop her a message!)
These are only three of the many folks moving their work online. I think that the more we see how much work goes into even a single drawing, the less likely we, as fans halfway across the world, are to discount the amount of skill and effort that goes into a manga.
Technology has been kind of cruel to mangaka, so let’s support these technologies that give us access to them and to appreciate what goes into their work.