Anime is a popular genre of animation that originated in Japan but has become popular all across the world, especially in the United States. Naturally, since anime shows have many fans, it has resulted in many people attempting to replicate it in their own art.
However, as people find when they go to art school or pursue the path of becoming serious artists, they are often discouraged from drawing anime and from using it as their primary style. Why is this? Why do many people consider drawing anime to be bad for aspiring artists?
In this article, we will examine the top 5 reasons why drawing anime is considered to be bad for artists, as well as what anime is, where it originated, and other important factors to consider is you’re an aspiring artist who loves anime.
The purpose of this article is not to discourage you from following your passion. It is also not to discourage the reader from watching anime, drawing anime, or doing anything else that pertains to their love of anime.
However, it is simply meant to inform aspiring artists why many people perceive drawing anime to be a bad way for them to get started in their careers.
What is Anime?
Before we get into any details about why anime may be bad for artists, let’s discuss what anime even is. Translated from Japanese to mean “animation,” anime is simply any type of animation that has been drawn by hand or by using computer software.
However, outside of Japan, the term is often used to describe a form of animation that has been specific to Japan. It was first created by Osamu Tezuka in the series Astroboy, and his work continues to remain popular even today.
The style that is now commonly associated with anime skyrocketed after this and he was the first to establish the characteristics of anime characters. This animation is unique due to its colorful scenes and fantasy storylines.
One of the key features of anime is the unrealistically large eyes that the characters have. The hair of characters in anime seems to be rather lively and colorful.
These shows have grown widely popular across the world, most particularly in the West and in the United States.
While the style of anime is typical no matter what show you enjoy watching, it is possible to come across many different genres, including action films, science fiction, comedy, romantic drama, and more. Anime is a wide range of animation in a particular style.
The love of these shows has created anime conventions where people gather to recreate some of their favorite anime scenes through cosplay.
As a result of the love of anime, several Japanese terms have entered the Western colloquial vocabulary, including otaku (a lover of anime or manga), weeaboo (someone who loves the Japanese culture), and senpai (master or senior, depending on the context used).
This has become a billion-dollar industry that has garnered the love of youth across the world.
Another thing to mention is that anime is not only for children, although that is the audience it has traditionally been geared towards. There are plenty of adults who are interested in anime and, as a result, anime is a genre that can be accepted by people of any age.
Anime as an Interest
So, anime is a highly-popular genre among many young people. It’s not difficult to find young people across the world recreating some of their favorite anime shows- or coming up with their own- on the Internet.
Tumblr and DeviantArt have become two of the most popular sites on the web for lovers of anime to showcase their passion. There are plenty of young people who enjoy getting into art because of their passion for anime. But there are some issues that come along with this.
Is anime considered an art?
This is a complex question. The definition of art is any human activity that results in the creation of work through visuals, audio, or performance. It is meant to express the imaginative side of an artist’s mind.
There are many different ways in which one can create art, which most commonly include drawing, painting, writing, photographing, architecture, fashion design, and dancing.
This leads many people to argue that anime is indeed a form of art as it allows individuals to express themselves and create something that they love and feel passionate about.
However, one thing that many anime fans come across when they take art lessons is that art teachers often discourage their students from drawing anime. This might seem to some like their art teachers are unwilling to understand them or that they are being discriminatory.
There are, of course, many people who are skilled in the style and who have produced some beautiful work. But art teachers have plenty of valid reasons for not allowing new art students to draw anime. We will get into the top reasons why anime is bad for artists in the next section.
Top Reasons Why It’s Bad for Artists
Once again, as we emphasized before, drawing anime in and of itself is not a bad thing. If you love anime, there is nothing that should stop you from pursuing your passion.
However, if the only thing you’re drawing is anime, this could hinder your abilities as an artist. Here are the top five reasons why many art experts believe that drawing anime is bad for you.
1. Anime does not allow you to explore other styles of art.
For one, anime is a very specific style of art. It is not like any other type of art, and you most likely won’t be able to combine it with a different style of art. Even if you aren’t the biggest anime fanatic, you can automatically create an image in your mind of what anime is.
Since it is so specific, anime greatly limits your ability to explore other styles and genres, especially nature, more realistic humans, and other objects.
You may end up getting stuck in a sort of artistic rut if you choose to only draw anime; there is only so much that you will be able to draw if you choose to use this style.
Or, for example, when you take an art class, your teacher will want you to learn about art from different countries as well as different time periods in history.
You may come across anime when you learn about Asia and Japan, but it’s not the only form of art out there and it isn’t the only one that you will be focusing on.
Being able to understand the different forms of art and how history impacted art will help you to become more knowledgeable in the field.
If you begin by drawing using other styles and then move on to anime, it will be a lot easier to come up with unique ideas and be creative in your work.
2. You won’t be able to learn the basics of art.
This is an important factor that needs to be considered. When you’re just getting started as an artist, there are many things that you have to study and learn in the beginning. For one, you need to learn how to shade, the basics of human anatomy, and other realistic drawings.
Art teachers want to teach you perspective, color theory, and more. You may find in your art classes that you’ll be working with materials that are completely foreign to you and that you might never end up working with again.
However, they will help to enhance your skills and knowledge as a budding artist. Anime will not be able to teach you that.
For example, take a regular human face. Human faces have many shadows and contours.
When you’re just learning how to draw, your teacher will show you how to draw cheekbones, the hollows of cheeks, eyes, noses, and other facial features so that you will be able to construct a three-dimensional figure. However, if you look at an anime face, it’s rather simplistic.
Anime figures do not have all these shapes and contours and, of course, their faces don’t look like normal human faces. Another example would be trees or other forms of nature. If you are a lover of anime, you know that one of the general themes of these shows is a fantasy world.
These worlds are fairly unrealistic. While there is nothing wrong with drawing fantasy or things that are out of the ordinary, it’s not necessarily the best building block to start on if you’re just getting into drawing.
It is important that you are able to draw the basics before you move on to fantasy or other unrealistic areas.
Often, art teachers will encourage their students to learn how to build and then deconstruct.
This means that you will be taught- or you are encouraged to teach yourself- how to draw key realistic things, such as people, nature, cars, and other objects that you are likely to see in your daily life. Then, you can move onto other genres such as anime.
So, by solely focusing on drawing anime, you will be greatly lacking in your ability to produce different types of art and some of the key styles that are necessary in order to enhance your skills.
Starting with the basics and then branching out into anime will be better for you as an aspiring artist.
3. You won’t develop your own artistic style.
This is a fear that many art teachers have and perhaps one of the main reasons why art teachers do not allow their students to draw anime. Once again, anime is a very specific style. You most likely will have to watch some popular anime shows and draw in accordance with those.
That means that you are replicating another artist’s style and not developing your own.
Art teachers have seen anime and they know what anime consists of. They know that, when someone draws anime, they will need to include the huge eyes, colorful hair, and other features that are associated with anime movies.
This is especially true if you’re a middle school or high school student; it’s likely that many other students in your class or in your teacher’s other classes also like to draw anime.
As you progress in your art classes, your teacher will have difficulty seeing how you have developed as an artist because you will be focusing on a style that has already been done many times and that you are simply copying from.
In addition to that, it might not seem like what you’re drawing is unique and something that you’re particularly passionate about, or something that comes from the heart.
More often than not, students choose to focus on anime as their main style of art because it’s popular, not because they have been inspired by the different concepts.
Also, it is important to be able to tell the difference between who created what drawing, even if you’re drawing in the same genre as someone else. Anime does not provide that opportunity.
Yes, you can still add some of your unique effects to your work in anime. But even if you examine the different anime films, you will find it difficult to tell the difference between many forms of art.
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it further enhances the notion that anime does not allow you to develop your unique style.
Art teachers want their students to be able to create something that is unique. If you’re a budding artist, chances are that what you’re creating from anime is something that you have already seen before and nothing that is special to you.
4. You need to be able to learn anatomy as an artist.
Bouncing off of number 2, in order to become a good artist, you need to learn how to draw anatomy. Most art teachers encourage their students to start by drawing things from life, especially humans.
When you examine the intricacies of your hair, your hands, and the shape of a human body, you will see that anime simply does not allow you to truly replicate those in your work.
Anime will make your work rather simple because this form of animation will not allow you to truly grasp these concepts. The work produced in anime does not quite examine the differences in the human body and the uniqueness that every person has.
Going off of 3, you need to be able to develop your own style as you learn how to draw anatomy.
It’s typically not from the memory that people draw things like hair and faces, but they are drawn based on a style that you are accustomed to. And once again, anime keeps things simple and will not allow you to grow in your style.
5. Anime can be replicated very easily.
Again, anime is not a unique form of art. What you’re drawing is something that has been replicated from another individual’s work. Since anime is so easy to replicate, it won’t allow you to enhance your skills as an artist in a way that will help you to grow and become better.
You and your fellow art friends will all, essentially, copy each other’s work, which will show that you haven’t developed your own specific tastes and it will be very hard to see how you have been developing in your training.
It is easy to print a scene from one of your favorite animes and simply copy that. But will that enhance your skills as an artist? No, it will only allow you to become better at copying work.
When you examine the different shows produced by different anime artists, you will be able to see that there are many similarities, even if the artists and the shows have nothing to do with one another.
If you’re just copying someone else’s work, then it’s not likely that you will be learning anything about techniques or proportions.
Once again, there are many people who love anime and who are genuinely passionate about it. Popular shows such as Naruto and Death Note are the favorites of many people.
If you are someone who wants to draw anime, there is nothing saying that you shouldn’t or that you should never try to draw scenes from your favorite anime shows.
However, it is important to realize that, if your goal is to become a good artist, anime will hinder your ability to enhance your skills.
Your art teachers will want you to branch out and explore other genres, which might, in turn, allow you to enhance your skills in anime.
It is important to make sure that you have grasped the important concepts of drawing, such as realism, shadows, body structure, and more, and that you have been able to develop your unique style.
Once you have moved on from the basic stage and have developed well as an artist, there is nothing wrong with moving on to simple and replicable styles such as anime.