Hirohiko Araki Lecture Part 2: Drawing Manga, Araki-Style
And here it is, after almost a month sitting at 70% completed (reason: I didn't feel like doing it!), the continuation from Part 1. Araki talks about his inspirations and methodology. Please note that there are references to other titles (mostly from Jump) as well as a brief spoiler or two.
[Drawing Manga, Araki-Style Part (1): 10 Meters]
Drawing styles which are so distinctive that you can look at a person from 10 meters away and go, "oh hey, he's reading that manga" are incredible: Araki managed to make his debut, but didn't feel like he had that unique style. And so from 1981 onwards he started thinking about how he could achieve that distinctive style, something that would make people think "oh, that's him!"
[Drawing Manga, Araki-Style Part (2): The World's Most Simple Drawing]
(Showing a blank piece of paper) If you told your art teacher "this is a drawing of 'snow" he would be very upset at you, but in manga you could say this was "the flash from a nuclear bomb" or "my soul is barren" and that would fly. And here Mr. Araki drops a bomb: "there are people who get paid for stuff like this." (audience bursts into laughter) "It's amazing, really. You know, like....I guess I could get in trouble for mentioning names." (more laughter) [note: probably in reference to Shaman King, which printed a blank 2-page pullout to supposedly express an "incredible move"] "And coloring the page all black, and saying "he went to hell." Sort of like in the last few chapters of Death Note." (audience goes into hysterical laughter, applause) Mr. Araki tried to patch things up by claiming that he was joking, but could not help further mentioning how much per page said-artists were probably paid for those particular pages.
[Drawing Manga, Araki-Style Part (3): The Ultimate Character]
Araki introduces modern abstract art such as Barnett Newman's (gallery/wiki) drawing of an orange square on a piece of canvas, Agness Martin's drawing of nothing but a pencil line on white canvas etc. And then he drew the following, calling it the ultimate simple, ideal character in manga anybody could draw:
"I might get in trouble for displaying this in public, so." (audience bursts into laughter)
He also introduced things like the smiley face and Morizo and Kiccoro (Mr. Araki thought that Akira Toriyama had designed them), and explained that he respected these types of drawings that anybody could recognize, and that it was what he aspired for. "It's incredible. It's the ultimate style."
[Drawing Manga, Araki-Style Part (4): Gauguin]
[Drawing Manga, Araki-Style Part (5): Aim & Direction]
(Araki shows a diagram mapping the world of manga, broken into 4 quadrants with the X-axis labeled "Using classical methods to portray reality" and "Impressionist markings and symbolic fantasy" and the Y-axis labeled "Treating introspective themes such as inner emotions as the central focus" and "Putting weight on the plot structure. "Suspense" and "creating a sense of the world")
If you don't think about "where you stand," you won't have any sense of direction even after you become a mangaka, wandering from idea to idea, not knowing what you want to write about and ending up becoming one of those people who asks their editor "what should I write?" In the case of Jojo, Araki is trying to pursue reality by portraying things with classical methodology, but he gives precedence to emotion and inner thought over plot structure, trying to portray the protagonists' destiny, so he ends up in the bottom-left quadrant.
[Drawing Manga, Araki-Style Part (6): The Theme is "Mystery"]
Araki was fascinated by mysteries ever since he was a child, fantasized about deserted islands and believed that King Kong and Nessie existed, and so writes his manga with "mystery" as the central theme. In Jojo, Araki wondered what "superpowers" really were, and if he could portray "energy" itself, which lead to Parts 1&2, and the Stands in Part 3, which were like guardians who could "destroy boulders and stuff." They would "stand" by their master and would be called "stands." Apparently Part 3 began immediately after Part 2 with no interval in between.
[Drawing Manga, Araki-Style Part (7): Like an RPG or Board Game]
At the time, the "pyramid (tournament) formula" (A would fight & defeat B, then fight stronger character C, and on and on) was all the craze in Shonen Jump. But, Araki wondered, how strong could they get? Wouldn't the entire system collapse as soon as you reached the top, much like the economic bubble of the 80's in Japan? It wasn't like there could be an infinite number of levels of strength. So, he decided to create an RPG/board game-style system where characters traveled to different places to fight enemies, as seen in Jojo Part 3, where the protagonists traveled across Egypt while battling enemies
Araki's lecture ended here and proceeded to a Q&A with students, which may or may not be posted here as Part 3.
Continued to part 3: Questions and Answers with Araki-Sensei
Translated by Neuroretardant