Mangaka Are Taking to YouTube to Share Their Work

Since its creation in 1983, the internet has become a staple in everyday life. It's connected people around the world and allowed them to enjoy the once niche anime that is beloved today. Even in the early 2000s, the average person couldn't imagine what it would become today. Fans can watch their favorite series the day they come out in Japan whereas before they would have to wait until the series was localized and distributed for Western audiences. With sites like YouTube, they're able to share their thoughts and theories with other like-minded fans. Mangaka like Monster's Naoki Urasawa and Oyasumi Punpun's Inio Asano are also using YouTube to share their works and techniques with their fans.

Before YouTube and Twitch, foreign fans would rarely get to see the artists in action unless it was something released on a bonus DVD in a copy of  Shōnen Jump or anecdotes from the Author's Notes portion of the manga itself. Every once in a while there would be a documentary, but nothing like what is available today. Today, fans can simply log on and see if an artist has an official YouTube channel. Searching up Inio Asano in the search-bar takes fans to his channel 浅野いにお / Inio Asano. It's here where they can watch him stream his drawing sessions and talk to fans. There are even English captions available for those who don't speak Japanese. From an April 2020 stream, he talks about the importance of having line variations and weights and how they can affect the look of your image.

Naoki Urasawa is another mangaka who has started dipping his toes into the YouTube waters. His first video was posted to his channel on April 30, 2021. Since then, he has had three other videos, each focusing on different topics. One video talks about practicing with the different types of dip pens that are used in his studio. He even says that he makes new assistants spend two weeks doing exercises to not only get them used to drawing with these pens but also making evenly spaced lines with a ruler. The last video on the channel was posted on July 9, so it's unclear when he will return.

Akihito Yoshitomi uses his YouTube channel to post videos with him practicing anatomy and working on manga projects. One interesting addition to his playlist is a series of videos where he had 18 days to plan, draw, and ink an entire chapter for his work Hanako of the 24th Ward. At the time of writing, the story is being published in Champion RED. It gives a glimpse of the time constraints that some mangaka have to complete the chapter in time for release. Before now, it wasn't as clear how fast they had to be. But watching the speed and workarounds that some of these artists use really puts their struggles on display for the world to see and learn from.

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