Traditionally, the term Manga refers to Japanese comic books, but it's now commonly used to describe the Japanese style of illustration, and artwork influenced by the comics. Manga can be traced all the way back to the ukiyo-e woodblock portraits of the 19th century, especially those by Tsukioka Yoshitoshi, although the father of modern Manga, Osamu Tezuka, was also heavily influenced by Walt Disney and Max Fleischer. Tezuka's best-selling comic was Shin Takarajima (New Treasure Island), which appeared in 1947. The artist was also responsible for Japan's first TV show of animated cartoons, the hugely popular Astroboy, in 1963.
Many modern artists and illustrators in Japan and worldwide are creating artwork in the Manga tradition, such as Yuzuru and Kanako from Manga Media (www.Manga-media.com) and LA-based Kozy and Dan (www.kozyndan.com). It's also possible to see the influences of Manga in the work of artists like Preshaa (www.preshaa.com) and CA contributor Autumn Whitehurst (altpick.com/members.php?id=11198).
The Manga style often (though not always) features characters with huge, almond-shaped eyes with glinting highlights, overly large heads and bodies with exaggerated limbs. The clean lines and simple shapes lend themselves to being captured in vector applications such as Adobe Illustrator, and in this tutorial we'll be using Illustrator to create an image which will then be rendered and treated further in Adobe Photoshop.