Manga is a comic art style originally developed in the late 19th century. Although it started in Japan, it has become popular around the world. We've rounded up some of the best up-and-coming manga artists from around the globe who are all taking the traditional style and putting their own spin on it. Scroll down to take a look at their work and find out about their inspirations.
Impressively, many of these artists are self-taught. So if you're inspired to have a go yourself, take a look at our guides to how to draw manga by hand, how to colour manga art, or how to put together a manga comic strip.
01. Mina Petrovic
Serbia-born Petrovic works under the studio name Mistiqarts. A manga enthusiast, she runs a manga school, shares tutorials on her popular YouTube channel, and has published a book on the subject: Manga Crash Course. With the help of her assistants and colleagues, Petrovic also organises Serbia’s biggest fan conventions, with manga and anime as the main theme.
Petrovic often reimagines classic or popular characters in a manga style. "This work [above] is heavily inspired by Alice in Wonderland, but with manga styling, and my own twist on the characters’ concepts and personalities," she says.
02. Alexa Pásztor
Although Pásztor works full-time as a graphic designer in Hungary, her passion has always been for illustration and comics, and she aspiring to one day make a living off of her art alone. In her spare time, she creates art under the pseudonym Lüleiya, and she has been involved in various art book projects and comic anthologies. Although she starting out in traditional art, she has since switched completely to digital art to develop her unique style, which she describes as "a mixture of semi-realism and manga."
Aquamarine (above) is a personal project. “I was mesmerised by the world of Nagi no Asukara – the underwater scenery, the story, the emotions – but I was still high on my love for the Bleach fandom, thus this crossover fan art was born!” Pásztor smiles.
03. Timothy Kong
Timothy Kong is a self-taught artist based in the UK, who is trying to combine his passions for eastern manga and the Old Master style of painting. He has worked in-house as a games artist and a graphic designer, and is currently going it alone as a full-time freelance illustrator and concept artist.
"I love creating believable and fun worlds with my illustrations and character design," Kong explains. "I always try and create a distinct emotion or mood, as I feel it gives the piece more depth. I incorporate elements from daily observations into my work to try inject a bit more life and believability into them."
To create Akemi (above), Kong explored a new visual direction. "I used a brighter colour palette and created the design in line art first," he explains. "I worked with warm colours to develop a feeling of serenity and beauty.”
04. Laica Chrose
Chrose has a truly international outlook: Japanese by heritage, she was born in Brazil, studied design in Tokyo and is now based in Hong Kong. She uses digital media for professional work and traditional for personal projects, like her manga.
White Spell is a personal project inspired by Celtic motifs, which Chrose has been working on for a while. These original characters were drawn with pen and pencil on paper. "The background was especially fun to work on," says Chrose. "I added layers of graphite and made random marks with a putty rubber to create the texture."
05. Jessica Prando
Prando has loved the fantasy genre since she was a child. “Art is a little bit magic… just pick up the pencil and cast the spell! That’s my motto,” she says. She studied graphic design before teaching herself to paint in oils by replicating characters from her favourite anime – her first drawings were of Trunks, from Dragon Ball.
However, her interest in computers brought her full-circle, and after many years working with traditional methods she shifted over to digital art. "I love to play with bright, vivid colours and create fantastic worlds and creatures," she says.
Prando paints a version of Lady Winter every year, to see the evolution and progress of her style. Above is the painting created in 2016.
06. Jodie Snow
Known on the comic con scene as Kit Jo Yuki, Snow specialises in paintings of women. The majority of her works is created entirely digitally, using a Wacom Cintiq 13HD and Adobe Photoshop. "While I prefer to paint colourful, fanciful pictures of ladies, my love of the natural world has recently opened my eyes to the joys of animal and landscape painting," she says.
“For this image I wanted to paint something a little bit ‘high fashion’," she says of Bird of Paradise (above). "In particular I was inspired by various perfume ads in magazines.”
These artists were originally featured in ImagineFX magazine. Subscribe here.