Chalk Art Manga is a 240-page art book of techniques and inspiration by the journalist Danica Davidson and mangaka Rena Saiya.
Chalk art is as it sounds; it’s art drawn in chalk. Perhaps you’ve seen it decorating a pavement and wondered at the talented artist who found the time to create it and bring a little light into the world.
Geek Native has a real treat for you. There’s some spreads from the book so you can see some of the art, and in between the pages, but there’s also an in-English guest post from Rena Saiya on life as a mangaka, chalk art and the book.
Chalk Art Manga
by Rena Saiya
I’m Rena Saiya, a Japanese professional manga creator, who is called a mangaka in Japanese. In Japan, manga usually refers to one-shot manga or a series of manga, not just a manga-like illustration. In many cases, mangaka create both manga stories and manga art.
Mangaka have likes and dislikes. Some mangaka are good at stories, while other ones are good at art.
You might think it would be better to make a good story writer and a good artist work together to create a nice manga. You are right but I also think by doing both story-creation and art, it can bring a certain kind of charm. Because it can show his or her “world” in the mind more than taking part in manga creation partially.
When the “world” is very attractive, this is effective to create an interesting manga. As for art, in many cases mangaka hire assistants to meet the deadlines. But usually assistants only draw things which are not main things. It’s to keep his or her “world” even when other people help the creation.
Usually on each manga magazine, they have around 10 series of manga. Depending on the manga magazine’s publishing pace, mangaka face weekly or monthly deadlines. It’s a hard thing to meet them every time, but if you fail to do so, the manga series might be stopped halfway by the editors of the manga magazine.
It’s very competitive to continue a manga series since if it can’t gain popularity, it can be stopped by the editors. Since mangaka always have to face deadlines and must gain popularity, usually mangaka needs to be tough mentally and physically.
After a manga series continues on a manga magazine for a certain period, it will be published as an individual manga book. Mangaka get a manuscript fee when his or her manga is put on a manga magazine and mangaka also gets royalty after his or her individual manga book is published.
With regards to creating manga characters, the most common way is to create ones based on some models such as animals.
We can create cute characters based on an image of cute animals, while tough ones can come from strong animals, like lions. Every time I think of interesting characters, I keep them in my “character idea notebook.”
After 10 years of experience as a professional mangaka in Japan, I’ve been expanding abroad finding interesting job opportunities.
As for chalk art, I didn’t know it’s popular to draw chalk illustrations on pavements among kids in America. In Japan, it’s not easy to find such safe pavements maybe because of the narrower national land. When I heard of the book plan of “Chalk Art Manga,” I thought it can make the pavement drawing more fun because manga is popular. In addition, it could be a kind of introduction to the art while enjoying it.
So I thought it should not be one which requires high techniques of chalk art to try. I tried to show how I drew the characters in it as detailed as possible. I was teaching manga creation at a vocational school in Tokyo. So I tried to see things from the learner’s point of view, considering what points they want to know.
When I was creating the book with Danica, I found it interesting to create characters I have not created before. I’ve mainly been creating human characters, so it was fun to create different ones, such as food characters and animal characters. Another interesting point was that when drawing materials are different, the atmosphere of the art is quite different.
To design the characters in the book, I used colored pencils on paper first. Because I thought by deciding the designs and colors of the characters beforehand, it can make the chalk art creation smooth. Since I usually use pens when I draw characters, the ones by pencils looked a bit different.
Finally when I drew the characters on pavements with chalk, I noticed they looked much more warm and friendly.
If I had this book when I was a kid, and there was enough pavement around my house, I’m sure I would have become addicted to the chalk art of manga.
I hope this book spreads among people, including adults, and anybody who wants to enjoy creating art light-heartedly.
- Buy Chalk Art Manga from Skyhorse Publishing, Danica Davidson and Rena Saiya at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Indiebound or Bookshop.org.
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