25 April 2013

The Artful Readers Club for April

Vagabond 3 by Takehiko Inoue
Inked drawing by Takehiko Inoue, coloring by me in Photoshop CS4.

Tweet Review: With swords like that, why fight?

If I can turn ANY club readers into graphic novel fans...I am going to be very happy, but then so will you. As most club readers are also artists, this challenge especially emphasizes the relationship between words and pictures. And, as in graphic novels and manga...that's exactly what you get!

A little look into Japanese manga is enough to pique anyone's interest.  The manga artists keep up with  societies interests. The stories written are illustrated for all age groups;  boys and girls, men and women. The series Vagabond, my April book is seinem manga which means it's written for men ages 18-40. But I don't think I'll be arrested for reading it.

The first two things to know about Vagabond is that the artist Takehiko Inoue is also the author and his drawings are done, up until very recently, with a black ink brush pen. The images are truly gorgeous.

Another impressive fact about Takehiko, is that he is an art machine. Each volume of Vagabond is about 10 chapters, and each chapter is about 20 pages (so 200, inked manga pages). He is on volume 34. That's 6,800 (give or take) pages. Fewh!

Sometimes when I am reading Vagabond, I catch myself pausing at the art work. It's so intricate and detailed, I just get caught up in it and forget what I am reading. However, the story is one of my long term interests, so I quickly get back on track.

I first read about Miyamoto Musashi as a teenager. He wrote a book called "The Book of The Five Rings", the (depending on what you know) quintessential  handbook on samurai sword fighting. Essentially, Vagabond is the story of Miyamoto. In essence, a historical fantasy.

I'd be very delighted if any ARC readers were also interested in the Sengoku period of Japan. If so,  these are the books for you, for the rest of some of your life. Truly golden.


  1. Funny I was thinking of your last post yesterday when one of my sons returned home and collected some graphic novels. I remember one of my other some showing me 'watchmen' very violent and not for me, but as you said I can appreciate the art work is amazing. And both my sons are really good at copying the style 'magna' but they don't love art they love other things, I always think it's such a shame they don't do more with their obvious artistic talent. Happy ARC Dxx

  2. Graphic novels? Does the back of our weekly Donald Duck magazine count? ;)
    I know a couple teenagers completely into Manga, including trying to draw Manga style figures. Really thought the stories were like Young Adult books. Maybe I should steal one of their books... :)
    Great review! I really would love to know how to draw such an expressive face and thumbs up for the hair. I want that hair! ♥
    Looking forward to your review next month!

  3. I already love graphic novels and comics, too. I feel in love with Graphic novels and Manga while I lived in Japan, then I was hooked forever. I'm reading (okay rereading Kim Harrison's Blood Work right now--urban fantasy).

    I LOVE his hair!

  4. My youngest reads Manga novels as I think I may have mentioned before...but he didn't tell me they came in different age related categories...very helpful to know. I love anything "historically" related, so this may be a set to look into for when he is older :D Love the colouring on your image :D XXX

  5. I have always loved Western comics and graphic novels too - but have never read any Manga - maybe I should give it a go? Love your coloured artwork

  6. I've always thought that Manga was for youngsters, so it has not caught my attention enough to look into it. That's the next thing I shall do ..... well after all the other priorities ..... but I definitely think it is something I will like, so it's a must for me.
    So your review is useful as well as interesting to read. The artwork is amazing, with the simplicity and strength of the image and the subtle tones of the colouring.

  7. Graphic Novels and Manga are certainly popular here...the style is quite interesting...great review!

  8. I'm super impressed with what you did in PS. I have an older version, and would never have been able to color that painting as well. It sounds like you were taken by this graphic novel. I have never even SEEN a graphic novel, so I'm a novel novice! Nice review, though and an apology for taking so long to get here.

  9. wow almost 7,000 drawings!!! he is an art machine for real. I love what you did with his drawing. As much as I like drawing manga I have never had the urge to read the books, maybe i should.

  10. Wow great colouring of a super drawing. Interesting review, food for thought looking at Manga novels.
    Jen x

  11. Beautiful coloring, Kelly...I've always admired Japanese Manga drawings but have never read a graphic novel. Lots of comic books as a kid, but I know they're a completely different genre. Next time I'm in a book store, I may pick one up...you've piqued my interest.

  12. I have often picked up Graphic novels to flip through them in the book store but never actually bought one. You are tempting to commit and buy one. Great work in photoshop.

  13. I had a wonderful student who loved Manga and graphic novels. He is now writing, binding and illustrating his own graphic novel! I think this is a wonderful art form. I loved your review and your art work. Thank you for sharing your passion. xxx