Best Manga About Art & Design | TheReviewGeek Recommends

Best Manga About Art & Design

Although many people cherish watching anime, they often forget that most anime serve as adaptations of the original source material. While there are some instances where the anime is better than the manga, those instances are few and far between. With the amount of manga released on a daily basis, it could be hard to cut through all those books to find the “Best of” for any chosen topic.

Well, we’re here to help celebrate and shine a spotlight on some of the latest, greatest, and unforgettable manga through the years. For our ongoing series of articles depicting the best manga, our attention this time turns to those with a strong focus on art and design. From a wholesome slice-of-life series to those containing thrilling drama, there’s a good choice to whet your appetite.

Of course, if we’ve missed any of your favorites, feel free to comment below and we’ll get them added on!

Hidamari Sketch – Ume Aoki

Hidamari Sketch is a lighthearted slice-of-life manga with a tight focus on visual arts. It follows Yuno, a passionate artist who can’t seem to make many friends. This all changes when she receives the opportunity to attend an art school and moves into the Hidamari Apartment complex. She’ll befriend three people named Miyako, Hiro, and Sae and we study their lives together.

The cheerful aura that evokes these three will find its way toward the reader. You’ll love seeing how all four characters interact with each other and their surroundings. This follows the same tropes as other “moe” stories where the girls complete tasks in adorable fashions. At the same time, Yuno and the rest of the cast will grow and strengthen their bonds over time.

For those who love working on art projects and sharing them with the world, you’ll find Yuno’s character arc appealing. She displays a strong passion for the craft, allowing many artists to resonate with her. Give this manga a shot if you need a story that will boost your own artistic visions or motivate you to strive for diverse goals.

Blue Period – Tsubasa Yamaguchi

Blue Period is a great manga with superb drama and visual arts themes. Into his second year of high school, Yatora lives a mundane lifestyle. He has friends and keeps up with his work, but deep down, he’d rather live a different life. Suddenly, he develops a passion for drawing after noticing a painting made by an Art Club member.

Despite wanting to pursue art head-on, Yatora will have to overcome multiple hurdles to do so. These include winning over his skeptical family members, becoming as talented as his experienced peers, and studying the subject through a deeper means. Blue Period’s manga delivers a solid message about art having the power to change one’s life.

It presents readers with the statement that pursuing your passion will require hard work, courage, and perseverance. This manga will inspire folks to explore their creative sides, which will likely resonate with many people, not just artists. For those looking for an incredible manga that tackles emotional themes and showcases a realistic representation of the art world, give Blue Period a shot.

The Art Club Has a Problem – Muru Imigi

Honey and Clover – Chica Umino

Honey and Clover is a manga that will make readers experience all types of emotions. In it, we follow Takemoto, a boy who lives a troubled life but plans to discover what life is all about. Fortunately, he’ll be joined by a crazy cast of allies that will help him discover his passion. Many of Honey and Clover’s cast received excellent development and undergo relatable conflicts.

They have unique and intricate personalities that will appeal to readers. This manga explores every character’s motivations, fears, and struggles with self-discovery. After you read through a good chunk of the narrative, you’ll grow more attached to our cast and cheer for them to succeed. Chika Umino’s illustrations for Honey and Clover are soft and gentle, complimenting the manga’s slice-of-life aspects.

Mahoraba – Akira Kojima

Mahoraba is a romantic comedy with thought-provoking elements and a stance on visual arts. It follows Ryushi, an aspiring picture book writer who moves into a new apartment so he can attend an art school in Tokyo. Five other people live in this apartment complex and have clashing personalities. Therefore, Ryushi must strive for his dream while putting up with his new neighbors’ crazy habits.

This manga’s cast is well-rounded and all have diverse personalities that help them stand out. Some characters have quirks that will make you ponder why they have them. One character likes to party non-stop while another only speaks through a puppet. It’s these oddities that help people gravitate toward specific individuals in the story.

The humor is varied and well-executed. Mahoraba offers great slapstick, witty jokes, and funny facial expressions. The series touches upon psychological issues like multiple personality disorders and handles them with proper care. For those looking for a fun story about a picture-book writer getting into hilarious situations with his neighbors, check out Mahoraba.

The Line that Defines Me – Hiromasa Togami

After losing his parents in a traffic accident, our lead character, Sosuke Aoyama undergoes severe pain and misery. He’ll find a source of light after meeting an India-ink painting artist at a local exhibition who’ll accept him as his disciple. Unfortunately, Kozan’s niece will be dismissive of Sosuke and declares to compete with him for the Kozan Award.

This manga offers compelling characters who undergo multiple hurdles that will help them become better human beings. It’s a short series that manages to accomplish a lot. Sosuke and Kozan’s niece form a neat rivalry that’s nice to follow. Everyone has remarkable personalities and backgrounds, making them easy to sympathize with.

The series’s manga artist Atsunori Horiuchi deserves a fabulous pat on the back for her beautiful illustrations. They represent the growth of the characters well and are pleasing to glare at. For those looking for a manga that will have them teetering between sadness and happiness, this one’s short and memorable.

Genkaku Picasso – Usamaru Furuya

Genkaku Picasso explores themes of creativity, art, and friendship. It follows Hikari, a high schooler who is talented at drawing but doesn’t know how to express himself. After a near-death experience, Hikari receives the ability to enter people’s minds through the use of artwork. As he ventures through his classmate’s minds, he’ll realize he has a talent for helping others.

This will grant him deeper knowledge about himself and art. Based on the premise alone, you’re in for a creative treat with this one. Each chapter has Hikari tackling multiple issues involving bullying, family relationships, and self-esteem through the lens of visual art. Each character feels fleshed out and memorable.

Some characters don’t stand out as much as Hikari and his pal Chiaki, but they’re enjoyable. Furthermore, you’ll be able to tell that a lot of effort was put into its illustrations based on how vivid and imaginative everything appears. Give this manga a read if you can spare a few hours of your time. You won’t regret it.

Sketchbook – Totan Kobako

Sketchbook follows the “moe” formula to a tee. It involves a strange girl named Sora who discovers a passion for art by attending her high school’s art club. When she’s not making neat doodles in her sketchbook, she can be seen pampering the neighborhood’s felines. In Sketchbook we explore Sora’s growth to becoming a confident and talented artist.

The plot’s a bit formulaic as many chapters have Sora and her companions tackling something new. It focuses more on Sora’s internal and external development than anything too grand. The art style looks adorable and fits with the relaxing tone Totan Kobako aims for with this work. Sora’s interpretation of the manga differs a bit from her anime iteration.

She’s not technically a quiet girl, she just chooses not to interact in a normal fashion. She’d rather communicate with people by drawing up messages. Nonetheless, this manga offers great themes of friendship and self-expression that you don’t want to skip out on. Check Sketchbook out if you’re looking for a fabulous manga with an equally enjoyable protagonist.

Barakamon – Satsuki Yoshino

In Barakamon, we follow a rookie calligrapher named Handa. He doesn’t like receiving criticism for his work, as one incident gets him exiled to the Goto Islands. Although this place doesn’t fuel his creative juices, he’s determined to find something inspirational about the Goto Islands that will help him craft his best work yet. However, he’ll have to contend with other residents if he plans to do that.

This story centers around the companionship between Handa, a young girl named Naru, and other residents on the island. Despite keeping to himself, Handa will develop a newfound appreciation for everyone. This will help his character evolve from being your typical shut-in to someone that comes off as more open-minded. The series also contains some enjoyable lighthearted humor.

From compelling jokes to exaggerated facial expressions, you’ll find it challenging not to laugh at its cast. For those looking for a story with a cheerful aura, funny jokes, and emphasis on art and family life, Barakamon’s worth reading.

Bakuman – Tsugumi Ohba

Bakuman is an entertaining manga with an emphasis on art and friendship. In it, we follow Moritaka, a boy who wants to become a fabulous manga author like his uncle. However, when tragedy strikes, he abandons his dreams and spends his life studying to become a salaryman. He meets and agrees to help out an aspiring writer named Akito win the heart of his crush Miho.

We follow the pair as they create a manga under the pen name Muto Ashirohi. This series touches upon hard work, determination, and perseverance. Many aspiring authors, writers, and artists will find Muto Ashirohi’s journey inspiring and captivating. The manga includes some fun lighthearted elements and gags to wind down the mood.

Furthermore, Bakuman provides an intriguing critique of the pros and cons of publishing manga in the industry. You can expect the series to tackle situations where characters clash with their editors, must keep up with weekly schedules, and why rankings are vastly important. It offers a positive perspective on these ideas but many newcomers will be astounded by it all.

So, there we have it, our picks for the best manga through the years about art and design!

What do you think of our picks? Do you agree? Are there any notable omissions? Let us know in the comments below!

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