Faculty of manga Cartoon Art Course

Cartoon Art Course

Learning the origins of manga, opening up the future with one picture

Cartoon art is manga that expresses humor and a message in a single cell. Developed originally in Britain, the cartoon is considered the origin of manga. Long existing as a medium to comment on mainly political and social issues in newspapers and magazines, the cartoon has developed to be a much broader manga medium, representing many subjects with different perspectives and sensibilities, including fashions, people’s ways of living, ways of thinking, and even fantasy worlds.

For a single picture to be truly expressive, nothing is more important than having a high level of skill in drawing. SEIKA’s classes thus train students exhaustively in drawing ability. Students spend much of their time doing hundreds of croquis drawings to attain their own characteristic line quality. In addition, students also cultivate an observational eye towards subjects, and abilities in understanding the world and visualizing the issues happening in society. With a high level of drawing skills and a unique perspective, students become capable of drawing everything from people to animals, social issues, and human thinking. Graduates from the Cartoon Art Course exhibit their talents in different industries, including through becoming manga artists, picture book artists, illustrators for magazines and newspaper, video game designers and animators, and advertising designers. Just one picture opens up a whole new future for you.

Four Years in the Cartoon Art Course

  • 1st Year

    Being taught by 600 hundred croquis drawings

    No matter how great your idea is, it cannot be called cartoon art unless you have the ability to express it on a single sheet of paper. For a cartoon, created only with pen and paper, nothing is more essential than the “line.”

    Students spend most of their time in classes during the first year building the foundations for creativity: Sketching to cultivate basic drawing ability and skills in observation for accurately understanding the structure of motifs, along with croquis drawing to train their abilities to draw lines, the basis for cartoon expression. For assignments given during the first year summer vacation, students are required to produce more than six hundred croquis drawings at a zoo. To capture moving subjects, such as a giraffe, elephant, zebra, students need a keen observational ability, as well as the ability to draw quickly. Students find the lines necessary for drawing through a series of croquis, and by the time they complete 600 sheets, they ultimately attain the ability to draw anything.

    To create cartoon work, you also need to acquire a sense of humor. Classes offer students opportunities to learn comedic sensibility not only in manga, but also literature, cinema, and advertising, enabling them to obtain the ability to visualize what is happening in society. Now begins the four years of study to acquire your own “line” and “sense of humor.”

    1st year
    1st Year Goals
    Acquiring accurate observational skills as well as drawing skills for all possible subjects, and polishing the sensibility for visualizing society.
  • 2nd Year

    Conveying an idea through one picture cell

    Students start creating full-scale cartoon work. While learning the history of cartoons, students create a single cell manga work based on set themes, visualizing the latest news and a real-life person. The course trains students to be curious about the world, enabling them to visualize their own opinions as a single cell manga. Instead of understanding things only on the surface, students cultivate keen observational skills for investigating subjects from diverse perspectives.

    The course offers students classes that polish drawing skills even further: In croquis lessons, students tackle nude figure drawing to understand the human body structure anatomically. By changing the position of nude models every ten minutes, students train their ability to draw people from different angles. Furthermore, the course also provides students with the opportunity to research classic nude drawings, as well as drawing methods from the past. Utilizing the ability to draw accurately and quickly for cartoon work, students try different types of artistic expressions as well as techniques in “deformed” character design.

    In addition to learning the sensibility and techniques necessary for cartoon production, students go on to search for their own cartoon style through experimenting with different creative methods.

    2nd year
    2nd Year Goals
    Training to shape your ideas into a single cartoon picture, simultaneously cultivating keen observational skills getting closer to what’s inside things.
  • 3rd Year

    What you need as a cartoon artist

    Students are divided into seminar-style classes—cartoon, picture book, and art—according to their future career paths and fields of interest.

    The cartoon classes train students to deepen their understanding of single cell manga they learned in the second year, enabling them to build an individual creative style as an artist. At the end of the year, students produce a collection of their work. Students in the picture book program explore how to visualize humor in a picture book and complete picture books using cartoons, learning each process of bookmaking, including planning, story, character making, pagination, and bookbinding. Students in the art classes learn the know-how necessary for working as artists, such as expressing artistic humor and methods of self-production from professors who are themselves leading contemporary artists. Looking ahead to their futures and experimenting with concepts and styles, students aspire to create high-quality work.

    3rd year
    3rd Year Goals
    Advancing specialties, establishing an individual style for creating high-quality work.
  • 4th Year

    Create your best ever work, based on four years of study

    A year now begins of shaping the individual themes and creative styles students have been discovering up till now. For their graduation projects, students create work as the accumulation of four years’ work through a series of meetings and presentations with supervisors. Themes and creative methods used in graduation projects vary. Using different creative techniques, styles, and painting materials according to their individual concept, students make cartoons based on proverbs with unique interpretations and twists, or animations that parody an educational TV program, or sculptures that imitate a baby.

    Your supervisor gives you advice during meeting sessions on how to realize your dream. Students learn the know-how necessary for working as artists upon graduation, such as entering public exhibition competitions, presenting work online, and submitting work to magazines. Investing everything they have obtained during the four years, students make their very best work for their graduation projects, which are not just work targets but rather the first step towards attaining their dreams.

    4th year
    4th Year Goals
    Completing graduation projects visualizing an individual theme and creative style, and building an identity as an artist.

Career paths after graduating from the Cartoon Art Course

The Cartoon Course offers a series of croquis sessions and furnishes students with assured abilities in drawing subjects accurately, as well as proficiency in drawing necessary lines quickly. The classes exploring social issues make students aware of everything happening in the world so they acquire the ability to observe contemporary society objectively. Whether you choose a single cell cartoon, picture book, or art, the drawing as well as observational abilities attained over the four years will lead you on to a range of professional options.

Career choices

  • Illustrator, picture book or comic book artist
  • Video game designer utilizing drawing ability
  • Artist with assured drawing ability and creativity
  • Working in the animation industry utilizing your drawing ability

Other career options

  • Character designer
  • Graphic designer
  • Assistant manga artist
  • Advertising producer
  • Newspaper reporter or journalist
  • Critic or writer etc.

Cartoon Art Course Faculty Members (in Japanese)