I’ve been feeling a need to discuss my sudden art style change this past year, because a lot of readers of my comics have been wondering about it. While a lot of you have embraced it, and have supported this “simplified” style, I still occasionally get comments from people who are not thrilled with the new look. Specifically with BlueStreak. This is very understandable. I started out as an “anime-inspired” artist, and people followed me for that reason. Anime is not just an art style, but a trend people are drawn to. And if your comics follow the conventional anime and manga style, manga readers will read it. Makes sense. But I felt like I had no identity as an artist. If my work was posted amongst hundreds of other manga pages, nothing about my comic art would have screamed, “Made by enchantma.” And then I thought if I don’t stand out, what’s the point in all this? If I have no identity as an artist, I can’t feel like an artist.
So something had to change. I had to create a trademark style to separate me from everyone else.
To me, cartoons as an art form is all about style. If you have style, you have successfully drawn yourself away from the pack of standard “cartoons” and you’ve become something more specific. You’re “Hannah Barbera,” or “Chuck Jones,” or “Disney,” or “Shinichiro Watanabe.” You become a separate entity, recognizable, and noticed. That was my goal.
You readers are now passengers in my ride toward finding that style that makes me “enchantma.” I hope I’m on the right track. And I appreciate that many of you have stuck with me regardless of my crazy decisions.
So now to answer all the frustrated questions of why BlueStreak looks the way it does…When I initially starting planning BlueStreak in 2007 I planned to make it a standard manga. But BlueStreak needed more than common art. It’s a project I’ve put my sweat and tears into to create something no one has ever seen before. A comic musical like that never would have worked in my standardized typical cliched manga style. If this comic was going to be different than other comics, it had to be different in all aspects. That’s when I made my decision to create a new drawing style. And that’s when I learned that BlueStreak never would have worked in any style but the one it’s in now. The musical comic also begs the question of whether or not it’s considered “manga.” I don’t have an answer for that. It is what it is, and I hope it’s “enchantma.”
I hope this post clarifies some things. I’m not suddenly “anti-anime.” On the contrary, there are still many hints of it in my art. But I hope those of you who are turned off by BlueStreak‘s style solely because it’s NOT anime/manga can forgive me, and perhaps give the comic a chance.