The Secrets behind Miura’s Art and Writing

Doing some Strokes

Drawing direction is also important! The way the strokes are drawn usually support the shape and texture of what is depicted. This is a very subtle detail that really makes the spirit of Miura’s art.

Here, I attempted to reconstruct how exactly Miura does the strokes on Farnese’s face, i.e. where the nib starts and where it ends. You will see here too, that the way Miura places his strokes supports the shape, especially on the nose bridge. Via delicate control of pressure, even the thicker areas of the strokes on her cheek and chin are carefully placed that way. This was likely drawn with a small pointed nib with medium hardness.

However, not only the strokes for outlines are following the form the shading is as well! Let’s take this panel of Guts from volume 24 and examine it.

The shading Miura uses runs along the surface of whatever is being drawn. To shade a surface like Miura does, you need to use proper construction beforehand.

This also applies to his cape, but is still a bit different when shading faces or clothes.

To illustrate this I did this rough overlay job of the above panel. I added some rough construction guides in red (these are the ones I personally use when I draw), the surface curvature is roughly sketched out in cyan (note the cylinder shape on the arms!), and in yellow I marked the shading direction, which is directly laid on the cyan markings of the surface. You can see this even on the shading on his nose bridge or forehead.

Guts’ cape for example only consists of shading strokes going along the length of his cape (the purple lines). The strokes literally create volume by shading only and are only limited by an outline (in blue). This seems to be drawn with a smaller chiselled nib, using the shorter end of the chisel or a nib that gives a consistent stroke width. His shirt and pants outfit above is also drawn in a very similar way.

Miura claims that his style is inspired by older Japanese Manga like Fist of the Northstar, but to me, his style looks more like it was inspired by great Renaissance artists like Albrecht Dürer or Leonardo Da Vinci.

Sketch by Leonardo da Vinci. [Source]
Excerpt from Albrecht Dürer’s “Nemesis”. Full sized work here at the German Staedelmuseum’s website.

Isn’t it kind of crazy how similar Miura’s style is compared to these drawings? Kentaro Miura basically created art on similar level of skill and artistry in manga form.

Detail from Albrecht Dürer’s “Nemesis”….
…and a panel by Kentaro Miura for comparison. The resemblance is absolutely insane.

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