George Morikawa, author of the acclaimed manga Hajime No Ippo, recently put out a thread on his official twitter account saying that almost 40 years after he made his debut as a manga artist, he still doesn’t know how to draw manga.
“There was an event that reminded me of my own rookie days. It has been almost 40 years since I made my debut, but I still don’t know how to draw manga,” Morikawa wrote in his tweet.
Morikawa made this rather surprising claim in order to encourage newcomers to keep drawing despite any failures that might come their way and to tell them that it is okay to make mistakes.
“I write this in the hope that it will reach all of you newcomers. It is okay to make mistakes. I am only accumulating 40 years of reflection. All you have to do is draw and draw and reflect,” he said.
According to the author, creating manga is a work in progress which probably has no definitive solution, or perfection and or end. Even experienced artists often find themselves in the dark. He then gave the example of veteran artists Tetsuya Chiba and Takumi Nagayasu.
“I once asked Tetsuya Chiba to publish a textbook on manga. The answer came back, ‘Manga is too difficult for me to understand’. When I met with Takumi Nagayasu-sensei, he said, ‘I think I have finally learned how to use the G-pen recently’. This is everything,” Morikawa wrote.
The Hajime No Ippo author further added that manga is not something that can be learned in a lifetime or two. By the time a person thinks they have achieved something, they’ll have reached the end of their life. And so he advised the younger generation of artists to draw more without fear and keep reflecting on their work to earn positive feedback.
“Manga is not something that can be learned in one or two lifetimes. We live to lose. So it is okay to lose.
It is okay to fail. Draw more and more without fear,” he wrote. “Draw a lot of pictures while reflecting a lot in order to earn the comment ‘interesting’. Please expose yourself to the public as much as you can. There is no need for regret. All you need is reflection and enjoyable study. Good luck.”
Morikawa ended his thread saying that these were his opinion at this point of time and apologized in advance if these opinions of his were to change in future.
George Morikawa is a Japanese manga author known for the long-running series Hajime no Ippo. Born in Tokyo, Morikawa was inspired to become a manga artist upon reading Tetsuya Chiba’s Harris no Kaze in elementary school.
He was previously an assistant to Shuichi Shigeno, whereas Kentaro Miura and Kaori Saki served as assistants to him in the past.
Morikawa’s Hajime No Ippo began serialization in Kodansha’s Weekly Shonen Magazine since October 1989 and has been collected into 135 tankobon volumes as of July 2022. It became the 8th longest running manga series with over 1300 chapters released in Japan as of 2021.
All volumes of the manga were made available digitally for the first time on July 1, 2022.