illustration

Like any language, Japanese has multiple words that have more or less the same meaning, but which help to put a finer point on exactly how the speaker feels. For example, pocchari and debu both refer to someone with a higher than average proportion of body fat, but pocchari doesn’t have quite the same harshness that debu does.

If we were looking for English equivalents, debu would be “fat,” while pocchari would be the softer-sounding “plump.” But as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words, and one Japanese Twitter user recently posted a sketch diagraming, in his mind, the physical differences between a pocchari woman and a debu one.

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Want to be a manga artist, but can’t draw backgrounds? Website has environments you can download

If you’re a budding manga creator, odds are you spend most of your time working on your character artwork. That’s probably a wise choice, too, as most famous comic artists focus on drawing their stories’ leads, and hand off work on other details, such as background art, to a team of assistants.

Of course, another reality of being a budding manga artist is that you probably don’t have a publisher bankrolling your comic and paying for the abovementioned team of assistants. But thankfully there’s now a way for you to pour your efforts into story and character art and still produce something that looks polished, thanks to a new Japanese website that sells ready-to-use manga backgrounds.

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Japanese Twitter user illustrates the difference between how men and women define a “cute girl”

What do you think of when you imagine a “cute girl?” The term seems like it should be straightforward enough, whether you’re using the English word “cute” or the Japanese equivalent, kawaii. But one Japanese Twitter user claims that guys and girls use the word to mean vastly different things, and has even shared an illustration diagraming what she feels is the difference between what men and women mean when they talk about a “cute” girl.

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Chinese artist personifies pictures of cats and dogs into captivating traditional paintings

Have you ever wondered what your pets would look like as humans?

We’re no stranger to personification illustrations since the Japanese enjoy turning all sorts of things from battleships to swords to computer systems and even poop bacteria into human anime forms, but perhaps this is the first time our humble website has seen real animals portrayed as human figures. Check out these beautiful Chinese paintings of personified cats and dogs after the break!

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Popular manga artist’s shockingly great doodles from school prove he’s always had talent

I’m sure we all remember that one kid from our grade school days that was scarily good at drawing. The kid that would hastily – and incorrectly – finish up his math problems so he could back to sketching in his notebook. The one that could caricature Mr. Goetz’s sort of goofily small head from memory on request (no offense, Mr. Goetz).

If you were to dip back in to your long-forgotten box of grade school stuff – you know, the one mom keeps around specifically to embarrass you when you bring a new woman home to meet the family – and found one of that kid’s sketches, though, they probably aren’t going to look as good as you remember them. Hell, that kid’s probably not even a Disney animator like he always said he’d be, either. He probably works in the cafeteria at your old middle school because he never paid attention in math class.

On the other hand, there’s at least one insanely talented manga artist whose grade school/high school doodles hold up just as well today. In fact, they might even be better than the stuff he’s drawing now.

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Time to say “I doodle!” Wedding guests RSVP with cute sketches and drawings

Everyone loves weddings, don’t they? A Western-style Japanese wedding usually involves a fancy (though usually fake) church, tons of great food, and multiple dress changes for the bride. In short, it’s excellent entertainment! Some potential wedding guests in Japan have been getting so excited at the thought of attending a wedding, they’ve been gleefully doodling all over their RSVPs! Let’s take a look at some of these cute sketches!

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U.K. gamebook’s redone cover tells you everything you need to know about Japanese fantasy RPG art

A fundamental difference in the way Japan and the west approach fantasy role-playing games is how much more optimism Japanese creators tend to apply to the genre. Consider the most common opening scenarios for the two regions. How many western RPGs start with a group of grizzled and profiteering adventurers, brought together in a shady tavern by tales of riches waiting to be claimed? About as many as there are Japanese ones that begin with some plucky, clean-cut childhood friends leaving their bucolic village on a quest to see the wonders of the world and help strangers along the way.

The gap even extends to visual designs, with much western fantasy art looking like it’s covered with a thin film of dust, blood, or mead. Japan, on the other hand, likes to believe that everything can look sleek, freshly scrubbed, and even sexy in a medieval setting.

One of the founding fathers of fantasy gaming, though, isn’t right pleased about that aesthetic.

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As the weather gets hotter, the girls’ skirts get shorter. Although, to be fair, there are plenty of girls in Japan who strut around in tiny skirts even in the freezing depths of winter. But be it in winter or summer, one thing that comes with mini skirts is the risk of panty shots.

There are shorts designed to be worn under skirts to prevent such situations, but some girls don’t want to wear them, instead running the risk of giving the random guy an eyeful of their undies when they’re climbing up the stairs, running after a bus, or just standing in the way of the wind.

Apparently, such accidental upskirt situations are so common that it provides enough inspiration and case studies for an illustrator to start drawing a series of sketches on Twitter.

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These 19th-century Japanese miniature landscapes show that size isn’t everything

The Tōkaidō is perhaps the most important road in Japan’s history. Built in the 17th century, it connected the country’s two powerhouses: it runs from Kyoto, the imperial capital, to Edo (now Tokyo), the seat of the Shogunate. As well as being an important political and trade route, depictions of the Tōkaidō in art in literature were abundant and popular.

The best-known of these is Utagawa Hiroshiges’s series of ukiyo-e woodcut prints, The Fifty-three Stations of the Tōkaidō. Ukiyo-e woodblock printing like this continued to flourish in Japan until the 19th century.

Less famous than Hiroshige is the relatively unknown ukiyo-e artist Utagawa Yoshishige, who produced his own prints of the 53 stations along the Tōkaido – by depicting each station in the form of a potted landscape.

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Picture this: a collection of illustrations created from Nintendo’s Splatoon video game

Released only a week ago, Nintendo’s Wii U game Splatoon has definitely been leaving its mark. The hugely popular video game challenges players to a splatter turf war competition as they attempt to ink out their enemies paintball-style in a virtual world.

In a twist to the game’s premise, Splatoon has been drawing a following on Twitter as creative users are turning the tables and posting sketches created inside the game.

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Speak up! Japanese art-sharing site Pixiv now lets you try your hand at voice acting too

If you’re a budding illustrator, there are a number of artwork-sharing sites on the Internet where you can post your creations for all the world to see. Being based in Japan, it’s no surprise that many of the drawings on website Pixiv reflect Japanese animation art trends, and browsing the site you can find hundreds of gorgeously drawn characters that look like they could be starring in their own series.

But to really complete the anime fantasy, a character needs a voice, right? Thankfully, Pixiv now lets you add voice clips to your illustrations. Not only that, artists can also solicit voice samples from other users, so if you can’t draw to save your life, but have always wanted to dip your toes in the amateur voice acting world, now’s your chance!

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Tokyo illustrator’s animated GIFs will get you up and excited about everyday life

Sometimes it’s hard to get your butt in gear. The regular old mundane chores in life just aren’t that inspiring. Don’t you wish you could inject a little bit of excitement into your daily life? Perhaps a little magic?

Luckily, we have found an artist from Tokyo that captures our dull and dreary moments and spices them up with a bit of artistic flare. These whimsical and playful animated GIFs will get your engines running for the day, or trap you as you stare endlessly captivated by their movement.

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A new frontier of random cute girls: Beautiful evacuees from arson standoffs (with manga fan art)

While people all over the world love spotting a cute girl, Asia seems to get a special kick out of finding an attractive woman in unexpected places. We’ve seen the online community go gaga over pretty teachers, badminton players, and even butchers, but now we’re entering the new frontier: Beautiful evacuee from a bank taken over by an attempted arsonist.

And of course, there’s also manga fan art of the captivating temporary captive and her equally dramatic-looking coworkers.

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Japanese version of Game of Thrones comes with badass manga-style covers, because, Japan

The fantasy novel series A Song of Ice and Fire has been a tremendous hit across the globe, and the television adaptation of the series, titled Game of Thrones, simply pushed its popularity to newer heights.

On this site, we’ve previously seen the Game of Thrones characters get the Disney treatment, now check out the characters done up in manga-style glory!

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Fancy seeing the Disney girls and DreamWorks boys in Korean hanboks? So do we!

You know that we, like many of you, love animation productions, be it Japanese anime or Western cartoons and animated blockbusters. And since you’re visiting our humble website, we’re guessing that you probably have an interest in Asian cultures, like we do, since that’s basically what we write about most of the time.

If a combination of both the abovementioned factors tickles your fancy, then you’re in for a little visual treat today because we found Disney’s Rapunzel, Merida, Elsa and Anna, plus DreamWorks Animation’s Jack Frost and Hiccup decked in some gorgeous Korean costumes! Check them out!

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The Mother’s Day portraits at 7-Eleven in Japan are amazing…and hilarious!

For many of us, Mother’s Day is just around the corner. We’re sure you’ve already got a present picked out, but just in case you forgot, here’s a friendly reminder: Get your mother something nice to say thank you for wiping your butt when you were a baby!

Of course, we’re not the only ones getting ready to celebrate Mother’s Day. 7-Eleven Japan is also making the most of the holiday with their annual Mother’s Day art exhibitions. While most of the drawings are done by young children, some of them are impressive illustrations by much older artists…and others are just down-right hilarious!

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Filipino artist captivates with beautiful ink drawings, invites us to do the coloring ourselves

The Internet is full of gorgeous illustrations by talented artists, so when someone stands out, they tend to be really talented. And Kerby Rosanes, an artist from the Philippines, certainly fits the definition of talented.

At only 23, he’s already quit his full-time job to work on his own art. And when you see it, you’ll understand why! Even better, everyone around the world can get in on the action with his coloring books. Even if you think you’re too old to play with markers, this book is definitely something you should check out!

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Divination will never be the same with these gorgeous fan-illustrated Sailor Moon Tarot cards!

Some believe that our fate is written in the stars. Do you believe in things such as astrology and divination? We have no idea in what way the celestial bodies influence our fate, but we do know of something related to stars and planets and moons… the Sailor Moon series!

All right, that eas sort of corny, but hey, check out these awesome fan-created tarot card designs inspired by Sailor Moon and company!

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Six ways to spot someone who just moved to Tokyo

Spring is the start of both the school year and the business years in Japan. That means that right about now thousands of newcomers are pouring into Tokyo, as they move to the capital to start college or their professional careers.

But the hustle and bustle of Tokyo is on a scale unlike any other town in the nation. Even people who’ve grown up in Japan sometimes stick out like a sore thumb when they first move to the capital, as illustrated in this six-point guide to spotting someone who just moved to Tokyo.

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When it comes to competition swimwear, most of us immediately think of is the kind of gear we see worn by professional swimmers. Trends have shifted over the years as technology improved and demands have changed; swimsuits with racerbacks and varying leg lengths to cater to different needs, preferences and races are most commonly seen on female professional swimmers today.

Last week, Japanese “fetish swimsuit” maker REALISE released a new “competition swimsuit” that changed everyone’s perspective on racing swimwear. Instead of having an open back like many Speedo or TYR suits do, REALISE’s revolutionary design has an open front, allowing its wearers to show off their bosoms, just because. As always, the trend-sensitive Twitter users of Japan were quick to respond to the new fashion statement and… well, just see for yourselves after the break! (Needless to say, some of these illustrations are NSFW.)

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