Christmas Anime and Holiday Manga Cartoon Art and Drawing

The annual Holiday Anime Fair held at the Teen Center in Fremont, Ca. during December.
The annual Holiday Anime Fair held at the Teen Center in Fremont, Ca. during December. | Source

Big appealing eyes and cute cartoon like characters with expressive faces.

You've probably seen them and didn't realize you were actually viewing an old art form that originated in Japan. Referred to by a couple of different names: "Anime" and/or "Manga" (often used interchangeably) are a fun art-form that is mostly popular with the younger generation. This unique art style has garnered many followers, with whole websites and forums dedicated to this budding art. Although Japanese in origin, Manga and Anime are becoming more and more popular around the world.

I recently attended and taught an art class at a fun event in Fremont, Ca. called the "Holiday Anime Fair", which was a special event dedicated to Anime and Manga art, its followers and artists. I learned a lot and was taken in by the cute Anime characters with their large expressive eyes.

This particular Anime and Manga fair had a holiday twist - the halls were decked with hand rendered anime art of cats, dogs and characters adorned with various holiday themes.

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What is Anime and Manga art?

The word "anime", which we call it in the U.S., actually originated in Japan and describes Japanese cartoons and computer animation.The word itself is actually an abbreviation of the Japanese word "animation".

The colorful art often consists of colorful graphics, vibrant characters and action-filled plots with fantastic or futuristic themes. You could say that Anime and Manga are the equivalent of our modern day comic books. In Japan, these characters are widely popular, with their own story-lines, comics, movies and followings.

In its simplest from, the word Manga (pronounced MAHN-gah or MANG-ah) is part of the anime art, where adult characters often have large prominent eyes. In it's more complex form, Manga covers a whole spectrum of characters in novels, comic books and animated movies. The definition of Manga in Japanese literally means "whimsical characters".

Although around for quite sometime, both Anime art and Manga art have begun to be quite popular not only in Japan, but around the world.

Holiday Anime characters

A cute Anime Manga bear character dressed up for the holidays. Wonder if he's mad or just tired because he's got small eyes?
A cute Anime Manga bear character dressed up for the holidays. Wonder if he's mad or just tired because he's got small eyes? | Source
A cute Anime Manga cat with the typical large and expressive eyes.
A cute Anime Manga cat with the typical large and expressive eyes. | Source
A girl Anime character dressed up for the holidays.
A girl Anime character dressed up for the holidays. | Source
An Anime Santa bear with large Manga eyes.
An Anime Santa bear with large Manga eyes. | Source

Trademarks of Manga style art

How can you tell if you are looking at Manga art as opposed to other forms of cartooning? Here are some of the hallmarks of Manga Art:

  • Characters have large and prominent eyes. Eyes are often shaped like saucers. The large eyes usually convey feelings and emotions. Interesting side note here is that "evil" or "unfriendly" Manga characters are usually characterized with small eyes, portraying the "bad guys".
  • Manga art tends to follow a "cinematic technique" - and they look like cartoons that would be developed for a storyboard or cartoon. They often show characters in transition, as if they were part of a larger story (which they often are)
  • Manga art often shows extreme expressions on the characters faces. It's easy to spot emotion and know what the character is feeling. Although somewhat unrealistic at times, Manga can get across the characters feelings through art.
  • Most, but not all traditional Manga, is done in black and white. As Manga has developed however, and especially in Western Countries, Manga has become more colorful.

Manga characters celebrate the holidays too!

Considering the storybook and comic book appeal of Anime and Manga art, it's not surprising that the characters are even treated to their own holiday celebrations.

At the Holiday Anime Fair held in Fremont, Ca., Anime and Manga lovers come from all over. They come not only to learn how to draw Manga eyes, but are even treated to the best Manga and Anime Costume Contest, where kids and both adults dress up as their favorite Anime/Manga characters.

Large expressive eyes are adorned with Holiday hats and vendors sell Manga wares like hand-made purses, bookmarks and artwork. Anime and Manga artists give demonstrations on the art of Anime and Manga and teach children and adults various art techniques.

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Comments 2 comments

TolovajWordsmith profile image

TolovajWordsmith 22 months ago from Ljubljana

What a lovely idea - to mix Christmas and Anime! I was just hunting for ideas to make this year's Christmas video card and it looks i may borrow something right from this article;) Thanks for the inspiration.


Dorsi profile image

Dorsi 22 months ago from The San Francisco Bay Area Author

Glad you enjoyed it Tolova and thanks for reading!

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