Tiny details in anime and manga artwork can make a huge difference.
When you stop and think about it, illustration is an extremely complex process. While photographers are capturing images that already exist in the physical world, illustrators have to envision and create every part of their drawings’ subjects.
The upside, of course, is that illustrators have an unparalleled level of control in their artistic expression. That includes the ability to tailor that expression to match up with the target audience’s aesthetic tastes, and for those truly dedicated to their craft, sometimes that requires adding incredibly subtle details that will go overlooked by those the artist isn’t trying to directly address the preferences of, but will definitely be appreciated by those who care enough to notice.
Consider, for example, these two drawings from Japanese Twitter user @riko3_. At first glance, the two pictures might appear identical, and some might have a hard time picking out the differences without a side-by-side comparison. However, @riko3_’s eyes, one is disappointing, and the other divine.
橋本ゆの (@riko3_) February 12, 2017
He describes the drawing on the left as:
“An illustration by a typical artist. Close, but not quite there. There’s a little something missing.”
And as for the illustration on the right:
“An illustration from an artist who gets it. I love it when artists pay attention to this part here. They’re illustration gods.”
So what’s the difference? In the illustration on the left, the line of the character’s leg (showing off its “absolute territory” between the skirt hem and high sock) is completely straight. However, in the right drawing, the upper thigh tapers in ever so slightly before it tucks into the sock, and the covering produces a tiny dimple in the skin, accompanied by an associated red coloring and shine.
“I think about 80 out of 100 guys feel the same way as I do,” tweeted @riko3_, and his statement was met with a resounding chorus of agreement, along with tens of thousands of likes and retweets. “This is so important that you could spend two hours explaining all the reasons why,” chimed in one commenter, so apparently not only is a picture worth a thousand words, in the case of @riko3_’s examples, illustrations are worth 60 minutes each.