New book helps artists keep their oji-san separate from their oni-san.
What with the huge quantity of anime and manga produced in Japan, it’s no secret that the country has a real passion for illustration. Because of that, Japanese publishers offer a wide variety of reference books for budding artists, with different guides covering different character types or situations.
In general, though, the models or sample illustrations in these books feature young men and women. It makes sense, since the vast majority of prominent anime and manga characters are in their teens or early 20s. However, publisher Hobby Japan realizes that instead of a bunch of wet-behind-the-ears high schoolers, some creators want to craft stories about mature gentlemen, and so has released a new book titled How to Draw and Differentiate Oji-san.
▼ Archetypes such as kindly scientists and shibui crime bosses are covered.
The word oji-san literally translates as “uncle,” and is used to refer to a man in between the young oni-san (“big brother”) and ojii-san (“grandfather”) stages of life.
▼ The section on facial structure seems to broadly set the oji-san range as between the ages of 30 and 69.
▼ The dude in the straight-collar shirt at the top right has a real Masami Obari thing going on.
One of the problems that How to Draw and Differentiate Oji-san hopes to help struggling artists with is an over-reliance on just adding a bunch of wrinkles to an otherwise youthful character design, or going overboard in body language and making what should be a middle-aged man look like an elderly one. To that end, you’ll find descriptions and visual examples of appropriate oji-san posture and musculature.
▼ Is that Patlabor’s Captain Goto in the upper right?
Given the possible end objective of many users of an all-male drawing guide, there’s also special attention given to hands, for which expressive artwork tends to be highly valued in certain circles.
Artist and author YANAMi also provides detailed commentary on oji-san clothing and accessories, including glasses, for those characters whose eyesight has weakened after decades of life on the front lines of their chosen professional fields.
There’s also a side-by-side comparison showing an oji-san standing next to a younger character, to further help users spot the differences.
In the above illustrations, we’re guessing the private parts are rendered as they are for the sake of modesty, and not to suggest that characters in a world that includes oji-san all have girthy, truncated junk. Given that How to Draw and Differentiate Oji-san (which can be ordered here through Amazon Japan for 2,052 yen [US$19]) carries the subtitle “Face and Body” edition, perhaps more detailed techniques for specific parts of the anatomy are being planned for future volumes in the series.