Today I will write shortly about a new experience for me, that is carving in wood based on manga/anime. Let’s start with what kind of reliefs we have. Wikipedia briefly describes it this way:

• flat (bas-relief) – relief extends over the surface less than half of  its thickness

• convex (high-relief) – relief extends over the surface more than half of its thickness

• concave (sunk relief) – the surface plane protrudes above the composition.• mixed technology – the plane is machined in two directions

What exactly relief on the basis of manga/anime was different from my previous experience? First of all in the manga the most important is the dash, line and shading with the color that fills the space between it, creating an image that is keen on the eye, while giving the illusion of space on the 2D plane. These three features are in this case our form, which properly performed will give the viewer the right aesthetic experience.

Creating relief based on manga might be demanding, despite the theoretical simplicity.

I will tell you honestly that this dash and line have caused me the most trouble. Until now, the forms that I sculpted gave quite a rounded edge finish. This was due to the observation of models in nature. Let’s explain this on the example of a human head. In general reception it is solid. It has natural concave elements, convex, rounding, etc. Although our eye sees only everything that is outside, what is the limit of the skin, we are aware of what is under it and what gives all such and no other appearance (bones, muscles, etc.).

And although each element is separate (it has a different function or appearance), together they form a whole. What is most important for the sculptor, the components do not have boundaries in the form of a line and simply a smooth transition. In both cases, a very important role in the reception is played by the light that emphasizes, accents, highlights and even intensifies the structure built by the elements.

Until now, I have tried to maintain a natural soft border (which, of course, can be very emphasized) of elements knowing that, after all, the form that I sculpt has three dimensions and not two. Keeping the right perspective, the viewer has the impression that looking at the sculpture in 2D, although it does not represent fully three-dimensional elements, they are implicitly spatial (otherwise, of course, in many cases, reliefs of ancient Egypt or Aztec art – I encourage you to read about this type of relief).

What happens if you take the line from manga? It will no longer be a manga (probably). For me, the most difficult moment was just switching to the language of a thick, clear line. In spite of habits developed in me for years, I had to resist temptation and start carving differently. That’s why I worked with the characteristics of manga. At this point, the light really showed what it can do 😀 It fantastically raises all the edges making the drawing even more interesting.

For the most difficult I consider the moment in which I was going down with the project and I had to wipe this line/border. At the beginning I was wondering what to replace it with? After all, I will not make a relief around. I went to it because everything in my head was in conflict. And then Kuba said: leave this line, what does it bother you? Exactly, nothing… without a line there is no manga! 😀 Well, so I left it in the form of a distinct groove and border, sharp cut off between planes.

To sum up, it was a very interesting experience, it reminded me how important it is for the final impression to build a form in such a way that it is the clear line and the light that breaks at its edges that build the whole picture. Good lesson 😉