Blank Canvas: My So-Called Artist’s Journey - Reviews

Alt title: Kakukaku Shikajika

Blank Canvas: My So-Called Artist’s Journey
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kalufunsui's avatar
Jan 19, 2018

I met the artwork of Higashimura sensei by the saga of Jellyfish Princesses.
I was a bit cautios, isn't this my favorite manga genre, but I was definitely conquered by the lively character of Tsukimi and Kuranosuke. I devoured it all and read also some other one-shots form sensei. At the end I came to this self-biography.

The style isn't boring at all, the trait is the trademark of Akiko Higashimura. You can find wonderful portraits and close-up and rough but lively comic sketches.

The story is about the author's life since the last year of high school to the moving in Tokyo, after her master death, with an already running mangaka career.
The striking difference with other Higashimura's works is the deep sincerity whit whom she talk about herself. It is the first time I know so much about a mangaka private life and believe me, you can't feign indifference.

I'm the father of a teenager, so looking at all those dead ends that Akiko runs into is hurting. The lost chances and the excesses that she plainly tells let me become angry sometimes, other times I got a strong motion for her future.
In a nutshell, Hishigamura's story is the tale of a girl who doesn't really know what she wants, what she dislikes. She just know what she would like to be able to do, but doesn't know how to reach there. In the middle of this difficult trip she meet by chance her real master. He's a man totally devoted to painting arts. The master will forgive all of her bad turns but will never let her forget the great value of drawing, even when she herself would like to forget it.

As a father, while reading, i'd have like to get back Akiko from her mistakes and yell at her. The author herself often appear in the story to remark her own mistakes in a funny way. The young myself, who shares some traits with Akiko, understands her doubts a bit and often raxct to her choices too.

The story final is really intense. Sensei Higashimura recollects the treasure of her master's teaching in heartful and a bit sad way.
I suggest this work to everybody who cares for growing up, any age is fine, try it if you can.

As a bonus, in the back you can find original photos from the time told, a grat addition to feeling.

The prizes it won are really well earned, a great work sensei.

10/10 story
9/10 art
10/10 characters
10/10 overall
samsharkz24's avatar
Apr 28, 2024

The only othyer work I have read by this author is Princess Jellyfish. THis author has her own style that was for sure and it was intresing reading a autobiogrphy in manga form, such a perfect idea. It was intresing to see how she was ashamed to tell her master she wanted to be a manga artist and not do fine art. It felt so real and autheic that she was really replecting thsi period in her life that was hard. I knew being a manga arist was hard, but never relized on the detials, so very eye openiend. She had some intresting people in her life. I do wish we got to find out who the dad is to her son though I guess I can look it up. I feel like this story of many artists while her tunred okay not everyone has a happy ending be able to do their dream job. Think five volumes was the perfect amount of time to tell the story. I hope her sensei read this work in heaven and smiled.

10/10 story
10/10 art
9/10 characters
9.5/10 overall
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Yakisoda's avatar
Aug 2, 2023

I have to give this manga a perfect score, everything about it is what I love about manga and art in general. Akiko Higashimura gives us a very personal and inspiring story about how she became a mangaka, and the struggles she went through throughout her artistic journey. One of my favorite aspects of this autobiography is how it feels like the author is personaly telling you her story. She jumps around from one time to another and will often go off topic to another part of her life. It feels like hearing a story from someone in real life. She opens up about her regrets in life, mostly about her art teacher who supported her and how she wished she had done things differently. I enjoyed seeing the references to other real manga artists and how the manga industry works. As an artist myself, it was a very motivational read and is one of the few manga to actually make me cry. In sensei's words, "just draw."

10/10 story
10/10 art
10/10 characters
10/10 overall
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