Spotlight On: Natsume Ono

So I just blogged about a not-so-popular manga artist, so here’s a more well-known one.

Natsume Ono was one of the huge artists that I love in the field of graphic novels and manga. I admire her art style the most, of all the artists in the manga world. It’s because her works is really different than others – it has a loose, relaxed characteristic that sets it apart from everything else I’ve read or seen. Mot of her drawings in fact seem to look like they’re contour drawings – messy and unplanned. Ironically, I’m the exact opposite when it comes to drawing as I like things precise and “clean”.

I first saw her style in the anime series, Ristorante Paradiso, a fairly popular anime and manga series. I think it portrays her style and interests fairly well. If you browse the link above to her website, you’ll immediately notice that she’s very interested in Italian culture. In fact Ristorante Paradiso, her debut series, took place in Rome.
Her characters may look strange when you look at her drawings, so it takes a while to get used to. I’d even say it requires a specific taste to like her drawings, and fortunately I have it.
Her works reminds me a lot of fashion illustrations, messy and stylized. Her characters have long fingers, legs, arms, and eyelashes. They look like porcelain doll figures, but more aesthetically pleasing. Her colors are also fairly simple and look as if they were just slapped on in the last minute. She uses mainly neutral color schemes, a color selection that I approve of. I also enjoy a lot of her Italian cultural references and personal touches. I can tell she’s very interested in their surrounds, architecture, and style.

If you haven’t gotten the chance to pick up her Ristorante Paradiso series from a bookstore, I suggest you try doing so. Her characters may still contain the large eyes that many other manga artists use, but they are also all very distinct in terms of physical features. I personally feel like she is one of the few artists that really have tried diverging away from the manga and anime “norm” in terms of drawing. If anyone were to ask me to choose one person that inspires me to draw manga, I’d more than likely put her on the top of my list.

This picture is reminiscent of her more recent works, House of Five Leaves.


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