"This Is Manga — The Art of Naoki Urasawa" is a major retrospective exhibition surveying the career of manga superstar Naoki Urasawa. With some 400 original drawings and storyboards of selected stories from seven of his most popular works, the exhibition also features a series of public workshops on manga-inspired character design and story development. And while the show is on view through March 28 at Japan House in Hollywood, Urasawa is delivering new Yawara! stories every other week, in a nod to the serial structure of manga universes.
Selling more than 127 million copies in Japan alone, Urasawa’s work has been published in more than 20 countries, charming and obsessing global audiences not only for his irresistibly unique drawing style but also for the rather metaphysical tone of his stories. He is known for infusing his narratives and imagery with cultural context, social issues and personal history set against geopolitical epics.
The selected stories from seven of his major works highlight the breadth of the artist’s narrative styles, including: Yawara!, Monster, 20th Century Boys, Pluto, Billy Bat, Master Keaton ReMaster and Mujirushi (The Sign of Dreams). A comfy reading room is stocked with a complete catalog of the titles’ published English translations, for all the deep-divers out there.
Additionally, Los Angeles-based illustrator and animator MinoMiyabi leads a series of all-ages drawing Saturday workshops throughout the exhibition, materials included.
Character Drawing for Kids (Feb. 2 and March 2, 11 a.m.-noon, Level 5 Salon, $5)
Elements of Character Designs for Manga and Comics (Feb. 2 and March 2, 2-3 p.m., $10)
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Compositions and Panel Layouts: “Koma-Wari” for Manga and Comics (Feb. 9, noon-1 p.m., Salon Level 5, $10)
“Chara-Cature!” Your Caricature as a Manga Character (Feb. 9, Level 5 Salon, 3-5 p.m., $15)
"This Is Manga" is on view through March 28 at Japan House Los Angeles, Hollywood & Highland, Level 2 Gallery; Mon.-Sat., 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sun., 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; free.