Associate Professor Kohei Nishino
Character Design Course
Department of Manga, School of Manga
Kyoto Seika University has used CLIP STUDIO PAINT as a teaching material in its Department of Manga since 2014. Digital production has been part of the university's manga classes since its Story Manga Course began around 2000, but some of their previous software's features for drawing pictures and manga were difficult to use, so the university switched programs in order to fully digitize its manga production processes. They tried ComicStudio from 2009, then later switched to CLIP STUDIO PAINT. We asked Associate Professor Kohei Nishino about the background and effects of this decision.
While ComicStudio is also good software, we heard that it was no longer being developed. Our students' careers are just about to begin, so we wanted them to learn with a program that they could use in future. CLIP STUDIO PAINT released an update last December  with almost all of the same features as ComicStudio, so it was perfect timing. Kyoto Seika University's School of Manga made laptops a requirement from 2013 to create an environment where all students could familiarize themselves with digital production.
Well, it's the only software specifically for manga production, so it allows us to work very smoothly. There are graphics programs from other companies too, but CLIP STUDIO PAINT is the only one that is really designed for artists. For example, the function for creating selection areas allows you to leave a space for binding. That really shows that this software was designed with the artists in mind, and our students enjoy using it for this reason. We also like that the same software can be used by both our students who want to be illustrators and our students who want to be manga artists.
Students start with analog drawing in their first year so that they can start from the basics and learn the essence of drawing. They then start learning digital production from their second year. This means that after the harder work of analog, they have a greater appreciation for how convenient CLIP STUDIO PAINT is, and they work more efficiently as a result. We also teach functions unique to digital production in our classes.
At first, some points made me think that ComicStudio would be the software that fanzine artists would use, but CLIP STUDIO PAINT has surpassed ComicStudio with features like full color production. I think CLIP STUDIO PAINT will be the software that will drive Japan's manga culture. And for that reason, I'm expecting more updates in future, with features that professional users want.
When we first went digital, computers were just another drawing material. These days, people use computers to send their work to printing shops and even promote it on social media like Twitter and pixiv. These days, artists cannot get their work out there without digital technology. Even if they use analog drawing methods, they will use digital processes somewhere along the way. We want our future students to adopt more and more digital production methods, and as a university we aim to produce students who can work with digital technology. We want our students to experience various things in their university life, and find the path that is right for them.
Kyoto Seika University has a long history of teaching manga. They were the first university in the world to offer manga classes in 1973, and opened their School of Manga in 2006. The faculty includes many currently active manga artists and popular illustrators, and the School is the only university department in Japan where students can learn about manga and animation directly from professionals working in the field. It is highly renowned overseas, with many international students currently studying there.
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