Symbols are like clues

This time I have an article to show you. I made this one myself and for that I am hoping that it may be useful to everyone!

What I am going to talk about are the meaning of symbols in manga. Symbols are presented to us everyday since the beginning of times. We used symbols to describe animals, fire, humans, etc. We even use symbols in our own writing system!

In comics and manga symbols are often used to give a certain perspective of reality but, understanding symbols deeper, you can actually see that symbols are used everywhere in a comic/manga story.

Per example:

  • The spiral that appears very often in Naruto is because “naruto” is a japanese food that has some kind of spiral inside. And the name of the character (Naruto) is based in the food, just like the name of Jiraya’s character in his book.

Sometimes, symbols aren’t just a way of showing something simplified. They are more then “logos” if you can understand what I mean. Symbols can also be represented by colors, shapes even style!

I mean, when you look at a character with rounded simple eyes and compare it to a character with more narrow kind of eyes, what do you see? In my opinion, I see a simple friendly character and a more grudge tough one. Lets make this explanation more simple shall we?

So, comparing this too characters with exactly the same style of drawing you can see they are different, right? Bet lets just focus on their eyes!

From the first character, from his eyes you can suppose he is maybe friendly but at the same time he is a serious thinking a lot type of person. And although very similar the other character, you can see (despite his expression) that he is less serious but also friendly, perhaps more friendly and opened mind than the other.

This is all due to the fact that one’s eyes is narrower or smaller than the other character’s.

So, as you see, symbols are not just logos representing concrete things, they can also be in places we never really thought about. Another example of a “symbol” in this same related character theme is the looks or style of the hair. Spiky sometimes represents a cool character, curly may represent emotionally unstable (or just beauty), etc… You have a lot of ways of representing these kinds of things.

Because that’s exactly what symbols do. They represent thing we know and in this case they can represent feelings. For definition “A symbol is something such as an object, picture, written word, sound, or particular mark that represents something else by association, resemblance, or convention.

In comics or manga stories, symbols are everywhere! Just like in reality. They are part of our lives and experiences. If you are drawing a manga, don’t forget to use symbols because they are a good way of creating a perspective of reality in the story!

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