Review of my cherished collection of inspiring manga art books: SLAM DUNK, NARUTO, DRAGON BALL

As an artist who likes to draw manga style characters, I enjoyed growing reading the classic titles like DragonBall and Slam Dunk, I love the high detail and quality of art in it and admire all the characters of the stories.

It’s no surprise then that I would naturally look up to the mangakas of each of my favorite mangas in respect and admiration, as someone to aspire to, to be able to create worthwhile, inspiring, beautiful works of art and illustrations too. I want to express my uniqueness, to communicate what I feel about subjects and how I view the world through my artwork, my special worlds and interesting characters that I draw shall be one of my life’s passions.

Excuse me, do you like basketball?

This year I’ve collected more art books of manga illustrations by my favorite authors. A book that I’ve been wanting to get for a very long time is the Slam Dunk Illustrations book by Inoue Takehiko. His character designs are very diverse and detailed and art style of drawing people is very realistic like real life.

One of many great illustrations featured in the book

This amazing group shot of key players in the manga is included in the book and blown up across a two page spread!

Each athlete character from Sakuragi to Sendoh looks very cool and defined, I like how he draws hands and body shapes and muscles, they’re very accurate and eloquently put, no lines are wasted from the line work to the line shading techniques which I love, and I like to draw like this in my own drawings. His characters look very much like NBA athletes, from the body builds to the look and feel of the jerseys looks spot on!

So happy I have a copy of this book brand new. Why is it easy to find and buy from CDJapan? Because this book is still in print after being first published in 1997 and it’s into its 23rd edition now!

Take a look at the beautiful cover of the book for instance, absolutely awe inspiring to look at the character design of Hanamichi Sakuragi-kun, his hair, shapes of his body and muscles, use of colour, is just beautiful to look at, I learn something just by studying Takehiko’s work.

His coloured illustrations are completed in watercolours and this cover its printed on I think is watercolour paper as well. The pages inside smells good, (If it’s weird I’d mention that, no, I’m the type that likes the smell of printed works and manga paper) The binding quality of the pages and hardback paper cover is top notch, by the finishing and smell of the paper you can tell its made and printed in Japan.

Looking at the cover once more the look of a topless basketball player sitting on a basketball reminds me of an urban, streetball feel. And Sakuragi could be posing for a Nike commercial looking like this! The basketball shoes he wears is the famous Air Jordan I brand by Nike, which I’m proud to say I’ve got a pair too, and which at the time I brought it to be like Sakuragi rather than because endorsed by Legend Michael Jordan.

You can buy a copy of this treasurable art book yourself from CDJapan, Just follow the link below.

I have to let you know that I’m on their affiliate program so if you buy this from them by following my link I’ll get a 5% commission by way of frequent shopper points. Shopper points benefit you the member shopper because you earn points for every order you make that can be used to knock-off prices on your next order;  and if your order goes over a certain threshold in price you get a added bonus of points for it when your items get shipped.

Whirlpool of charkra and Jutsu action! Rasengan!!

last Christmas in Hong Kong I purchased Mr. Masashi Kishimoto’s Illustration book which was Uzumaki: The Art of Naruto; (original japanese version) it was worth every dollar to have this book, to look at all the great colour illustrations of Naruto and the gang, Sasuke, Orochimaru and his henchmen. His illustrations are all coloured in using copic markers, these alchohol based inks gives alot of bright colours with good range of hues so the finished character illustrations and scenes are gorgeous to look at! This book is definitely a treat and a source of inspiration for me, to be appreciative of a great artist’s work It’ll make me want to create more too and in the end I’ll be able to improve and draw better.

In the book there are fun and humourous illustrations aswell that depict the characters relationships to one another, for instance the teacher and pupil relationships between Jiraiya and Naruto, Might Guy and Rock Lee, very important in a manga with so many characters with complex and interesting storys backgrounds to explore and connecting bonds to each other.

Naruto looks at the giant ninja turtle summon of Guy in amusement and copies him because he found him strange when he first met him.

It’s these powerful action illustrations drawn at an angle and at interesting perspectives that I’m striving to improve in and be more skilled at drawing.

great illustration of Sasuke’s Chidori jutsu on the back cover of the book! Look at how intricate and fine the lighting is, it’s magnificent!!

I recommend Uzumaki: Naruto Illustrations by Masashi Kishimoto to all fans of Naruto manga artbook collectors and appreciaters of manga art alike, you can still buy it in japanese from online shopping site CDJapan with link below.

NARUTO Masashi Kishimoto Gashu (Art Book) UZU / Masashi Kishimoto
Masashi Kishimoto

Please note that If you follow a product link above to CDJapan and order something from them, I’ll get a small commission for what you buy from them.

Tackle life with as much energy as Goku, I’ll try and do the same!

Goku is still my all time favorite super hero

Easier said than done I’m afraid, but you can only try and do your best! No matter how hard you compete with others, to be greater than, not to lose and not giving up, the biggest obstacle is yourself; that’s why Goku trains and fights and work so hard is test himself and improve. I want to be like Goku and use my energy and focus on doing what I love and want to achieve with my gifts!

Goku of Dragon Ball is the first manga I was influenced by as a child to draw action pictures, he’s my early role model and DB remains my most favorite manga today and in my drawing  style you can still find traces of influence from DB.

Front cover artwork of Dragon Ball 大全集 The Complete Illustrations; epic or what! Cover is a sleeve book is binded hardback.

I tried to rekindle a bit of my childhood and re-ignite and spark of creative inspiration by getting Dragon Ball The Complete Illustrations; this artbook is probably the most complete collection of manga illustrations in colour drawn by Akira Toriyama himself.

It comprises of illustrations used in covers for manga chapters, shonen jump magazine covers, artwork done for video game magazines, calendar, tankoban volume covers, all chronogically in years which completed them.  There are colour pages of specific manga chapters, but alot of them are sized down here to fit presented pages, I wished they were blown up bigger like the tankoban cover illustrations.

I longed to have the covers of manga chapters he did in colour for the weekly shonen jump and now I can see them all in this book printed in high quality, and blown up to big image size.  I noticed how his coloured artwork has alot of varied colour and it’s all very colourful, Toriyama uses colouring inks to colour in his work, he says so at the end of the book which has an interview with him to talk about his work! The book is like visiting a gallery of the artist’s work, then after you’re done marvelling you get to interview him and ask questions! It’s great!!

Lots of character illustrations and cover illustrations, I remember the kamehameha picture was the cover of Ex-am magazine, that used to be Hong Kong’s equvilent of weekly Shonen Jump

The illustration of the three legendary Super Saiyans: Vegeta, Goku, and Trunks, see how vibrant the colours Toriyama san picks, water colouring inks give such good finish, maybe I can try it too

Left illustration of Goku beating up the monster is for a video game magazine in Japan, no wonder I’ve never seen it except on the internet. On the left is Gohan and Videl joy riding together for a calendar, but I know it as a bit in the anime theme sequence.

You can buy this fantastic collectors item of a classic manga illustrations art book in english from and it’s definitely worth the investment if you love manga art and a fan of Dragon Ball and like to collect good quality art books.

I hope you’ve found what I’ve wrote here today helpful. If you’re a fan of the authors and their mangas I’ve mentioned here I hope my little reviews and comments have done these great books justice and have helped you to decide to buy them yourself. Write me comments below if you have further questions and I’ll do my best to answer them. You got these books too or you agree or disagree with anything I’ve wrote here and feel I’ve missed something out then please contact me too, I do love to talk about Dragon Ball, Naruto, and Slam Dunk with others!

Until next post I decide to write about things I own and like, see ya and good bye!


About Way of the Artchemist

Love of manga/anime, telling of stories in film and tv around sci-fi and fantasy, has influenced me to draw in the way that I do and, it's these interests that led me to the alternative media and made me question the nature of reality; exploring the ideas around consciousness, and the philosophies of life.
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