I’m a highschool junior who’s starting to think about what to do for college. I want to go into an art major, but I made the wonderful mistake a few years back of choosing to focus on a manga/anime style. My style’s branched off a bit now and is a bit more original, but it’s still far form a traditional drawing style. My “dream” of sorts would be to make my own stories and such, but I’m starting to question if it’s really a good idea to go to college for something that I could start on my own. Are there any good (either sequential art or just illustration) colleges worth looking into that would take a manga/anime influenced style? Or should I just abandon the anime-ish style for now and try to develop a second, more traditional style while I’ve got the time?
What a lot of portfolio reviews want to look at is your life drawing skills - drawing people and still lives in realistic ways. What they’re trying to evaluate is your understanding of anatomy, shape/perspective, lighting, and textures. With COVID finding those opportunities are hard, but you can draw people and things in your own home, outside, and there’s a lot of figure drawing options online for free.
The problem with manga is because of the extremely tight deadlines for those working professionals, some aspects of “traditional” illustration are dropped for speed. And also it’s highly stylized. A lot of reviewers are NOT familiar with manga, so may assume that your original work and characters are fan art / copies of existing work - which is a huge red flag to them. So it’s better to not risk this misunderstanding.
Research schools you are interested in and they’ll usually have a clear list of what types of work and how many of each type they’d like to see you submit. Then use that as a guide to work on pieces this year to add to your work.
On the upside, this does NOT mean you can’t explore this style more once you get to college. Depending on the course and instructor, they may be more familiar with manga and anime artists, will observe you creating your own non-derivative work, and maybe even know alumni who are working in that field.