Everyone’s asking Akiko what she’s doing after graduation – but she doesn’t have a clue. She’s working part-time at a used bookstore while finishing school. It’s a pretty sweet gig – she gets to take home unsellable manga for free to read and study. While she still wants to become a manga artist, she still hasn’t drawn any manga, nor has she told anyone that’s what she wants to do. She ends up returning home to Miyazaki after graduating because Hidaka says he got her a teaching job. It ends up falling through, so he offers her a part-time job as his assistant instead. Her parents, eager for her to get on her feet, get her a job at her father’s company’s call center. Deeply unhappy and desperate, Akiko finally starts to draw manga and sends it to Bouquet magazine for a contest entry. She’s finally pursuing her dream, but how long until it gets out of the bag?
This volume was honestly pretty depressing. It reminded me of my days working two jobs, thinking I could also make art in my spare time. Though it does highlight the thing I appreciate the most about this manga: being an artist is hard. Finding the time to be an artist is hard. Akiko thankfully made it work for her, but not without her own unique struggles.
Something else to appreciate about this manga: she showed examples of other famous manga artists’ work by drawing a character in a few of their styles! Most I didn’t recognize, but it was a nice touch, especially considering her mention that she studied different manga and their styles during this period of her life.
Looking forward to the next volume!
Higashimura, Akiko. Blank Canvas: My So-Called Artist’s Journey (Vol. 3). 2019.