Manoj Jayasinghe is a digital portrait artist on Instagram and TikTok, known for his drawings featuring portraits of a variety of online personalities and other known Sri Lankan individuals. He has recently garnered some attention on the interwebs for his specific style – a sort of stylised hybrid portrait between Japanese anime/Manga-styled drawings and Disney characters’ art style.
Speaking to Brunch, the artist shared that digital art, which at the moment is really just a part-time passion project for him, wasn’t always a passion of his. He said he recently developed a liking to it when he first got himself an iPad in late 2019. He self-taught himself to utilise the tools, and he developed an interest in certain artists from whom he borrowed certain attributes for his own drawings.
Manoj shared that he is still fresh to the medium, and so he has yet to develop his own signature style. “I think what I want is to develop my own style – something that is so unique to me that whenever someone looks at it, they are immediately able to relate it to me,” he said. In the meantime, he has developed a liking towards artists like RossDraws, from whom he has borrowed some stylistic choices.
Having done his early education in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and maths) field, Manoj is a great example of how sometimes you may choose to go down a certain path only because you feel it is the logical next best thing to do. It is a matter of ticking boxes, but you will only feel fulfilled if you follow through with your natural inclinations. He shared that he has always enjoyed art, but he chose to study in the field of sciences because the understanding was always that you cannot earn a living as an artist.
He then soon realised this is simply not where his heart is and eventually, going through his higher education in the field of tech, he figured out a happy medium for him where he started working as a user experience designer. Currently working towards advancing into illustrations and product design he hopes to be able to soon utilise more of his creative muscles even at his professional workplace.
Manoj also very interestingly shared with us that with his recent rise to prominence, which was primarily due to the art style he is pursuing at present, the stylised Disney/Manga hybrid artwork, while audiences are gradually getting to know this style, he himself is not concerned about changing his style up.
“It is what growth means to an artist; I want to improve and keep changing things up,” he said, sharing that he is not worried that developing a new style will not end up alienating his audience. He said that to begin with what he started posting was actually hyper-realistic drawings and right now, his art is far from realistic.
Finally Manoj shared that as an artist, he is happy to take things in his stride, and that he does not harbour any huge plans. All he really wants to do is develop his own unique style for which he has to keep drawing and he is more than ready to put in the work. Until then, audiences can enjoy watching his style evolve over time, and if they wish, they can commission some artwork if they develop a liking to his current style.