My fascination with manga (Japanese comics) first began when I set eyes upon a cute yellow creature named ‘Pikachu,’ who starred in the animated series Pokemon. Intrigued to find out more about the colourful style and bold character design, I soon discovered that the series was in fact Japanese and belonged to a genre known as Japanimation or anime.
I am delighted that the appeal of Japanese style characters is still very popular today, with young people keen to learn the techniques of creating manga style drawings.
Earlier this month I was invited to teach a 1 day manga workshop for a mixed class of year 7, 8 and 9’s at Longsands Academy in Cambridgeshire.
Beginning with a short introduction into the history of manga, the class quickly got stuck into sketching the basic facial features of Japanese style characters.
Feeling confident with the attempts at eyes, noses and mouths, the group progressed onto heads and faces. The students drew their characters from a front view, 45-degree angle and profile view, paying close attention to the differences between male and female characters.
After lunch the students worked in groups to come up with short anime stories, using the four part manga panel technique, Yonkoma. On completing the storyboards the groups worked quickly to animate their mini stop-motion films, staring their own manga characters. Plot lines ranged from Ronin (samurai manga) to Gakuen (high school theme.)
I had such a brilliant experience running the workshop and I was incredibly pleased to hear that many of the students had been inspired to continue drawing manga characters, using the tips and tricks they had leant during the lesson.
Feedback from the Longsands Academy students…
‘The workshop was fantastic, so much fun, preparing drawings and building up the techniques. It was original, interesting and there were lots of things to do.’
‘Helen is great at drawing and I would love to do it again. You learn to draw different faces and see how just one feature creates a certain facial expression. I never knew I could draw like that! Great experience.’
‘It was a brilliant experience for me because I learnt how to draw a style of Japanese art and make myself proud. I would definitely recommend it to people of all ages.’
For more information on Manga Workshops please visit the Helen Animate Workshops page.