Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Junko Mizuno Foyles talk and exhibition.

Junko Mizuno is a psychedelic manga artist who I have loved and been inspired by for years. I was so excited to hear that she was going to be in conversation with Jason Atomic at the new Foyles shop on Charing Cross Road and I had to be there.

Jason Atomic on the left and Junko Mizuno on the right.

Junko blends sweet and cuteness with the grotesque and creepy to create dark re-tellings of fairy tales, her style is called Gothic Kawaii (kawaii means cute in Japan). Mizuno produces comics, paintings, prints, posters and toys, so creatively busy!

Junko spoke about how she has always loved drawing food and girls, both are re-occurring images in her work. Junko was born in Japan and influenced by 1970s Japanese cute culture, she told us that when she was very little she wanted to be a comics artist and loved Hello Kitty and Sanrio characters. Junko believed that she could stop attending school if she became a professional comics artist and sent her first comics to a publisher when she was just 10. 

Junko believed she wasn't talented at comics so became an illustrator. She explored artists like Beardsley and made images not stories. From these images she then made comics again and said that at some point the character begins to take on it's own personality. Mizuno states that her art is not creepy and it is not dark its just imagery that comes out of her mind. She said that we all have skulls, they are natural and beautiful.

Junko began to explain her tecnique, "I start with daydreaming or I drink a little. I like walking around, it makes my brain work well, then I sketch and doodle. When I get an image I write the text that is just for me. Then I can storyboard. Sometimes I will ink my drawing and sometimes I will colour digitally."

Junko was more successful in the west and decided to move to San Francisco where she currently resides. She creates a lot of screen prints for band posters in her psychedelic style. Junko said that she is lucky that all the bands that want to work with her are really great bands.

Junko spoke about how she is not religious but does like religious art, particularly Buddhism and Indian Gods, she visited Italian churches to see the over decorated alters.

Junko drawing live on stage.

Junko was asked why her male characters are drawn so small. She replied that she likes drawing the women the most, little girls will usually draw girls and Junko said she hasn't changed out of this habit. Mizuno went on to say that "... in Japan, girls are supposed to be demure and cute" she was feisty and frustrated. "Women are big and strong [in my comics] and the men are always small, this is my personal dreamworld."

I got to meet Junko afterward the talk!

A few days later I went to the exhibition that is on in Atomica Gallery in Covent Garden, I even took along Francesca Cassavetti for a fun day out!


Saturday, 18 October 2014

Big Draw at Rugby Art Gallery and Museum

I was invited to Rugby Art Gallery and Museum  last Saturday to hold a one day Manga drawing workshop with a twist!

The flyer of events for the day.

Currently on exhibition at the museum is a wonderful display of furoshiki (pronounced 'for-ush-ki'), these are square cloths used for carrying your shopping in or for wrapping gifts. They can be ornately designed and embroidered with patterns that hold a significant meaning. The Museum invited me to lead a workshop drawing manga style characters onto a huge piece of wrapping cloth! How exciting!!

This was the table for teenagers and adults to draw on.

Throughout the day I demonstrated how to draw a Chibi character on an A board whilst the public joined in. I even showed the Mayor of Rugby and his wife how to draw a simple manga face onto the wrapping cloth.

This was my set up for the day

Multi tasking by selling comics at the same time!

Some lovely drawing examples from the day.

Practising before drawing on the fabric!

Such talented teenagers in Rugby!

There was even a table for the younger children to express themselves.

I loved how some of the younger children took to the cloth with wild abandon and confidently drew, whilst others were afraid of being told off for drawing on the cloth. I hope I haven't encouraged any bad habits and that they aren't drawing on the curtains at home!

I had such a fun day, thank you to everyone who came along and joined in the workshop. Special thanks to the staff at Rugby Art Gallery and Museum, and particularly Jessica Hartshorn.


Monday, 13 October 2014

Bang Crash Whizz

Friday October the 3rd 2014 was the incredible Tempo Lush launch night at Gosh comics in Soho.

This was the beautifully designed poster to get the public in. Richy K Chandler had four, yes FOUR new comic titles coming out in one joyous fun filled night. To celebrate, Richy held an interview with the esteemed pod-caster Alex Fitch to discuss each of the titles and a to give a brief overview of his process. 

Richy has written comic adaptations of Wallace and Gromit and Adventure Time amongst many other fantastic comic titles. Check out his website for more exciting adventures. 

Here is a picture of most of the creators involved in Richy's comics!
Launching that night were Rosie and Jacinda  which he first created with Zarina Liew who was the artist in volume 1. For the following volume Richy got several artists on board to help him, they are Chie Kutsuwada, Inko, Jade Sarson and Francesca Dare. 

Richy also had his Tempo Lush Tales anthology launching that night with a host of amazing and talented creators which included Matt Boyer, Francesca Cassavetti, Martin Eden, Tim Hassan, Steve Horry, Inko, Chie Kutsuwada, Mike Medaglia, Aaron Murphy, Van Nim, Karen Rubins, Paul Shinn, Keara Stewart and Steven Walsh phew lots of creators!

The webcomic Lucy the Octopus which was written AND drawn by Richy was also launching in print volume. How talented is this man!? 

Finally was the release of Bang Crash Whizz written by Richy and drawn by myself. This was a long and enjoyable project for me and I'm very sad that it has finished as it was so much fun to work on. The comic is aimed at pre school children but we think a lot of the adults on launch night enjoyed it too. 

Here is the cover. Photo by Mauricio De Souza

To introduce this story to the world, Richy decided to write a song to go with it and the both of us being musicians, we performed a musical version on the launch night!

photo M De Souza

So here we are in Gosh Comics performing Bang Crash Whizz with the help of Richard Carter who was in control of the slides behind us!

photo credits Mauricio De Souza

Our admiring fans giving us a round of applause. 

photos Mauricio De Souza

To continue the musical theme of the night we played a second song written by Richy, this time we were joined by a professional musician Steve Horry  who as well as being the guitarist in Menswear is a comics creator too! This time the illustrations were provided by Mike Medaglia who was unable to join us on the night and was missed sorely. 

photo by Inko Ai Takita

A big thank you to everyone who came down and really made the night so much fun, thanks to everyone at Gosh for such wonderful hosting. In case you missed it and would like to see the songs performed here are two videos filmed by Paul Stapleton for your viewing pleasure! 

Bang Crash Whizz

Save Nighttime for my Dreams