Drawn to Mayhem

July 20th, 2010
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When I first got word that MangaBento was hosting Manga Mayhem, a day featuring fun with manga-inspired art, several friends of Cel Shaded/Otaku Ohana and free admission to the Contemporary Museum, I knew that I had to go and bask in the atmosphere for a few hours.

Sure, I had to start my regular work shift at 2 p.m., but seeing people get excited about drawing is always fun. Plus, as I mentioned in Cel Shaded, the last time I visited the museum was for an extra-credit assignment for an art class back in the mid-’90s, so I was long overdue for a return visit. And so, last Thursday, I did just that. If you missed it, here’s a look at some of what happened through the eyes (and camera) of your friendly neighborhood otaku columnist.

So welcome to the Contemporary Museum, tucked away on a winding road in the heart of Makiki Heights, home base for the day’s festivities. If you haven’t visited there before and you live on Oahu, you ought to visit there at least once. If you’re visiting from out of state, try to tear yourself away from the beach for just one day and go visit — besides, the sun and salt water can wreak havoc on your skin, and you’ll be cleaning sand out from your stuff for days. Go for the art, stay for the atmosphere … I understand it’s a favorite location for the occasional gothic lolita tea party.

What this means is that you have something like this reflecting pool just a short walk away …

… from this garden. Like I said, gorgeous.

Doing the hosting honors for the day was MangaBento, the group of local anime/manga-inspired artists that meets every second and fourth Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Academy Art Center, 1111 Victoria St., room 200 … sorry, I’ve inserted that item so many times into Cel Shaded over the years, I get stuck on auto-pilot and just start rattling off that information every now and then. One table was set up with artwork — a sample of which you can see in the introductory image on this post — and this display board. Which toppled over. A lot. Suffice it to say, it was a nice day, but man, that breeze.

Several guest pro artists joined MangaBento in the day’s festivities. MidWeek cartoonist Roy Chang was there, busy giving art portfolio critiques and tips to aspiring artists. And there were a lot of aspiring artists … I arrived around 10:15 a.m., a little while after the museum opened, and decided I’d slip in to chat with him whenever there was a lull.

That didn’t happen until a good two hours later.

Star-Advertiser cartoonist, illustrator and Gordon Rider creator Jon J. Murakami was also there, drawing sketches and the occasional platypus. Jon’s half-hour talk offered advice that had me thinking of the local greeting, “Eh, howzit, brah.” More specifically, his four tips made up the acronym “BRAH”: Be original, research your settings, accept criticism and have fun.

Oh, and he also draws some other famous cartoon creations as well. These were some of his favorites growing up.

Last but certainly not least was Audra Furuichi, co-creator and artist of the popular Web comic nemu*nemu, who offered a half-hour behind-the-scenes peek at how she digitally draws her comic. She’s also the first person I’ve ever seen doing a presentation entirely via Apple iPad. I want an iPad now! Well, okay, so I’d probably ignore its potential for presentations in favor of playing the heck out of Espgaluda II on the thing, but still. Bullet-hell 2-D scrolling shooters … mmmmmmm … ummm, back to Manga Mayhem, yes.

Audra also showed the audience a sneak preview of August’s East Oahu Sun strip, a frame of which is shown above. Now be sure to visit nemu-nemu.com sometime next month when they post the strip, and compare and contrast this line art with the finished product.

But lest we forget, the star of the day was drawing.

Lots …

… and lots …

… and lots of drawing, mostly in traditional media …

… but sometimes in digital media as well.

I was impressed to see so many people of all different ages just pick up whatever writing implements were on hand — pens, pencils, markers — and start doodling on scratch paper or coloring in pre-printed designs. There were also two “Art Champ” competitions, one for elementary school-age children, one for the older folk. Here, MangaBento’s Brady Evans explains the rules of the contest to the younger kids — draw a comic based on the theme of “summer.”

Of course, sometimes you didn’t even need separate pieces of paper. Sometimes you just take directly to drawing on the table. (Good thing there was paper covering those tables!)

There were also demonstrations of some neat tools for artists. Here we have the Zen Board, a board where you take a brush, dip it in water and paint calligraphy (or other designs, if you so choose) on it. Over time, the water evaporates and the designs disappear, leaving the board clean and ready for its next use.

There were also a bunch of Deleter Neopiko markers sitting on the MangaBento table, under which someone drew this chibi cutie. When I went into the office later, I looked up the website written under him. It was quite cute as well. Kudos to the artist.

MangaBento’s Devin Oishi demonstrated a few of the pens for me, too. Made me wish that I could draw more than simple stick figures. Then again, if some cartoonists can gain Internet notoriety from drawing stick figures …

Overall, it was a fun, fun day. I’d say there were at least 150 people who went, and one of the museum staffers I talked to said he was impressed with the turnout. (Update 7/20, 8:40 p.m.: MangaBento’s Twitter account places the count around 250+ by 2:30 p.m. Thursday. Even better!)┬áHere’s hoping for an encore sometime in the future … particularly since tag-team partner in fandom Wilma J. told me that the museum cafe’s worth a visit, and I completely forgot to go. Oh, well. Next time.

Want to see more? Audra posted a bunch of pictures and her own blog about the day on the nemu*nemu site, and Jeff Gaskell posted a gallery of pictures that Devin sent to him. (And please take particular note of the presence of a certain anime columnist in the front row of some of those pictures.)

2 Responses to “Drawn to Mayhem”

  1. Hawaii News - Staradvertiser.com:

    [...] “exhibition intern at UH’s Art Gallery” but we here in Otaku Ohana land know as one of the contributing members of MangaBento. He’ll be offering drawing tips to anyone 10 and [...]


  2. Hawaii News - Staradvertiser.com:

    [...] read this blog regularly, you’ve seen Brady. He’s the guy you saw helping out at MangaBento’s Manga Mayhem event last [...]


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