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A&I Exhibition Report

Date: 2005 July 28th Thursday [5:52] | Posted By: Azure

Last weekend saw this years Artists and Illustrators exhibition. The A&I is a regular event, but this year was the first in which anime and manga style art was highlighted. There were stands from art retailers Copic and Letraset, as well as UK manga style art studio Sweatdrop.
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Artists from Sweatdrop ran a number of talks and tutorial sessions as well as demo-ing at the Copic stand. I attended the ‘creating the character 2’ talk which was presented by artists Vanessa Wells and Niki. The talk covered the basics of character design, and talked about how props costume etc conveys character. Particularly interesting was the use of artwork from the game Sudeki, which Niki did character, designs for. The Sweatdrop stand also looked extremely busy with visitors talking with various SD members as well as purchasing a number of Sweatdrop comics. Sweatdrop’s Dock was also there talking about his new How to Draw book ‘Digital Manga Techniques’ which is out on August 1st.

I purchased two comics Shrouded by Vanessa Wells and Phantom Armour by Marlon Teunissen. Shrouded looks to be great stuff and was hugely enjoyable with highly professional dark and moody art. Phantom Armour is an old-fashioned Sword and Sorcery tale, with some really great panelling.

Copic’s stand also looked extremely busy, until very recently Copic pens have been hard to obtain here and it looked like visitors were seizing the chance to buy them since they are famous for being used by various professional manga artists.

Letraset was set in a more crowded area but also seemed to draw a lot of attention. Letraset also sells a range of markers, which are slightly cheaper than Copics.

U.K Manga artist Blusheep was on hand demonstrating them, as well as Letraset’s range of screen tone. Clare Sears aka Aelf was at the Gadsby's stand, demonstrating using Derwent colouring pencils for manga style art, and gained a lot of attention for her bishounen, proving that their appeal lies far beyond the manga fan base.

The A&I isn’t a dedicated anime & manga art event, but it was certainly worth visiting. It was nice to be able to physically browse the specialist art materials, which are normally only mail order. It was also extremely interesting to see how other artists see manga art; many people seemed interested in the definition of manga especially when drawn by non-Japanese artists. The tutorials and talks also seemed a great entry point for new manga fans.

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