Honolulu’s manga community got an end-of-year frisson when manga artist Erica Sakurazawa came to the museum last month as part of public programming for the exhibition Modern Love: 2oth-Century Japanese Erotic Art.

First she gave a public talk on her seminal manga (or graphic novel) Love Vibes, about a young lesbian romance on Dec. 3. (Read the previous post on Sakurazawa.)

Here’s a video of Sakurazawa in the exhibition gallery, talking about her motivation for creating Love Vibes.



Then on Dec. 7, Sakurazawa gave a free master class at the Honolulu Museum of Art School. The 13 invited participants included experienced artists and college students. Sakurazawa started things off with a demonstration, drawing her take on a hula dancer. Students watched her raptly, as she spoke with the translation help of Yumiko Glover, the museum’s library assistant and an artist whose work is also included in Modern Love. Then they had the chance to show off their own skills.

Erica Sakurazawa starts the demo for her manga master class

Erica Sakurazawa starts the demo for her manga master class

Erica Sakurazawa offered advice on techniques and materials

Erica Sakurazawa offered advice on techniques and materials

University of Hawai‘i–West O‘ahu student Ginny Chang, the former president of the Manga Anime and Games Society (MAGS), has been drawing since middle school and has had no formal lessons. “It’s always interesting to see someone do it in person,” said Chang, who confessed that she doesn’t like drawing arms.

Manga master class participants Andy Lee and Mark Felizar, left, and Ginny Chang work on their own drawings.

Manga master class participants Andy Lee and Mark Felizar, left, and Ginny Chang work on their own drawings.

Mark Felizar, who started taking classes at the Art School in 2003 and now works at the school as a part-time assistant, showed his portfolio to Erica.

Andy Lee is a veteran cartoonist who used to work for Marvel Comics and now teaches cartooning at the Honolulu Museum of Art School and Kaiser High School—and has been a frequent guest artist at ARTafterDARK. Even with all his experience, he said it was instructive to get to know “the personality of someone who’s been in it that long. The pacing, understand the vibe of the person—she seems to be healthy and happy in what she is doing.”

Sakurazawa, who was accompanied by her publisher Row Yoshida and husband Takenori Aoki (an entertaining DJ-turned-house-husband), slowly made her way around the classroom, offering tips (heat your plugged-up nibs with a lighter, which she handily pulled out of her pocket) and critique.

“I can feel the love of manga from everybody,” Sakurazawa said when asked what she thought of the students. “I can tell everybody already has experience. There’s not much I can teach them.”

Artist Cade Roster, who has been into manga since seeing a Kikaida manga at artist Mary Mitsuda’s house as a kid, said, “It’s always neat to see techniques applied in different ways. And learning about the industry from her perspective is cool.” Roster marveled at Sakurazawa’s skill with a nibbed pen. “It looks simple, but it’s hard to do.”

At the end of the session, the students’ works were hung in the Art School hall. Here’s the gallery:

 

Video by Scott Whelden. Images by Scott Kubo.