Children between the ages of 7 and 10 years old attended the free Manga Drawing class at the . Manga is the Japanese word for comics or cartoons. These classes are taught monthly (with time off during the summer) by Chiyoko Wong, 15, a junior at Drake High School.
Chiyoko has been drawing Manga characters for years and wanted to share her love of Manga drawing with kids at the local library. She enjoys doing community service and told me, “I like working with kids, I think it’s fun … and it's not that hard because generally they just do their own thing … Teaching really helps you get a better understanding of what you’re doing … so I like that aspect … And art is something fun because there is no right or wrong answer and you can be supportive…”
This was 8-year-old Sammi’s third Manga drawing class with Chiyoko. She enjoys drawing and asked lots of questions. She had practiced drawing Manga style faces at home since her last two drawing sessions and wanted instruction on drawing bodies.
Sisters, Micherice, 10, and Mericel, 7, came to the class for the first time. Micherice told me, “The librarian showed my mom a flyer… I saw the picture and then I was interested.” They both love to draw. Mericel likes drawing gardens and Micherice likes drawing animals. They were expanding their drawing experience at this class and learning to draw people in the Manga style.
Chiyoko brought a laptop computer with the PaintTool SAI program for digital drawing to instruct the kids. The kids were focused on the screen and Chiyoko’s detailed and helpful instructions. They sat on the carpeted steps in the library children’s room with paper, pencil and erasers. Chiyoko’s supportive and gentle style inspired the children to draw faces, hair, bodies, and clothing.
They were all very interested in her digital drawing. Sammi asked, “What’s the best program for drawing? How much does it cost? Can we try drawing on it?” At the end of class each child was able to try the digital drawing program. They loved using the stylist as a paintbrush on the drawing tablet and watching it translate onto the computer screen.
When I asked them what they thought of the class, Micherice said, “I thought it was pretty cool,” and Mericel added, “I thought it was really fun and interesting… I learned a lot.” They enjoyed posing for a picture with their drawings.
Chiyoko shared, “I wish I would have started sooner … had gotten specific instruction sooner... There’s less art classes in schools… Sometimes there’s not a lot of stuff that kids get to do on a higher level… Some people would argue that it is too advanced for them, but I think it’s fun to start younger and to have proper instruction…”
These drawing classes are inspiring a whole new generation of Manga artists, all because Chiyoko is sharing what she loves.
Until next Wednesday, remember, it’s all “for the love of kids…”
In joy, Marilyn
To learn more about Chiyoko’s Manga drawing classes and other fun activities at our local libraries, please visit the events and programs page. The next Manga drawing class is on February 11th from 2-3 pm.