Wednesday, May 19, 2021 | Shawwal 6, 1442 H
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EDITOR IN CHIEF- ABDULLAH BIN SALIM AL SHUEILI

What it takes to be a Manga artist

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Most people do not want to be bored no matter how old they are! Children, in particular, always want to do something new and watch something fun. They, generally, indulge in different activities to have fun like playing, drawing, and even fighting with their siblings at home. Above all these activities, children love to watch television, especially cartoons. Sometimes, it becomes even difficult to move them from their seat while they are watching their favourite cartoon show.


Many children like watching cartoons for they are fun to see, so they could watch them all day. As Walt Disney said, “Animation offers a medium of storytelling and visual entertainment, which can bring pleasure and information to people of all ages everywhere in the world”.


Children’s love of cartoons is growing up; their passion is not just limited to what they watch, but they tend to narrate the incidents and stories to their friends and parents too. They also force their parents to accompany them when watching cartoons.


Children get emotionally and mentally connected to cartoons because it creates a world to which they can relate to. The extraordinary energy and powers of cartoon characters make them a favourite among children. Similarly, the victory of good over bad attracts them to a great extent! The special sound and animation effects and storyline fascinate children too. Children love funny things and cartoons provide them with all of that through different ways and shows.


As they have been obsessed since childhood, many young people get addicted to watching cartoons. Probably, as children get younger, they become more attracted and spellbound by cartoon characters and shows. If we refer back to the days of childhood, we could recall the old cartoons which children were fond of. Those days were full of passion, imagination and dreams as well as associated with fun that never ends! This could influence their interests and provoke their spirit and creativity.


Among those who got addicted to cartoons is Nouf bint Ahmed Al Zadjali, an Omani creative Manga artist. Manga is a diverse and popular art form in which artists tell stories through pictures and words. Manga is Japanese comic books or graphic novels, published commonly in newspapers and magazines. Originating in Japan, Manga now has fans across the world. Manga can tell any kind of story, for any age group of any gender. Both inside and outside Japan, Manga is enjoyed by women and men, and some of the greatest Manga artworks have been created by immensely talented women.


“There is something about Manga that speaks to me more than other arts. Possibly, my fascination with cartoon is the key link of communication to that. Although Manga is a very interesting art, it is very difficult and challenging. Storytelling is the hardest part of being a Manga artist, so an artist has to understand the flow of the story and what makes readers connect with a character.” Nouf Al Zadjali expressed.


Nouf was first inspired by cartoons dubbed into Germany, which she was overpoweringly watching since her childhood days. At the age of 15, Nouf could master speaking German. Her fascination with the cartoon was behind her learning the art of Manga. As a graphic design graduate from the Scientific College of Design, her study was too influenced by Manga. Likewise, Nouf helped to organise Oman’s first of its kind Manga exhibition in 2010 at the college.


The journey of drawing Manga started at the age of 10 and fruitfully continued through attending courses and partaking in various events, starting the first one in Japan in 2013. Nouf participated in different art exhibitions in Japan including Oman-Japan Student Forum as a cultural exchange event in 2015 and another solo art gallery, organised by Oman-Nara Friendship Association in Japan, in 2017. Moreover, Nouf participated in the Comic-Con 2017 Exhibition in Dubai.


As a token of appreciation to her creative talent, Nouf received several accolades, acknowledging her creativity in Manga. Receiving Omani Women Excellence Award (2014), named First Place and Second Place in Behance Oman (2014 & 2015) art competitions respectively are just to name a few of her awards. Nouf’s journey with Manga is so rewarding as out of the 20 years of practising this art, she was able to produce her first Manga storybook “Living Dreams”, which was published in 2017.


Out of her passion for Manga and art overall, Nouf is currently working on her own project to bring a one of a kind art studio-café to the Sultanate. The place will promote creativity and mark a perfect destination where one can relax, enjoy a cup of coffee while showing his talent at the same time.


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