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Justin Zaho, 14, of Cheshire works intently on his Anime artwork at the Cheshire Public Library.| (Eve Britton/Record-Journal)

Cheshire students learn to draw anime


CHESHIRE — Justin Zaho’s held his face inches away from the tracing paper as he worked intensely to draw a stick figure version of an anime character from a book Wednesday evening.

I’m just trying to draw it right,” Zaho, 14, whispered. “I like to draw anime. It’s a very fun kind of animation.”

The scratch of pencils on paper, the squeak, squeak, squeak of tables as erasers clean up mistakes and the steady hum of air circulating are the only sounds in the room of the Cheshire Public Library as a half dozen Cheshire youngsters learned how to draw anime.

Anime, the art of Japanese cartoon drawing, is different from Western cartoons, said teacher Sean Speliades, of Waterbury, who also teaches at ArtsPlace in Cheshire.

“Western art is more flowing. In Japan it’s more pointed, angular, exaggerated even,” he said.

Another difference in anime and Western cartoons is the heroes and heroines.

“They have younger super heroes, not like American ones,” Speliades said. “They wear school uniforms and things like that. They’re more relate-able to young readers.”

The kids in class Wednesday night, said they wanted to learn to draw anime because it was different, even if they didn’t all watch the cartoons or read the comics.

“I just wanted to try something new in drawing,” said Liam Kovitz, 11, while adding more detail to his character. “I don’t watch it that often. Sometimes I’ll see a You Tube video or watch it on TV.”

Audrey Zhu, 12, liked the challenge of learning a new type of artwork.

“I tried drawing anime by myself. I just like the artwork in them,” she said, erasing her lines for the head. “I like watching it, but it feels harder to draw.”

Students started out learning proportion with stick-like figures, only with a more defined body.

Kimoy Campbell, 10, said she likes drawing a lot and wanted to learn how to draw some of her favorite characters.

“I like the Pokemon characters,” she said while looking through the anime comic for a character to draw.

She finds a picture of a girl standing tall in the picture.

“I think I can draw that,” she said, smiling.

Graeme Taylor, 11, who brought his own drawing book, had taken another class from Speliades and liked it, so he signed up for this one.

“I draw mostly people in any style I want,” he said.

Taylor cocked his head to the side as he studied his anime book character, with it’s angular features.

“I think I could probably draw this if I took enough time,” he said, confidently. “Yeah, I could draw that.”

ebritton@record-journal.com (203) 317-2208 Twitter: @EveBritton



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