I think I've written here in the past that my artistic talents hover around those of either Anpan and Nemu or that guy who draws xkcd. But I hang around with cool artistic people with far more talent than I enough to know that (a) Wacom tablets are quite desired among digital artist types and (b) artists can work wonders with Smith Micro's Manga Studio software. (Just look at a bunch of Audra Furuichi's recent sketches on the nemu*nemu blog for proof of that.)
Version 5 recently hit store shelves, so to celebrate, Smith Micro's giving away a Wacom Cintiq tablet and 25 prints signed by Ethan Nicolle, the artist who's brought his young brother Malachai's wild imagination to life through the webcomic Axe Cop. For a chance to win one of these little lovelies (or even the big lovely), all you need to have is a working knowledge of your name, email address and which computing platform you use more often, Mac or PC. Oh, and you have to be 21 or older. (Yes, this is a bit of a roundabout way to get you to sign up for their product mailing list. Feel free to unsubscribe sometime down the line ... but be polite and stick around to hear some of what they have to say first, at least.)
You have until Feb. 28 to enter for your chance to win; visit manga.smithmicro.com/ms5contest/
As promised last week, here's your freshly beefed-up edition of what's going on with the local anime/manga community over the next few weeks, with a number of new events of note -- a few art workshops and an Alice in Wonderland visual kei party are among the highlights.
"Anime Rocks!": The second edition of Kawaii Kon's pre-con musical extravaganza spotlights two-time con guests Alt/Air and young rockers Emke at the Hard Rock Cafe in Waikiki, 280 Beachwalk. Also features the debut of the Kawaii Kon 2013 limited edition pin; 15% off food and drink; discounts on convention preregistration; games; and prizes. Read more about it here. 2 to 5 p.m. Sunday.
Comic Jam Hawaii: This group of collaborative cartoon artists meets every first and third Sunday of the month in front of Hot Unique Imaging on the Uptown side of Pearlridge Center. Visit www.facebook.com/groups/147779161986428 (Facebook login required). Next meeting: 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday.
"Create a Comic Book": Learn how to compose your own eight-page comic book and get storytelling tips from Michael Cannon of Comic Jam Hawaii at Aiea Library (99-143 Moanalua Road). Art supplies (paper! pencils! crayons!) will be provided, but feel free to bring your own as well if you prefer. (Heck, bring a laptop with a Wacom tablet and Manga Studio 5 if you reeeeally want to show off.) Recommended for ages 8 and up; call 483-7333 for a sign language interpreter or other special accommodations. 2 to 4:30 p.m. Feb. 23.
Kawaii Kon's Karaoke Kompetition preliminary round: Show off your vocal chops for a chance to be one of nine participants in Kawaii Kon's annual karaoke contest, with a chance to win … well … something. Don't forget to read the rules and submit your paperwork. Presented by the University of Hawaii Anime & Manga Society. 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Feb. 24.
MangaBento: This group of anime- and manga-inspired artists usually meets every second and fourth Sunday of the month at the Honolulu Museum of Art School (1111 Victoria St., room 200). Visit www.manga-bento.com. Next meeting: 1 to 4 p.m. Feb. 24.
Madoka Magica double feature: Watch the magical girl saga unfold in one big four-hour, two-film chunk comprising Beginnings and Eternal, Doris Duke Theatre at the Honolulu Museum of Art. Tickets are $20 general admission, $18 museum members. Visit www.honolulumuseum.org/events/films/13340-puella_magi_madoka_magica_parts_1_2. 4 p.m. Feb. 27 and 28.
Honolulu Festival: The 19th annual edition of this festival celebrating the cultures of Asia and the Pacific rim promises to feature all the elements that have made it so much fun for local anime/manga fans in the past: Kawaii Kon's anime corner, MangaBento's photo booth and games for the kids at the Hawai'i Convention Center; the parade down Kalakaua Avenue late Sunday afternoon; and to top it all off, the Nagaoka Fireworks show from Niigata, Japan, on Sunday night. And don't forget about the cultural displays -- the mikoshi are always impressive -- and entertainment at the convention center, DFS Galleria and Waikiki Beachwalk, too! Visit www.honolulufestival.com. March 1-3.
"How to Draw Manga Faces": If you can't figure out what participants are going to be learning at this workshop at Treehouse (250 Ward Ave., suite 233) presented by MangaBento, you're really reading the wrong blog. Recommended for ages 8 and older; cost is $10, art materials included. Feel free to bring your own, too, if you prefer. (Heck, bring a lapto... wait, I already did that joke with the comic book workshop above. Never mind.) Details and a link to register are at treehouse-shop.com/how-to-draw-manga-faces-workshop. 10 to 11 a.m. March 9.
"Court of Hearts": Visual Kei Dark Castle has been around for just a few months, but this themed dance party presented by Nephilim Hall Productions has already made inroads in courting local fans of visual kei, J-rock and goth loli fashion. This upcoming event at The Loft Gallery & Lounge (115 N. Hotel St., #2) features an Alice in Wonderland theme, a lolita/kodona fashion show and contest, and special guests Yu x Me: Maid Cafe & Host Club. (I've already been told that "Mune Mune Kyun" will not be part of the proceedings.) $10 for ages 21 and up; $15 ages 18-20. Visit www.facebook.com/pages/Visual-kei-Dark-Castle/301847309932258?fref=ts (no Facebook login required). 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. March 9.