Firstly, tell us about you. What do you do and when did you start?
I’m Irina Richards, and I’m a manga artist and educator. I’ve been a professional artist/illustrator since about 2009, but I’ve been drawing for as long I could hold a pencil. I got into manga when I was about 12 years old, because I really liked watching anime, reading comics and drawing – and that’s when I realised I wanted to be a manga artist.
What’s the best bit about being an arts practitioner?
The best bit is definitely meeting people who are as passionate about manga as I am, sharing skills, and seeing fantastic new talent emerge. It is very inspiring.
Tell us about an arts project that you enjoyed working on.
I have recently completed a manga workshop project in Dunstable Library. The project ran for 10 weeks and aimed to introduce local teenagers to aspects of Japanese popular culture – manga, anime, cospay etc. It was a fun-filled ten weeks – activities included everything from drawing book characters in manga style to making a zine, and from sewing kawaii hats to decorating biscuits with cute faces!
Do you have any advice for young people interested in becoming an arts practitioner?
Do more of what you love! Don’t be afraid to seek out and take part in opportunities, however small. Showcase your art – you’ll be surprised by how many people will like it. Most importantly, believe in yourself.
Do you have a website, social media links, when is your next workshop is, anything else you’d like to promote?
For my upcoming events, head to www.irinarichards.com. I am also on Instagram as @irinarichardsart. I have quite a few events coming up – including a 4-week Manga Summer School at Newmarket Library, so please come along if you can!