I Kill Giants got somehow on my reading list -- I am very interested in exploring the manga/graphic novel genre. This short novel focuses on a youthfuI Kill Giants got somehow on my reading list -- I am very interested in exploring the manga/graphic novel genre. This short novel focuses on a youthful drama, a coming-of-age story of a bright young girl (age 10-11) stricken with grief and resorting to anger to express herself. Overall, a nice and memorable read. Try it out yourself!
I liked much about this graphic novel. The novel builds gradually to the revelation of the girl's desperate need to kill giants, its resolution, and its aftermath. The ending is at the same time sad and uplifting, and for sure memorable. The world is well built visually and verbally, bitter-sweet, and the reader gets to genuinely care about the protagonist. The girl is endearing, both when fighting bullies in anger, and when answering a friendship letter from a friendly classmate.
The one thing I did not like was the grayscale format of the graphics. I feel the tone of the novel, albeit gloomy, would have benefited from the use of color.
The 5th Anniversary edition also includes material explaining the development process, which I found interesting and of good quality. The visualization process is unusual, in that the graphics-oriented Niimura is able to capture very early the final version of the page. (This contrasts significantly with the typical draw-redraw-repeat process of so many professional cartoonists and manga creators, for example the process described by Art Spiegelman in Metamaus.)...more
I wanted for a long time to read Shigeru Mizuki's NonNonBa, so finding it in the Kinokuniya Tokyo store gave me great joy. I read it in the plane, andI wanted for a long time to read Shigeru Mizuki's NonNonBa, so finding it in the Kinokuniya Tokyo store gave me great joy. I read it in the plane, and, overall, find it to be a very pleasant experience. NonNonBa is a memoir, structured as a collection of loosely related stories told by the young Shigeru (Shige, Gege) about his childhood in a remote village. It is as much a coming-of-age story as a story about the myths of pre-WW2 Japan.
Central to the story, next to Shige, is his grandmother (or simply an old member of the extended family?), who is a firm believer in (servant of?) the many shinto gods. She is wise and caring, and privy to a world of spirit monsters (yokai) that live in waters, forests, stones, and even roads. Little Shige observes her carefully, and dreams about the unseen.
I enjoyed very much the portrayal of the life in the village, especially the depiction of the family life and of the games children play. I also liked how Mizuki depicts "acceptable" jobs and the pecking order in the family, and the changes that occur in the life of a small village in pre-war Japan (finding a job outside the village, graduating primary school, etc.)
I've been curious for a long while about how teddy bears and other plush toys are designed and built. How to Make Stuffed Animals was one of the few bI've been curious for a long while about how teddy bears and other plush toys are designed and built. How to Make Stuffed Animals was one of the few books about making soft toys (stuffed animals) on Kindle, so I picked it up.
Overall, I was happy with this book. It is short, unassuming, accessible book-wise and material-wise, well illustrated, and with eighteen small yet diverse projects. It taught me the basics of stuffed animal design. Perhaps also important, the techniques are not too challenging, so I think both children and adults should make the cut.
I enjoyed seeing how the animals are designed. The designs are small-scale and require little work, yet include interesting techniques for hiding knots and thread-ends. There are various simple techniques to represent various materials and textures. A few musings: - I was reminded of my own technique for designing 3D objects, when I was still a child and had no computer access at home. (My 3D objects were made out of polystyrene.) I had my side and top views, my combination of items through wire links, etc. - It was interesting to observe how this artist tries to push the boundaries of the cloth artistic medium, albeit the techniques presented here are far less developed, relatively speaking, than Hillberry's pencil-drawing techniques in Drawing Realistic Textures in Pencil Drawing Realistic Textures in Pencil. (Comparing apples with pears.)
Last, but not least, I also found interesting the introductory chapter, where the author explains materials and techniques (sewing, stuffing, hand stiches). Who knows, I may start handcrafting stuffed animals after all.