From ‘Sailor Moon’ To ‘Tokyo Mew Mew’: Anna Naiyapatana ’17 Draws Inspiration from Anime

Using definitive pencil strokes and practiced precision, Anna Naiyapatana ’17 urgently began sketching out a storyboard for her manga, a style of Japanese comic books, at a cartooning camp in her home country of Thailand. With the manga due in less than a day, Naiyapatana recounted to The Phillipian that she and her team of four other aspiring cartoonists created a seven-page love story manga about an American exchange student at a school in Thailand.

“The cartoon camp taught me that there is so much work to be put in creating a short comic piece. You have to start from storyboarding, drafting, outlining, and then shading. Funny enough, it also taught me that miracles can happen in a night, if you pull an all-nighter. I applied my experience to the process of drawing the short mangas I draw after the camp. What I got out of [the camp] were new friends who shared a passion for comic writing. These amazing comic artists [and I] are still in contact, and sometimes we collaborate in art projects together,” said Naiyapatana.

Initially inspired by her first “How to Draw Manga” book, Naiyapatana has been drawing anime-style artwork since the third grade. She takes most of her inspiration from her favorite mangas and animes and is particularly influenced by manga artist Ume Aoki, who created the anime “Puella Magi Madoka Magica.” Aoki’s style is commonly known as “Lolita,” a style that Naiyapatana is influenced by in her art.

“[Aoki is] the main drawer [for the anime] and her art is a lot of girls. They fight monsters, and they’re really strong, and I like her clothing designs. What I most enjoy about drawing is designing clothes or adding colors and certain other elements. Another influence I have is the Lolita culture. It’s the frilly, Victorian, really, really girly clothing, but I try to incorporate it into a more modern Lolita [style],” said Naiyapatana.

Naiyapatana also tries to incorporate staple pastel colors from magical girl animes, a subgenre of Japanese fantasy anime and manga like “Sailor Moon” and “Tokyo Mew Mew,” into her art.

“I really like girly, frilly, magical colors. My art tends to have a lot of pink and blue in it and those in-between like violet and purple and then complementary colors like yellow and magenta, and the tones tend to fall in those pastel-y stuff which is derived from animes where I see pastel hues,” said Naiyapatana.

One of her favorite pieces she has drawn features a reddish-haired woman who stands over a white background in a white blouse and pink skirt. In the drawing, she holds a balloon in her right hand and a flower bouquet in her left. In the bottom-left corner, the word “farewell” is written in cursive. This watercolor, according to Naiyapatana, is a “self-fantasy” portrait about graduating high school.

“I [had] just graduated from my previous high school two days [before], and I was really impressed by the flower crown that my [friend] bought for me. She was like, ‘You need to be pretty on graduation.’ So I was like, ‘I’m gonna draw flowers and balloons,’ because I like flowers and balloons. That’s pretty much my whole inspiration. I draw for aesthetic purposes,” said Naiyapatana.

Over the years, Naiyapatana has been able to develop her own drawing style and signature through ample experience and experimentation.

“Art is like a journey. You have a style at a particular time, and then you develop from that. I am still in that process but compared to when I was in middle school when my style was a doppelganger of [other animes], right now I have something that people can distinguish me from, but that’s still a journey,” said Naiyapatana.