Sonia Leong
Sonia Leong
Internationally Esteemed Manga Artist

All About Sonia Leong

Sonia Leong is a professional comic artist and illustrator specialising in Anime/Manga. Her first graphic novel was Manga Shakespeare: Romeo and Juliet (SelfMadeHero). Her awards include Young Adult Library Services Association “2008 Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers” and “Best Books for Young Adults 2008” for Romeo and Juliet ; Winner in Tokyopop’s first UK Rising Stars of Manga competition (2005/06) and Winner in NEO Magazine’s 2005 Manga Competition. Her artwork features in the British movie, Popcorn (2007) and on the set of Channel 4’s popular sitcom The IT Crowd. She contributed Siren to the Eisner Award-winning Comic Book Tattoo: Tales inspired by Tori Amos (Image Comics) and Reginald to The Graphic Canon (Seven Stories Press). She illustrated the self-help comics Find True Love and Be Creative (Infinite Ideas). Her work appears in Domo: The Manga (Tokyopop/Big Tent) and Bravest Warriors: The Search for Catbug (VIZ Media). Sonia also works in children’s publishing, illustrating for the I, Hero series (Hachettes) by Steve Barlow and Steve Skidmore, Girls FC series (Walker) by Helena Pielichaty and Ninja series (Barrington Stoke) by Chris Bradford.
Sonia is the Company Secretary of Sweatdrop Studios, a leading UK comic collaborative and independent publisher of Manga. Her personal works with Sweatdrop include Once Upon a Time…, Love Stuffing and Aya♥ Takeo, a full-colour comic originally published online.
She has worked on numerous instructional art books, her most recent being 101 Top Tips from Professional Manga Artists (Ilex Press) and Draw Manga: Complete Skills (Search Press). She has taught Manga workshops since 2004, beginning with lectures at the Artist & Illustrators Magazine Exhibition. Her UK appearances include the Hay Festival, the Victoria & Albert Museum, the British Museum, Latitude Festival, Cambridge WordFest, Pop Up Festival / Central St. Martins and London County Hall, amongst many others. She frequently represents UK creators overseas, working with the British Council and invited as a special guest at events and conventions across Europe, America and Asia.
Sonia works in a variety of mediums including watercolour, pen and ink, screentone, alcohol colour markers, pencils and computer software. She has exhibited artwork in the Kyoto International Manga Museum, London County Hall, London Cartoon Museum, Japanese Embassy, Manchester URBIS Centre and provided product demonstrations on behalf of Copic, Letraset, Wacom and Promethean.

Sonia’s School Visits

Sonia is recognised throughout the UK as one of the leading Manga artists and workshop presenters. Her visits to schools are inspirational and help to motivate students to look at literature through the art of Manga, which is very accessible to all children.

Her visits often throw up skills in students otherwise undiscovered. The link between Manga and English is also emphasised by the fact that Sonia brings along her own publications for the students to see.

Signed copies of her work will also be available on the day of the visit. If time permits, Sonia is also very happy to look at student portfolios for ‘outside’ feedback.

A typical, full day school visit by Sonia

A full day visit usually starts with a general presentation on Manga to a whole year group (or a group selected by the school). Any age group is suitable, from years 5 to 12 (ages 9 to 18).

The general presentation lasts about 45 minutes and is designed to get the children motivated and excited about Sonia’s visit.

The presentation includes:

– Background and history of manga

– How manga comics are put together

– How to create manga characters and manga style

– How a manga artist works

– Plenty of time for Q&A

The rest of the day is split into manga style art workshops for groups of about 20-25 students (any age). Workshops usually last about an hour, but there would need to be a break in between them.

In these workshops, Sonia demonstrates techniques that she uses, which are usually supported by a PowerPoint presentation and by exercises on a flip chart or whiteboard. Students are encouraged to draw along with guidance and troubleshooting help from Sonia. By the end of the lesson, they create their own manga page.

Equipment needed for Sonia’s visit

The ideal set-up is:

– A laptop

– Whitescreen projector

– 1 or 2 flip charts/boards with markers, pencils, erasers and paper for the students.

** Although this is the ideal set-up, we often work around lack of equipment
or space, etc. Most things are possible!

Sonia’s Books

**Sonia signs all copies of her books purchased by students on the day of her visit.**

Manga Shakespeare: Romeo and Juliet

romeo and julliet

Now presenting Manga Shakespeare—the Bard’s greatest plays in an accessible, lively format for a new generation of readers.

Romeo and Juliet is ideally suited for the manga format—it has teenage heroes, scheming and villainous adults, heartbreaking tragedy, and the ultimate romantic plot about star-cross’d lovers. Romeo, a Montague, and Juliet, a Capulet, fall deeply in love—and they refuse to let their parents’ age-old feud get in their way. When Romeo is banished from their town, a series of mistakes and misunderstandings, along with their families’ mutual hatred, finally manages to end their love. An exciting introduction to the Bard for reluctant readers and manga fans alike. – Courtesy of Amazon.com

Recommendations & Reviews

On her school visits:

“Just a quick note to say thank you for your visit on Monday. I have had reports from teachers about the animated conversations in their lessons on Monday after your presentation. We’re planning a big display of yours and the student’s work in the main reception area. Thank you again for a very interesting and inspiring day.” – Ellen Krajewski, Librarian, The Hemel Hempstead School, Hertfordshire, UK

“Just a quick message to let you know how much our school enjoyed Sonia’s visit on Friday! Her assembly and workshops were outstanding and our students responded to the energy and enthusiasm she put into her teaching and demonstrations. It was undoubtedly a special day for Fir Vale and many students have approached me to express how much they loved it and to ask when she would be back! Thank you for all your help in getting stuff arranged and hope to hear from you again sometime in the future!” – Penny Leigh, Learning Resource Centre Officer, Fir Vale School, Sheffield

“I just wanted to say how fantastic Sonia’s visit was – she is dynamite! The students were enthralled and her signing session was the busiest we had ever had at Oakgrove. Sonia is a natural teacher/communicator and her workshop was really practical and each student produced a Manga page to keep. The students were captivated during her presentations to very large groups (180 then 210) because she has such style, energy and enthusiasm for her specialist field. Thank you very much for all your help in arranging her visit.” – Librarian, Oakgrove School, Milton Keynes, UK

“Sonia was brilliant! The students were transfixed. Her enthusiasm and love of her work showed in all that she did. The workshops helped in so many different ways, the students were still buzzing the next day, and were asking when she was returning!!! I recommend Sonia to ALL High Schools.” – Andrew Medhurst, Librarian, Stopsley High School, Luton, UK

“Sonia’s visit to our school was truly inspiring, and the students were thrilled with her work and enthusiasm! They continued to talk about the day as the week went on, mentioning how much fun they had, how ‘cool’ Sonia was, and how their work improved as a result of her visit. I also saw the improvement in one day! My students continued with the scenario piece in their own time, and I was inundated by people wanting to come to Manga Art Club. I have also started working on a Manga style inspired scheme of work. Thank you for a fantastic opportunity and a highly inspiring workshop!” – Kelly Bignall, Head of Art, Stopsley High School, Luton, UK

“Sonia was such an inspiration to our students and worked with them to create some wonderful Manga art. I was extremely impressed by her positive attitude and the way she interacted with all the students she met. There was such a buzz of excitement around school all day and I’ve had several staff come up to me to say how much the students enjoyed themselves. Sonia’s work ethic is impressive, she’s so keen to share her love of Manga art and this enthusiasm is reflected by the students. We had some ‘difficult’ students who just sat enraptured by her and then produced some wonderful work. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend her to other schools.” – Librarian, King Edward VII School, Sheffield

If you would like us to put you in touch with any of the schools Sonia has visited, please don’t hesitate to ring us for contact details.

On her manga art:

“Leong has developed a style and vocabulary that’s completely her own.” – Helen McCarthy, Manga Critic/Historian

“As the original creator, I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t know that I would be taken to places, weeping over songs that I didn’t weep about. The murder in ‘Siren’…” – Tori Amos, Musician

“Sonia Leong… uses the dynamic flow of manga to give Shakespeare’s plots an addictive, page-turning energy.” – Helen Allman, Independent

To Make a Booking

To make an enquiry about Sonia Leong, or any of the other authors, poets & illustrators listed on this website, please phone Trevor Wilson on +44 (0) 1535 656015, or email him at trevor@caboodlebooks.co.uk