The Birmingham Comics Festival is delighted to announce that award-winning manga artist Sonia Leong will be among the celebrated guests attending the inaugural gala event taking place at Edgbaston Cricket Stadium on Saturday 18th April 2015.

Acclaimed for her artwork within the graphic novel Manga Shakespeare: Romeo and Juliet and published by Self Made Hero, the book was listed among the Young Adult Library Services Association Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers and Best Books for Young Adults in 2008, Sonia Leong‘s artwork can be seen in the British film Popcorn, and her illustrations featured on-set for Series 3 of Channel 4’s award-winning British sit-com The IT Crowd.

Her stylised comic work has featured in major anthology comic books including Tori Amos’ Comic Book Tattoo published by Image Comics, Tokyopop‘s Domo: The Manga, based on the popular Japanese television mascot, and Bravest Warriors: The Search for Catbug for VIZ Media. For independent UK publisher Sweatdrop Studios she has produced Once Upon a Time, Love Stuffing and the full colour album series Aya Takeo, that was originally serialised online.

Sonia Leong‘s artwork within the comics medium carries obvious charm but is able to convey emotional subtexts that can be as effective in soap opera styled stories as much as great tragedies and vignettes.

Some of these qualities have already been brought to bear influencing future generations by teaching workshops and working as a conceptual artist and illustrator on such books as 500 Manga Characters and Drawing Manga. In terms of pure illustration, major publishers including Hachette, Harper-Collins and Walker Books have called upon her services, and she is featured artist for ongoing youth novel series such as Girls FC and Ninja: First Mission, alongside producing cover and interior work for standalone titles.

“Manga has become an incredibly popular branch of creativity within the UK comics scene over the last decade, but the fact that Sonia Leong’s artwork in this area so obviously appeals to the wider mainstream out there, and attracts a significant amount of young readers is one of the reasons we invited her to attend the show,” commented the festival’s organisers. “That she’s also an entertaining and charismatic personality is a bonus for those who’ll get to meet her at the show.” Sonia Leong will be signing books, sketching and offering exclusive artwork at The Birmingham Comics Festival.

Born in Malaysia, Sonia Leong‘s family moved to Thailand, and she herself settled in Great Britain when attending university. Taking on singular commissions in graphic design and illustration, she would go on to win NEO Magazine’s 2005 Manga Competition and as part of Sweatdrop Studios be awarded second place

in the first UK Rising Stars of Manga competition held by Toykpop for 2005/06. Following this her career blossomed into one of full-time illustration, working for assorted publishers and companies, alongside developing her career in the comic book field.

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