Kali ini sosok itu akan menurunkan sebuah cerita yang cukup membanggakan, dimana kawan-kawan sosok itu yang tergabung di Studio Siput berhasil masuk berita di koran The Jakarta Post. Mereka adalah 3 (tiga) orang sahabat yang terjun bebas di dunia ilustrasi dan desain dengan karakter yang terus mengedepankan tokoh islami (berjilbab). Dua diantaranya adalah kawan lama sosok itu yang pernah bekerja di satu atap dan Ferly sendiri pun kini juga bekerja satu atap dengan sosok itu. Lepas dari perjuangan mereka yang luar biasa, semua itu tidak bisa dipisahkan dari tangan dingin kejeniusan Mas Ali.
The Jakarta Post—While some would associate anime and manga—the Japanese take on cartoons—with short skirts and flowing, multicolored hair, the spread of the art to various countries has given birth to a flow of hijab-donning doe-eyed characters. These characters are easily found in various bookstores in Jakarta. Illustrations drawn in manga style decorate the covers of Islamic books and fiction that convey religious messages or that have characters that are depicted as Muslims.
Studio Siput, a small art studio comprising three workers, has experience providing illustrations for Islamic books. Their latest works are the illustrations for a series of children’s books called Princess Jihan. The princess on the covers of the books wears a crown and a flowing dress, but unlike several princesses already familiar to children, she does not bare her hair, neck or arms. The princess’ head is covered with a glittering headscarf and one of the titles in the series is “The Miracle of Reading the Quran”.
Another design that is featured on the studio’s website is for a book called “Ingat Allah dengan 100 Doa” (Remember Allah with 100 prayers). Here, the anime style is even more evident, with the characters’ eyes drawn in exaggerated sizes and their faces made round and blushing.
Ferly Leriansyah, one of the members of Siput alongside Jajang Windaya and Hendri Setiawan, said their works extend beyond the Islamic, and indeed their website also features artwork with non-religious themes and characters that do not display particularly religious ways of dressing. He said it was merely coincidental that their first order for artwork–a tale of the prophets–was Muslim in character.
The debut of the Bandung-based studio was inseparable from Ali Muakhir. “[Ali] was a work acquaintance, but he went into the children’s book scene earlier than us. At first we solely relied on Ali but we needed more jobs so we had to build links,” Ferly said. Studio Siput is currently working on a book about “Asmaul Husna”, or the names of Allah.
Publishers and writers usually give Studio Siput the freedom to create the characters and illustrations for the books, but sometimes the process involves discussion between multiple parties, he added. According to Ferly, some book publishers like Mizan specifically asked for Japanese-styled artworks for certain book series.
Ferly began drawing in the manga style in 1996 when he was still in junior high school, influenced by the likes of Akira Toriyama’s Dragon Ball and Takeshi Maekawa’s Tekken Chinmi. His drawing style, however, has evolved over time and has now drifted a bit further than the manga style, he said. Creating hijab-wearing characters is a fairly simple task although original manga style sometimes relies on anatomy and hair movement. “We just play around with the flow of the fabric [of the character’s clothing],” Ferly said.
Fairytale: Various princess designs are featured on the Studio Siput website. Courtesy of Studio Siput/Art by Jajang Windaya, Ferly Leriansyah, Hendri Setiawan
Toni Masdiono, a member of the Asia-Pacific Animation and Comic Association, said that although the popularity of anime and manga is currently declining due to factors such as a longing to discover a more “personal” style, it certainly has made its mark on the current generation. “Manga and anime entered Indonesia massively around 1985 to the 1990s, when Indonesian comics were at their low point. So children born in the 1980s are only familiar with the “looks” of manga, anime and a bit of Hong Kong [-style comics]… automatically, manga became the guide for the generation,” Toni said. (Dina Indrasafitri)