Sakura of America was launching a new product line of entry-level comic/manga drawing tools called Pigma Sensei ("sensei" meaning "teacher" in Japanese). Although these art tools used the same professional-quality archival inks as their popular Pigma Micron pens, they wanted to offer a less-expensive set for beginning artists that would give them everything they needed to get started in drawing sequential art.
The Pigma Sensei package needed to have both French and English translations to meet U.S.A. and Canada retail packaging requirements. In addition, Sakura wanted an insert included with the pens, to hint at a "How to Draw" process and also show the versatility of the inking tools within the set.
The Pigma Sensei advertisements needed to be targeted to educations markets.
As a largely self-taught artist, I strongly identified with Sakura's target audience. In my entry-level days I spent much of my time researching what kinds of tools other professionals used, as well as quite a bit of money experimenting to find what tools I liked. To me, the idea of a simple, inexpensive-yet-still-professional-quality drawing toolkit was something I wished I had when I started out!
In establishing the art direction for the package, the main message between copy and imagery is to show the possibility of what you can do with the set. It was also very important to show each tool and its artistic capability, so that the range of line widths was clearly communicated.
For the advertisements, the direction was very straightforward as it was a set of targeted advertisements. I essentially took the same approach as the package (i.e. showing all the tools and the possibility of creation) and translated that over into an advertisement layout.
Pigma Sensei has grown from a single product offering to a diverse product category for Sakura of America, successfully addressing the target category they were initially hoping to reach.
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