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I just want to say a big thank you, I’ve been to a few of your workshops and I can honestly say I wouldn’t be where I am today without having the experience I did with turnip starfish, without Lexi, Nick and the rest of the team I would never of found my love for art, so thank you very much.

Sara-Jayne 11/01/19 Facebook



The team at Turnip Starfish have been having fun directing and producing animation for TV since 1999. See some of latest animation here! Maybe we can help you?

We also run animation workshops, manga and cartoon drawing workshops, digital painting workshops and more in South Wales, Cardiff, Swansea, Newport, Bristol and beyond. Give us a buzz and maybe we can come to you!


The Promised Neverland

Lexemon’s Manga & Anime Blog

The Promised Neverland (translation: Yakusoku no Nebārando)

I never thought that I would be hooked on an anime about three eleven-year olds. Yet The Promised Neverland has done just that.

Based in an orphanage, Emma, Ray and Norman are the eldest children in the home. They are responsible for helping Mother with the other orphaned children. Every child in the orphanage has a very strong and loving relationship with these three, creating strong family ties between them.

The children can do pretty much what they like except leave the boundaries of the orphanage which includes a massive outside space with its own forest. What lies beyond the boundaries is a mystery and the only way out is a gated tunnel. This is the tunnel that the orphans leave through when they are adopted.

Every time a child is adopted no letters are sent to the orphanage, which the eldest three find strange since they had such a strong family bond with the children who were adopted. The adoption of Conny starts to raise questions among the orphans. In a rush, Conny accidently leaves her beloved teddy behind when she is taken to her new family. Concerned, Emma and Norman race to the tunnel to give it to her. Finding the tunnel unlocked, the two decide to venture through the tunnel to find Conny, but find something very different. Something that they shouldn’t have discovered.

This anime is amazing! As a thriller it keeps you on your toes and wanting more each time an episode ends, which is why I ended up watching six episodes in a row. It would have been more but there were only six available! The suspense, drama, plot twists and cliff-hangers are all very well played out and often overlap but without becoming confusing. I highly recommend this anime – however, despite it being about children, it is definitely not suitable for children to watch.

Genre: Dark Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Thriller, Horror, Mystery Manga rated OT, Older Teen Anime rated – TBA (I think it will be at least a 15)

Published: 2019-03-18

How to draw a 'cool girl'

Today Nick is cartooning a photograph of a 'Cool Girl'. Join him as he uses simply body shapes to construct his image, whilst trying to keep the rhythm in the drawing.

Published: 2019-03-15

What is Anime? Part 2 - transition scenes

Lexemon’s Manga & Anime Blog

Anime is very different to most western animation. Western animation tends to have a quickly paced story that ends within the show’s timeframe whereas anime often uses several episodes to get to a specific event. Anime is not afraid to spend time within an episode where nothing much happens. For example, minutes can pass whilst a panning shot shows a field of grass blowing in the wind, which is very rare in other types of animation. These pauses are used to ground the viewer, allowing time to process what has just happened and to allow the viewer to imagine what can happen next. In anime these slow scenes are often in contrast with the rest of the animation, which may be action packed or very dramatic.

Published: 2019-03-08

How to draw a pirate

Getting back into the drawing groove, Nick is today drawing an angry looking pirate. Grab some paper and draw along.

Published: 2019-03-07

Life Drawing in April

Hi everyone

The Cardiff Life Drawing class has been going from strength to strength. Thank you to everyone that has been supporting the class.

We are having trouble booking a space again for this class from April onwards. We are working as quickly as we can to solve this issue and will send you all an email as soon as we have this resolved.

Our current plan is to hold the class on the 6th April and then on May 4th.

Hope to have positive news shortly.

Published: 2019-03-02

What is Anime - Part 1

Lexemon’s Manga & Anime Blog

What is Anime - Part 1

Anime is a type of animated programme or film often aimed at adults as well as children. Anime is what they call animation in Japan, it is often produced in Japan or at least associated with it. Many anime are based on a manga series or Japanese stories which include historical references and folklore.

There is a typical character style associated with anime: fair skin; long legs; big hair and big eyes. They are generally ‘nonculturally specific’ (1) in terms of their design, they don’t look Japanese or Western either.

The eyes are the most iconic part of the characters in anime. The bigger the eyes, the more innocent the character. Lead protagonists usually have large eyes, although this concept can vary widely when it comes to male characters.

The villains in anime are often very pale skinned and usually have much smaller eyes than the protagonists, giving them an ‘evil’ look. This also represents the fact that they may be narrowminded in focusing on the one thing that they want. A good example of eye difference is in ‘My Hero Academia’ (pictured). This anime features many heroes and villains, where the heroes mostly have large eyes and the villains have narrow ‘tired’ eyes, or their eyes are hidden.

I hope this has given you an insight into the world of anime, next time we will look at the animation in anime!

If you are interested in watching 'My Hero Academia’ (‘Boku no Hīrō Akademia’ in Japanese) please note that it is rated a 15 by the BBFC and the manga is rated OT, Older Teen.

(1) Susan Napier (2006) Anime From Akira to Howl’s Moving Castle – Experiencing Contemporary Japanese Animation, Palgrave Macmillan, p.24.

Published: 2019-02-22

Drawing a punk boy - New Tutorial

Today Nick is cartooning a photograph of a cool punk boy. Join him as he constructs and then colours his illustration.

Published: 2019-02-21

What is Manga?

Lexemon’s Manga & Anime Blog

What is Manga?

Manga are comics or graphic novels that are produced in Japan in the Japanese language. They are predominantly read right to left which is normal in Japan and other Asian countries. There are five main types of manga: Shonen, Seinen, Shojo, Josei and Kodomomuke.

SHONEN: typically refers to boys under 15. The lead character is usually a male and the story is focused on action, adventure and fighting. Examples of this are: Dragon Ball, Naruto, One Piece, Fairy Tail.

SEINEN: this type of manga is aimed at young men, over 15. They tend to be a bit more violent and psychological than Shonen. They can also contain more mature artwork with nudity and graphic imagery, although this is not the main focus of the story. Examples of this are: Beserk, Ghost in the Shell, Akira, Blade of the Immortal, Crying Freeman.

SHOJO: is the female equivalent of Shonen. These tend to focus on romance and emotional relationships, although this can happen within an action or adventure setting. The lead character is often a female, however many male homosexual love stories fall into this category too. Examples of this are: Sailor Moon, Ouran High School Host Club, Kamisama Kiss, Maidsama.

JOSEI: aimed at adult women. Josei are often slice-of-life or romantic tales featuring adult women. These can cover darker and more mature subjects such as infidelity and rape. Examples of this are: Paradise Kiss, Tramps Like Us & Pet Shop of Horrors.

KODOMOMUKE: literally means ’directed at children’. Kodomomuke tend to be simple stories that include lessons about friendship and morals. Examples of this are: Hello Kitty, Doraemon, Cardcaptor Sakura, Pokemon.

If you are concerned that a title may be too mature, there is often an age guide on the back of the book in the form of a letter. A: All ages, T: Teen, OT: Older Teen, M: Mature These letters are just a guide and are not legally binding, unlike DVDs where underage viewing is illegal.

Published: 2019-02-15

Cartoon Viking tutorial

Today nick is drawing a cartoon Viking! Join him and draw along as he uses simple shapes to build the character.

Published: 2019-02-14

Colour portrait painting tutorial this week

Nick wants to draw more in 2019. This week he is painting another portrait, this time in colour. If anything he learns how useful the lasso tool is as he corrects the drawing... several times.

Published: 2019-02-11

Subbed vs Dubbed Anime: An Anime Series

Lexemon’s Manga & Anime Blog

Subbed vs Dubbed Anime: An Anime Series

It’s the age-old question that divides many anime fans, should you watch anime in subbed or dubbed?

When I first started watching anime, about 20 years ago, you would only be able to watch dubbed versions unless you went to an art cinema to watch the film. Back then, the internet was just a baby and it would take forever to load one picture, watching videos online was not an option! The dubbed version of animes were awful. They were badly translated, heavily ‘westernised’ and the English voice acting was poor and often rushed.

By westernised I mean that the production companies were fearful that the western world wouldn’t understand Japanese culture therefore they would substitute Japanese words with English ones. There are many examples but the best one is from Pokémon. In 1997 translators thought that the western audience would relate more to the show if they renamed Japanese foods with popular western foods. In Pokémon, Episode 25: ‘Primeape Goes Bananas’, one of the main characters, Brock, repeatedly refers to the rice balls he is holding as ‘jelly filled doughnuts’. This lead to much mocking of the distributer and even these days many memes are still trending.

Subbed (subtitled) has always been held as the ‘superior’ of the two language options, with many anime fans stating that unless you watch a series subbed you are not a true fan. You get to watch the animation with the original voices, without any dodgy lip sync, in the way that it is meant to be watched. However, the downside of that is that you end up paying too much attention to the words written on screen and not to the actual animation itself.

Dubbed (English language voices) versions of anime are now very well translated and very rarely ‘westernised’ as they used to be. The voice actors, both English and Japanese, are really amazing now and are celebrities in their own right, even receiving awards for their work in various anime award ceremonies.

I watch a mixture of both. I sometimes like to draw whilst I watch anime, so it’s the dubbed version then. If the anime is animated really well with lots of action, I usually watch it dubbed so I can concentrate on the animation. However, if I get really into a dubbed series and can’t wait to see the next episode, I tend to switch to subbed as it can often be 3 episodes ahead. That is also the reason I like watching my favourite anime subbed, as I like to be as up to date as possible, but then that often leads to me reading the manga too…which is a conversation for another day.

There is no right or wrong way to watch anime and I can honestly tell you, that currently, it’s just down to your own preference.

Published: 2019-02-07

Kakegurui: Compulsive Gambler (season 01) – Review

Lexemon’s Manga & Anime Blog

Kakegurui: Compulsive Gambler (season 01) - Rated 15 on Netflix - Review

After months of avoiding it, I finally took the plunge and decided to watch Kakegurui: Compulsive Gambler. I don’t play card games or any other games that are related to gambling, so this show didn’t appeal to me at first. I had attempted to watch it a few months ago, but couldn’t get past the first episode. I think it was a combination of watching a lot of other anime at the time, the style of the characters didn’t entice me and also the subject matter. But this week I was drawing and decided to put it on, after being reminded of its existence through Elon Musk on Twitter, he was wearing a Kakegurui t-shirt last week.

I had half watched a couple of episodes whilst drawing but kept finding my attention drawn to the anime on screen. As the season is only 12 episodes, I started it all over again. It is strange, it is crazy, there isn’t much of a storyline so it’s easy to dip in and out.

The thing that kept me watching was the psychotic behaviour of the main character, Yumeko Jabami. She doesn’t gamble for money, she gambles because she loves the thrill of it in a rather sadistic way. I found it quite amusing.

If you like this, I recommend Food Wars! Don’t watch if you like a good story.

iMDB notes that this series has moderate sex and nudity, moderate violence and gore, mild profanity and mild frightening and intense scenes. For more information see iMDB Website

Published: 2019-01-31

New tutorial - punk girl character

This week Nick is drawing a harajuku punk girl. Working from a photograph, he is illustrating his own version. - MORE

Published: 2019-01-31

Crunchyroll Anime Awards 2019 – Best Opening Sequence

Lexemon’s Manga & Anime Blog

Crunchyroll Anime Awards 2019 – Best Opening Sequence - WEBSITE

As some of you are aware Crunchyroll’s Anime Awards 2019 are swiftly approaching us! The awards will be announced on the 16th of February. The voting is now over and although I didn’t vote I thought I’d look at one of the categories that I can judge without watching the anime, the opening sequence.

The six animes nominated were: Wotakoi: Love is Hard for Otaku; DARLING in the FRANXX; Kakegurui: Compulsive Gambler (season 01); Pop Team Epic; Aggretsuko; JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind.

I haven’t watched all of these animes but I have watched two, DARLING in the FRANXX and JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind, and whilst viewing the opening sequences for all of them I have tried not to let my personal feelings overpower my judgement!

Out of them all, I found Aggresuko and Wotakoi: Love is Hard for Otaku to be the weakest openings. Kakegurui’s was quite strange but had a lot of appealing factors for some hardcore anime fans, but lacked appeal for me. My top three were the from the two anime I have watched and Pop Team Epic.

Pop Team Epic’s opening is hilarious and has totally brain washed me into watching it this weekend. The song is catchy, the animation is good and it introduces you to the crazy world that the series is set in.

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind's opening is great. The first half has a ‘James Bond opening’ visual feel about it, whereas the second half is animated really well showing off the characters and their abilities. The song is very dramatic and for lack of a better description, very JoJo’s. I desperately want to say that this opening is the best, as I love JoJo’s so much, however the best opening from 2019 has to be from DARLING in the FRANXX.

DARLING in the FRANXX’s opening is very organic which draws you in. The visual that ties the whole sequence together is the use of a bright red liquid in the background that is a representation of blood. The characters are animated above this ‘blood’ in grey scale visually drawing your attention to them. From both the visual and opening song, which is beautiful, it’s easy to understand who the main characters are and the intimacy between them from just the opening sequence. Whilst the anime may not be my favourite this opening gives me shivers all over, that is why I think it deserves to win Crunchyroll’s Best Opening Sequence. We will see if I’m right in a few weeks time!

Published: 2019-01-25

New Tutorials

Nick has been posting some new tutorials on our YouTube Chanel. Be sure to check them out - MORE

Published: 2019-01-25

Black Clover Review – Episode 63 ‘Not in the Slightest’

Lexemon’s Manga & Anime Blog

Black Clover Review – Episode 63 ‘Not in the Slightest’

Spoiler Alert

In episode 63 Asta and Ladros’ epic battle ends, leaving them both extremely injured. Asta’s friends are also in need of some urgent healing. After defending Witches Forest, Asta asks the Witches Queen to use her powers to heal himself and his friends…but she has other ideas. The real reason the Queen allowed Asta & company into her forest to begin with becomes apparent and it doesn’t look good for our heroes… then the episode ends!!!

The 63rd episode of Black Clover was soooo good this week that I had to watch the next couple of episodes in Japanese! (Japanese subbed anime is usually about 3 episodes ahead of English dubbed) Little spoiler, its Vanessa’s turn to fight her Queen and a ‘familiar’ appears.

Published: 2019-01-17

Easter holiday workshops 2019!

Our Easter workshops are live in the shop. You can try a taster day in Animation or Manga Drawing. Or for those that are looking for a class with more depth, try our three day workshop. MORE

Published: 2019-01-16

Ever wanted to draw a ballerina?

We are so excited! because on in our February Life Drawing class we will be drawing a ballerina!

Ballerina Krystal Lowe will be our model. A guest artist for Ballet Cymru, Krystal divides her time between dancing, choreography and teaching. MORE

Published: 2019-01-16

Unique Christmas Gifts

We have now released the January dates for our workshops.

These can make an absolutely unique Christmas gift for someone!

Buying for a Christmas present?

Let us know by e-mail or via your instructions when you pay and we can send you an invitation card so they have something nice to open on Christmas day. Our last post for this would be the 15th December 2018, we would not send out any cards after this date.

look at the dates now - MORE

Published: 2018-11-23

Looking for something to do in half term?

Hey! How cool is this...

You can now book workshops for October half term!

see more - MORE

Published: 2018-09-21

The Summer Academy 2018

Is Live!

For those of you who just want to be creative all summer, our Summer Academy dates are now live! Please go to the SHOP for more info...

Animation Summer Academy 6th-10th August 2018 - MORE

Animation Summer Academy 13th-17th August 2018 - MORE

Manga Summer Academy 13th-17th August 2018 - MORE

Manga Summer Academy 20th-24th August 2018 - MORE

Don't miss out...

Published: 2018-03-19

New Show Reel 2018

New year and about time we had a NEW SHOWREEL!

We know it has been a long time, but finally we created a new showreel. We hope you enjoy.


Published: 2018-01-12

FREE drawing tutorials!

Have you seen our new FREE drawing tutorials? Go and see Lexémon draw Elsa and Anna from Disney's Frozen or Turnip Nick draw one of his dwarf warriors! SEE TUTORIALS

Published: 2014-02-10

Pay by VISA, MasterCard or PayPal !

Our shop will now except payments directly by VISA, MasterCard as well as through PayPal accounts. Just select the 'Pay with a debit or credit card' selection in the PayPal shop.

Published: 2014-01-13