Sara Manca is a 28-year-old designer from Naples in Italy, who loves to draw. She started drawing cartoons at an early age and believes that this creative line of work has chosen her. For her, “drawing is life” and after having studied at Naples Academy of Art, she knew for sure “her future lies in imagining cartoons and drawing them”. She designs under the username of Blatterbury on DeviantArt.
“I like to introduce myself with a Pirandello quote: I'm one, nobody and a hundred thousand.”
A budding designer, Manca became famous for what she calls “Disney Princesses as Belly Dancers”. Even though several artists have given their own rendition to Disney’s most loved characters--Manca’s belly dancers have something unique about them--a different instrument, outfit and a unique style of belly dancing, for each princess.
How did she come up with this idea--of drawing princesses as belly dancers?
“Disney Girls have been redesigned in so many ways in the past--and I always wished to try a design of my own. I am a belly dancer; I studied this discipline for the past 7 years, so I decided to merge art, belly dance and costume design. I learned how to sew thanks to cosplay and I'm the one who projects and makes all dresses for my belly dance friends and me.”
Much before drawing belly dancer princesses, she drew a lot of other characters. “As a kid, I had a collection of Barbies and I liked them, but I was more attached to her horses. I had a pretty big collection of Barbie's horses and I loved every kind of toy that represented an animal. Cat, dog, rabbit, horse--I was pretty obsessed by animals. But my favorite toy was my imagination. I loved role play--maybe that's why I started with cosplay”, adds Manca.
Everybody is inspired from someone or something, what was it for her?
Manca says, “I get inspired from anything--books, movies, past works of artists. Alphonse Mucha, Glen Kean, Adam Hughes, Barbara Canepa, are my absolute favourites but I also follow a number of young and talented web artists such as Fedini, Valeria Favoccia, Orpheeline, Phobs, Tracy Butler, Mirka Andolfo. Every time I see their art, it inspires me.”
On gender equality in her line of work in Italy, Manca says, “In my field of work, many things have changed through the years. When I was a child, I remember only male artists designed comic books. But now, more number of women are getting featured in comic book’ credits. I am happy that sex doesn't matter anymore--the important thing is your aesthetic sense, imagination, sensibility and versatility.”
Towards the end of the interview, she says, “I want to share with the world my passion and my little knowledge. In belly dancers series when I choose a design, a style and a dress of each princess--I also add a description to explain where the dance styles came from. It's very important for me to let people know about this ancient and underestimated discipline.”
How Disney Princesses would look as Belly Dancers:
Belle has a shamadan to dance with. Using it is considered advanced, and is used in the zeffeh, or wedding procession. (WION)
Rapunzel according to Manca is fit for Khaliji: traditional folkloric dance from the Persian Gulf. The form uses hair as the main element used to dance. Women let their long hair “dance” moving it from side to side, back and forth, in circle etc. (WION)