Prema Jatukanyaprateep, known by the pen name Prema-ja, is a Thai comic book artist and animator. Her most notable work is the manga, Bokbig, published by the Cartoonthai Institute. It was awarded the 2013 International Manga Award’s Gold Award. Topping 256 entries from 53 countries.
Prema-ja studied decorative art at Silpakorn University in Bangkok. It was during her studies at Silpakorn that the idea for Bokbig grew. The Cartoonthai Institute saw the drawings in an exhibition and asked if she could turn it into a full comic. Planning to study animation in France, she had little free time to complete the comic.
During her studies at École Pivaut in Nantes, France, she animated Bokbig in a 3-minute short. Prema-ja returned to Bangkok in 2010. The Bokbig manga was completed and published in 2012. It received praise for both its drawing style and content. The tale of the failures and successes of cheerful, yet cheeky, dog is universal which anyone can empathise with.
Since returning, Prema-ja has illustrated for many magazines, graphic novels and children’s books. She has also been an instructor at King Mongkut’s University of Technology in Thonburi.
Prema-ja’s illustration are fun and colourful. Her lines look very organic. One or two passes, then on to the next. Her cross-hatching too can be quite messy at times. This gives a very “instant” feeling to her work, leaving no time to overwork a piece. The wash of colours laid down feels equally brisk. Creating lots of interplay and interesting textures.