SMA MASTER CLASS, the future manga stars from SILENT MANGA AUDITION®.
In this series of interviews we’ll uncover the secrets to their manga creations!
This week’s MASTER CLASS member is the new face from France, Nicolas David.
Nicolas looks to the spirit of the times to create an emotional experience for the readers.
He was kind enough to impart his experiences on to us.
Good Morning Nicolas David!
INTERVIEW WITH Nicolas David.
“Getting it published was kind of a mix of huge stress and relief.”
1. We saw you published the first volume of your new series “MECKAZ” in France. Congratulations!
Thanks you. Getting it published was kind of a mix of huge stress and relief I think ^^
I was somehow scared it be judge as really bad. But in the end I’ve only received good review for now. I guess people who don’t like it don’t came to tell me neither ahah. But anytime someone tell me they liked it, that make me really happy.
2. Tell us a little bit about where you live.
I live in a city called Rennes in Brittany which is most knowed for her “street of thirst.” There is “La Vilaine” a river who cross the city. Her name in Breton was meaning “The victorious” but in French she had been renamed “la vilaine” meaning “The Ugly”
3. What’s your work space like? Do you usually play music when your drawing?
I have a desk for drawing and another one for the computer part. I also have another computer for music and podcasts ahah.
I have a Jpop playlist for when I need motivation with bands like Babymetal, Passpo, Momoiro and some early Morning Musume songs. But after 1 hour I go back to less energetic music like movies ost, folk music, or even enka somtimes! ^^
For the podcast they are mostly in French but in English I listen to “Reply All” or “The Phileas Club.” There is also one called “Writing Excuses” who may interest manga creator. For the French podcast my favorites one is called “L’apero du Captain.”
4. What kind of tools do you use and which is your favorite? Let us see it!
I use a Zebra G-Pen most of the times with a manuscript paper from the brand I-C and the pilot ink. I also use a black marker from posca (PC-1M) who’s great for the panel and the onomatopoeia. For the pencil I mostly use a B mono100 from tombow. It’s a bit expensive but last long and worth all the yens! The eraser is always a mono (try it if you don’t know it).
I also use de brush FP6L from pentel, I’ve saw it many times used by mangaka in video and was really happy when I finally found the reference ^^
There is a lot of new option to find material. We got a website called Manga Ink in France who got a lot of the stuff. But, for huge order I usually go on the Japanese shopping site “Rakuten.”
“Sometimes everything is easy to draw but somedays it’s hard to draw a simple face.”
5. Tell us about how you schedule your creations? How long does it take for each step in the process? Which step is you favorite and least favorite?
I use to put deadlines, otherwise something that should take one day could take me the whole month ^^
I try to make the NAME in one day but it often takes me a couple of days more.
For the inked pages it goes between 1 and 3 a day.
I don’t have favorites part, sometimes I’m really inspired for the name but it can be often hard times too, as well as the drawing. Sometimes everything is easy to draw but somedays it’s hard to draw a simple face.
The part who’s always hard is the cleaning and scan session, when I go to check all the pages and have to do all the “let’s do that later” I left aside. I believe if I could take my personal deadline more seriously it be more easy!
“The column of my storytelling is the emotion path I want the reader to take.”
6. Tell us about your preferences when creating manga and storytelling!
I try the most as possible to make the right line with the pencil more than making construction line, like a circle for the head. But I’m not there yet, far from that, and I make very messy sketch!
For the story I focus more on what the readers will feel than on the story itself. It’s a bit hard to put word on it but when I draw the NAME I try to think about how the reader gonna feel for key moment. The story is of course very important but the column of my storytelling is the emotion path I want the reader to take. So I don’t create a story path. I create an emotional path for readers.
“Ideas are also in the air and it’s more about being a good fisherman and being the first to catch it.”
7. Where do you get ideas from and how do you practice drawing?
I make practice with picture reproduction most of the time. I try to practice a least 30min/1h before starting manga.
Ideas can comes from anywhere but I really believe in the zeitgeist concept, the spirit of times. Like for “MECKAZ,” when I started it the duel between Kuratas against Megabot MKII had been just announced. So, yeah, the idea is that some stuff are in the spirit of times, you don’t really imagine them.
But, ideas are also in the air and it’s more about being a good fisherman and being the first to catch it.
8. Do you have a favorite manga or creator that influenced your creative style?
I have many influences, but when I feel really lost I usually go back to Toriyama sensei.
But, Otomo sensei’s “Akira.” I’ve read it really young and I got really a strong impact. It’s like some pictures in “Akira” really makes your blood rush.
When I was teenager I really loved “I”s” from Katsura Masakazu sensei and “Rookies” from Morita Masanori sensei. I think they both really talk to the teenager I was.
9. Do you have any other skills, experiences, or hobbies that help you create manga?
I guess the huge amount of manga I’ve read help!
I also believe my special skill of being bad with girls is really helpful for writing about frustration.
10. Have you received any useful help or advice from the editor?
I have readers of trust who’s opinions really matters but the advices from SMAC! editors are really different. It’s really a cool experience and I learn a lot from them. Like the issue of my first NAME was that there was no real protagonist. So now, among other things, we’re trying to fix this issue and finding the right protagonist. I believe it’s things only manga professionals can see so each ones are really important to me.
11. What are the specific areas you focus on when creating a manga for SMA?
For the Round 03 I mainly focused on the twist but for the Round 04 I was looking for the simple storyline and emotion as possible. But, I had no good idea for like 10 days before the deadline for Round 04. And just before it was too late my mother came to invite me drink a beer with her and her friends. Thats remind me a time where I was celebrating my birthday alone because of manga and a couple of friend pass by at midnight just to celebrate. So I had my feeling
12. Are there any moments you felt, “I’m glad I entered this contest!”?
A lot! The first was when “Scarf” win an award at SMA 03, even if it wasn’t a victory I was really happy that the SMA team found interest in it.
The big second one was when I learned I’ll be in the Master class. And of course the meeting with the jury in Japan. When I enter for SMA the idea Hojo sensei may look at one of my story was really a crazy idea. So seeing him looking at my story was the most landmark event of the trip. It’s not everyday you can meet manga legends.
But also everytimes I get a message from my editor, Mayu!
13. Are you planning any future projects? What genre would you like to try attempt in the future?
There was a project I had worked on in France but didn’t get published that I love to try to turn into a short story. It was called “Cyberpunk&Graffiti.” The idea of “Cyberpunk&Graffiti” is that human are classified by race (cat, dog, mouse) and they are marking their territory with graffiti. I like to work on it with my editor to get the full potential.
Thank you for your time Nicolas senpai!
We hope to see MECKAZ published in Japan some day. Hopefully along with Cyberpunk&Graffiti.
We’ve seen a lot of talent emerge from France. But, we think there are a lot more waiting to be discovered.
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The world is full of ideas waiting to be made into manga. Let’s find them together by entering SILENT MANGA AUDITION® Round Seven today!