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 SMA MASTER CLASS, the future manga stars from the SILENT MANGA AUDITION®, is then renowned illustrator from Spain, Inma R.
People love her online drawing tutorials and she makes some of the most heartfelt manga we’ve read.
She spent some time with us talking about what drives her to create manga.
Good Morning Inma R.!
INTERVIEW WITH Inma R.
1. Tell us a little bit about where you live.
I’m from a small city called Melilla, which is not actually in Spain’s main land, but in the north of Africa (but it is Spain). Spain had territory in North Africa and now there are two cities: Ceuta and Melilla. Then there’s the Canary Islands, even lower into Africa than those two cities. Some years ago we celebrated Melilla’s 500 years of being part of Spain, so it’s a long long time (^^).
I moved to the main land this year, a place called Malaga. So far I’m very happy here. Lots of shelves to fill with manga’s and art-books~. It was a new and exciting experience but so tiring. I hope I never have to move again in my life.
2. Now that you’ve moved, you must have new work space. What’s it like?
I have a big table, a Cintiq 27QHD, a BenQ monitor (I draw everything digital) and tons of shelves full of manga’s and art-books <3. My wall is still waiting to be filled with posters. The posters I want to hang in my room are made by artists that inspire me, but I have them in my hometown.
3. Do you have a favorite manga or creator that influenced your creative style?
Oh, yes! There are many I like for different reasons, and they’re so different from each other. I love Shirow Miwa’s use of black and white, CLAMP’s layouts and how characters float around them, the way Kouga Yun expresses feelings through poses and angles… All that influenced me in one way or another, or at least inspired me to want to keep on drawing.
4. Can you tell us a little bit about your preferences for manga storytelling and creation process!
When drawing I always start with character heads. My pages focus a lot on characters more than action or environment, so they’re very important! I start with a blue sketch for the character skeleton/guidelines and then I sketch it properly on top. I love stories that focus on characters’ feelings, so my layouts usually have characters as the main focus. I like it so you can see their faces and their expression can tell the reader a lot of what’s going through their heads. Characters are everything to me. I could read a not-so-good story with interesting characters (unless it’s really REALLY bad), but a good story with boring characters would make me lose interest quick.
When writing I start with the Name and usually try to sketch all pages properly before inking and toning, and each day I go back and edit a million things from the sketches I drew the previous day (it’s hard to see your mistakes when you have just finished a sketch!). Depending on complexity I can sketch 2-3 pages a day, then ink and tone 1-2 pages a day. My favorite part would definitely be inking! I don’t enjoy inking illustrations as much as I enjoy inking manga. It’s a whole different experience.
“Characters are everything to me.”
5. Where do you get ideas from?
With my first series, 3×1, I was thinking I wanted to draw BL manga, but I thought it wouldn’t be published, so I started building this triangle in which I could have both BL and heterosexual pairings. I ended up focusing a lot on friendship and what it meant to sacrifice what you want for the ones you love.
But, I usually start by thinking of a word or a concept I like (like “queen of hearts,” or “witch,” etc.), and then try to build a whole story around that. It’s a fun process! I like doing that when I have to wait at places, or when I’m doing something repetitive and tedious. The problem is I tend to do that in bed as well, so sometimes it’s hard to fall asleep (laughs).
“To know you did something to help someone else’s creative path is such a great feeling.”
6. Do you have any other skills or experiences that help you create manga?
I made tutorials (drawing, tones, etc.) and They became quite popular! Even these days some people come to thank me for the tutorials I made back then (^^). When someone comes to you and says, “Thank you, this helped me” I feel really accomplished. My favorite compliments are not the ones that say, “I love your art,” but the ones that say, “I love your art because it inspired me to work on mine”. To know you did something to help someone else’s creative path is such a great feeling.
7. What are the specific areas you focus on when creating a manga for SMA?
The manga was a story that meant a lot to me on a personal level because it was for my mom, who passed away in 2013. I wanted to draw it for her. Because of that, I focused on making the story emotional, of showing “life” from beginning to end in a way you could say, “Yes, I think this could have been anyone’s life”. It wasn’t the kind of story I usually make (I like them more twisted), but it was what I really wanted to try at that time.
It also reflects how I felt about the whole thing. I was sad she was gone, but I knew I was going to think of her every day of my life until we met again, so in a way it’s like sharing every event of my life with her. I share it in my head, in the story the main character shares it through photographs and balloons. It is as they say: the ones you love leave too soon.
“I wanted to draw it for my mom… it’s great to know you finished what you started”
8. That’s a lovely story and the perfect way to honor her memory
Thank you. I was satisfied even if I didn’t win, because I wanted to draw it and I managed to. When I achieved Grand-Prix Runner-up it only made me feel happier about having drawn it. I think many people are disappointed if they enter a contest and they don’t win. I think it is a bit disappointing, yes, but overall it’s great to know you finished what you started, which is not something many people can say (many people want to draw, but then they don’t practice because they’d rather be doing something else, etc.)
“The moment I finished ‘Ballons of Memories’ I felt accomplished.”
9. Were there any moments you felt, “I’m glad I entered this contest!”?
Definitely! The moment I finished Ballons of Memories I felt accomplished. Whether I won or not, I had drawn something I really wanted to draw, for my mom. When I saw I had won one of the prizes I felt such joy I can’t describe it, and when I received the magazine where it had been published, I felt my inner child rejoice, because it’s what I dreamt of as a child.
10. Achieving the Grand Prix Runner-up in SMA must have brought you new opportunities. Are you planning any future projects?
There are stories I would like to tell, definitely. Like Revenge of the Queen. I dropped it some time ago, but recently I decided to pick it up again.
Most of my ideas are fantasy or happen in a twisted version of our world. I can’t comprehend our real world well enough, so I prefer to create my own universes.
Thank you for your time Inma senpai!
We all want to read your twisted fantasy Revenge of the Queen.
Recently Spain has been one of the heat spots on SMAC! There are sure great many manga creating talent there, I’m sure we are only scratching the surface?
Let’s hope there will be more of them, entering SMA! 😋
People of all walks of life can create manga. So pick up you tools and enter SILENT MANGA AUDITION® Round Seven today!