This week’s SMA MASTERCLASS 2017, the 3rd year fresh members who will be coming to Tokyo in 2017, is none other than Andrea Jen☆
She takes the magic surrounding us all and places it into a world of fantasy and whimsy!
She took us behind the curtain and showed us her tricks in making such wondrous manga 😉
Good Morning Andrea!
INTERVIEW WITH Andrea.
“It was all like a dream coming true.”
1. Tell us a little bit about where you live?
I live in Ramos Mejía, a nice and joyous city from Buenos Aires in Argentina. This city has a variety of restaurants and shops to visit. It also has some parks to go for a stroll and chillax. Argentina is known as a country of vast lands with diverse landscapes, spectacular waterfalls, and huge rivers full of wildlife diversity. Foreigners are interested in the folklore and the popular dance “Tango,” without forgetting the the tasty beef “Asado”!
2. What kind of fun adventures have you had as a manga creator?
Traveling to different countries, meeting wonderful people and experiencing new ways of improving my work is what I enjoy most. In this case, having the opportunity to travel Japan through the SMA EX Round. The SMA EX Round trip was AMAZING! I spent every day doing many things from early morning til night. Like meeting Tsukasa Hojo, Tetsuo Hara, Ryuji Tsugihara, and the editors themselves was a fun and exciting experience to learn from the best!
The most memorable moment was seeing the kids in Fukushima, their happy faces, seeing some of my friends stories being animated, and completing the sakura tree I did with the other artists! The sakura tree didn’t have flowers so the idea was that the kids of Fukushima could help us make the tree blossom by sticking sakura flowers made of paper on the illustration :). It was all like a dream coming true. I was speechless to experience all those wonderful moments in Fukushima.
3. What’s your workspace like? How about the tools you use? Let us see it!
The tools I mostly use are the traditional ones. I do prefer using H pencil to draw rough lines, inking with G pen and Maru pen for manga pages and pan watercolors for illustrations. As for the toning work, since screentones are expensive to order, I digitally tone the pages.
4. How do you practice drawing?
“Doodling and drawing things from real life helps to keep the ‘eye and hand muscles’ trained.”
I practice drawing everyday. If you don’t draw everyday you can still train your eyes, but then it takes time for your hands to catch up. Although, if you draw everyday you can train your eyes and get better at drawing proportions. The eye is also a muscle just like your hand when you draw. So, when you start drawing by copying you are actually training your eye to detect the exact proportions to copy the picture. That’s why doodling and drawing things from real life helps to keep the “eye and hand muscles” trained.
5. Tell us how you schedule your creations! How long does it take for each step in the process? Which step is your favorite and least favorite?
“It just flows. And when you are really enjoying what you narrate, the better and faster the execution is.”
I schedule my creations depending the deadline. I firstly start with the brainstorming, secondly giving structure to the events, emotions, and actions in a serifu dashi (my dialog and action chart) page by page, and thirdly start doing the manga NAME and so on.
The mechanical work (penciling, inking, and toning) is by far my favorite part of the creative process because I just let my hands work on the pages without much analyzing. It’s an automatism process for me. It just flows. And when you are really enjoying what you narrate, the better and faster the execution is.
The challenging and exciting part is the NAME process and brainstorming. It’s easy to visualize events, actions, and emotions, but it takes time to tie them altogether. The pacing lecture of the panels must flow. Also the shapes of the panels and distribution of each page must be carefully thought. The NAME is like the blueprint to build a house. The base must be solid. Otherwise it will fall to pieces!
“The NAME is like the blueprint to build a house. The base must be solid. Otherwise it will fall to pieces!”
6. Tell us about your preferences when drawing manga? What kind of advice do you have for creating characters?
When drawing manga, it is better to think of the characters than the story events itself. Designing cool characters are effortless to draw, but giving them life is far more important. By knowing the character’s mission, emotions, and actions is what makes a good character.
“Knowing the character’s mission, emotions, and actions is what makes a good character.”
7. Tell us about your preference for manga storytelling! What kind of advice do you have for creating a story?
Start with a concept to communicate to the readers. My first SMA entry, “[Smiling] Blossom~!” (SMA EX1 Fukushima Sakuramori), the concept to communicate was clear, which was the theme: keep on smiling/returning a favor. With those themes I thought that the story had to end happily, with hope. And it’s not the mission. The mission is what the character wants to achieve, the concept is the theme you want the readers feel.
With a clear concept, the rest just flows! The story is easier to narrate and it’s like the characters have life. They have feelings which makes them charismatic and lovable.
8. Where do you get your ideas from?
I most of the time listen to anime OSTs. It inspires me a lot to visualize the character moving/interacting in a scene. Like the “Paprika” (Satoshi Kon) OST and “Card Captor Sakura” OST helped me to imagine magical scenes. Also, Joe Hisaishi’s sountracks he produce for Hayao Miyazaki, such as “Howl’s Moving Castle” and “Spirited Away,” for the sad moments. They help me to feel like the character should feel, so that I can relate to them and know how they feel and think and inspire the aura of magic and mystery in my stories.
9. Which manga or manga creator influenced your creative style? What impressed you about those works?
Story wise, I like how anime directors narrate, such as Satoshi Kon with his amazing and intricate stories and oneiric and surreal ideas.
I’ve also been influenced by Naoko Takeuchi’s illustrations, then the flawless CLAMP artists, with their beautiful art style, cute and charming characters, story, and panel composition. Like “Card Captor Sakura.” The panels are fresh and easy to read and CLAMP uses different shapes of panels—they use panels on top of others to narrate and action and another action almost at the same time—to tell the actions slowly (by using bigggg large panels) and quick actions (by using short or smaller panels). I like that kind of paneling, its dynamic.
10. What other skills or experiences help you create manga?
Studying Visual Arts at Nueva Escuela de Diseño y Comunicación in Buenos Aires helped me a lot to understand the art composition, drawing, color equilibrium, and other art techniques. It also helped me understand CLAMP’s panel composition and drawing by practicing training my eyes and hands.
With color equilibrium it’s not manga itself, meaning the narration part, but to illustrate better, make beautiful manga illustrations. It helped me to use colors in harmony. Without learning that, many artist apply lots of colors, which makes illustrations feel congested. When you know about color harmonies you can create different feelings.
11. What are the specific areas you focus on when creating manga for SMA?
The message you want to express to the readers, the emotions and the climax of the story.
12. What kind of advice have you received from the SMAC! Editor?
All kind of useful advice!! Taiyo taught me how to improve my narrating skills by using KSTK (Ki-Sho-Ten-Ketsu)!! It’s helping me a lot to narrate the sequences of the story in a dynamic way. If theres no KSTK, the story gets boring. This is definitely the golden ratio to narrate at a good pace in each chapter and the whole story itself!
I’m still waiting for the character lesson, but Taiyo had already taught me some things about character mission. Like the impossible the mission, the more exciting it is to the reader. I’m actually applying this to my characters in a previous manga NAME because the story was weak cuz the main character didn’t have a clear mission. Taiyo always says, “A character with a mission is a good character.” I’m so happy learning and improving my work! 🙂
“Taiyo taught me how to improve my narrating skills by using KSTK (Ki-Sho-Ten-Ketsu)!!”
13. Where there any moments you felt, “I’m glad to have entered this contest!”?
Of course, yes!! The moment when I got the news I was being invited to Japan!
A few months before, I wanted a new challenge and improve my skills. Having entered this contest was the fresh air I needed to continue doing what I love most: Drawing manga!
14. Are you planning any future projects?
I’m currently working on a manga series of fantasy and adventure called “Golondrina” for SMA! It’s about a girl named Celeste who wants to find her father on a strange world inhabited by human birds.
One of my inspirations was one of my favorite movies, “Hook” (with Robin Williams). The idea of landing to another world, the main character to become stronger to rescue his children, to know what makes you happy to fly became a good idea to work on for “Golondrina.”
15. Is there anything else you’d like to share with the readers?
To the readers and the readers that are actually aspiring artists, no matter what, fight for you want to achieve to make your dreams come true! 🙂
Thank you for your time Andrea senpai!
We’re filled to the brim with excitement to read Golondrina on a regular basis!
Argentina is filled is splendor and magic around every corner and in every person. Many people have channeled that power into creating manga. Let’s see the manga these magicians will unveil as they join the Master Class!!
Please show your worth, by joining & start creating for SILENT MANGA AUDITION® today!