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!
The 4th Master Class is the winner of the GRAND PRIX award in SMA Round 4, Snippy MJ – from Vietnam!
At the tender age of 20, you’ll be amazed by her manga creation skills!
INTERVIEW WITH SNIPPY MJ
1. What’s your work space like? Do you usually play music when drawing?
My work space is usually a desk, a laptop, a tablet, and a lamp.
My traditional art tools are in a smaller cabinet beside me.
It’s usually fairly organized because I like to know where I can find my tools quickly.
And I play music all the time!
My favorite artist is myuuji.
It helps me “get in the zone” so to speak, block out all distractions from other people and puts me almost in a trance.
Half the time I don’t even hear what the people around me say.
2. What kind of tools do you use and which is your favorite? Let us see it!
I use both digital and traditional tools, but I lean more towards digital because it’s more convenient for a travelling student like me.
Digital: I use a MSI laptop, a Wacom Intuous Draw. My art programs are ClipStudio EX and Artweaver.
Traditional: Ink, G-pens, manga paper, white ink and rulers mostly!
3. 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?
To create something, usually I brainstorm an idea, then I write a short script for it, without thinking about camera angles, expressions and other stuff.
Then I jump straight into making very rough sketches for the pages (I don’t do a manga NAME (draft storyboard) usually).
When I do sketches, I change the page layouts and gauge the amount of content I should put on each page.
After the sketches give me a general idea of what each panel contains, I go straight to line art.
And after I do line art for the page, I do the shadings and add the dialogue.
My least favorite process would be sketching, since that is the most intellectually draining part.
4. Tell us about your preferences when creating manga!
My preference for drawing manga and art in general is MINIMALISM and SIMPLICITY: how to draw the least yet convey the most.
I prefer to tell the story through the atmosphere more than the dialogue, so I usually keep the dialogue to a minimum.
I like white spaces and strong clear lines, because I believe that empty spaces can speak much more than details.
5. Tell us about your preferences for manga storytelling!
Comparatively, I prefer neutral expressions to overly exaggerated ones.
I don’t like fancy panels so my panels are very simple in shape.
I like unique, exotic fonts that fits the general atmosphere of the comic.
If it’s a shonen scifi or some strong genre, I’d use sans serif fonts.
If it’s a horror, I’d find a scribbly, typewriter font.
6. Where do you get ideas from?
My ideas usually come from my imagination, from other stories, manga, comics, and sometimes real life.
A lot of them are just random thoughts of scenarios or just an image that popped into my mind, and then I create a story for it.
7. Do you have any other skills or experiences that help you create manga?
I don’t think I have any special skills, maybe just my imagination hahaha 😀 !
8. Do you have a favorite manga or manga creator that influenced your creative style?
I love Junji Ito’s works and I read most of his works religiously and carefully.
His style is terrifying and unique.
I think I also drew some inspiration from Kubo Tite’s (Bleach) clean, minimalist style.
9. Have you received any useful help or advice from the editor?
I’ve received much advice about the flow of panels and camera angles that is very helpful.
The editors remind me to vary my drawings to create more excitement and dynamics.
10. Are you planning any future projects? What genre would you like to attempt in the future?
I’m planning for a Sci-fi – Fantasy manga about robots with human emotions!
It’s going to be LGBTQA+ friendly because robots are essentially genderless/genderfluid.
It’s going to have lots of feels and hopefully provide an interesting take on genres dealing with mechas and robots.
11. What are the specific areas you focus on when drawing for SMA?
When I draw for SMA, I tend to focus more on the atmosphere of the work rather than the finer details and the background.
I focus more on the effective use of empty space and facial expression to convey feelings.
12. Are there any moments you felt: “I’m glad I entered this contest!”
Before winning a Grand Prix, I actually knew about SILENT MANGA AUDITION® for two years.
I planned to join the other two auditions, but I never got motivated enough to do so.
Half because I had a story, but the story was too complex and long. Half because I was lazy and did not leave enough time for drawing.
The SMA that I won a Grand Prix was actually an immense mental motivation.
The manga was actually finished within one week, with a short story prompt that I thought up long ago.
I told myself flat out that I had to do it or nothing.
I’m glad I challenged myself to see this through to the end, to prove to myself that I can.
Master class profile:
Thank you so much, Snippy senpai!
Currently she’s in NY, far away from Vietnam, and creating her next series while studying abroad.
Lets make it a great series together!
Are you inspired by her?
If so, please enter SILENT MANGA AUDITION®!
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