This week’s Good Morning MASTERCLASS is the Chinese creative craftsman Wang Xiao Dong ☆
Wang Xiao Dong uses his background in web engineering to create the most “logical” manga of SMA.
Today he showed us how we can bring out the logic inside us 😉
Good Morning Wang Xiao Dong!
INTERVIEW WITH Wang Xiao Dong.
“I never thought that one day I could talk to Hara-sensei and Hojo-sensei face to face”
About where you live, anything the world should know about the place?
I live in Shijiazhuang, the provincial capital of the Hebei province in China. It’s not a big city, but there are buildings everywhere and it’s far away from nature; a typical industrial city. But, there are many parks all over the city, both big and small. The biggest park is called Yuxi Park. It’s peaceful and quiet and I always take walks there to relax my brain. I am glad there is a park like that near my home.
Any memorable moments in your manga creation career?
The trip to Tokyo in 2016! I had a great time there meeting the legendary sensei’s Tetsuo Hara-sensei, Tsukasa Hojo-sensei, and Ryuji Tsugihara-sensei (my idols), the great manga artists from all over the world, and the professional manga editors of “SMAC! THE WEB MAGAZINE”. That was really a wonderful experience!
What was the most memorable moment of your 2016 Tokyo trip?
The first full day was the best! In the morning Hojo-sensei gave the SMA MASTERCLASS 2016 a lecture on manga paneling and in the afternoon we talked with Hara-sensei, Hojo-sensei, and Tsugihara-sensei. Their manga influenced me very much when I was a child and I never thought that one day I could talk to them face to face. I was so shocked and excited, like a Michael Jackson fan seeing MJ in person for the first time. I’m soooo proud of it. It’s a great honor that I can show my friends for my whole life.
What is ONE manga creating tip you learned from the sensei’s you use today?
The paneling class from Hojo-sensei mades me pay more attention to the reader’s reading flow—which I have not used before. And Hara-sensei told me to make the characteristic of my characters easy to recognize, like adding some features that make them different from each other. I use their advice all the time in my creations now!
“At the age of 7 I knew I wanted to be a manga creator”
Any artists who had an effect on your manga style or you respect?
I like many manga styles and manga creators from all over the world. Both Japanese manga and Western comics. So I always try a variety of artistic styles with my manga. But, there are two manga artists who influenced me deeply. They are Akira Toriyama-sensei and Takehiko Inoue-sensei. When I saw “Dragon Ball” at the age of 7 I knew I wanted to be a manga creator haha. Then “Slam Dunk” shocked me. Inoue-sensei inherited and developed the exquisite artistic and storytelling style, which I am studying right now, all from Hojo-sensei.
Any specific titles that influenced you? Movies, dramas, or games?
For movies movies, “Spirited Away” (Sen to Chihiro no Kamaikakushi), “Schindler’s List”, “Les Choristes” (The Chorus), and “Wall-E”. “Fallout 3”, “World of Warcraft”, and “The Witcher 3” are games that really influence me. Each movie and game shows a wonderful world and a touching story. They inspire me to continue creating.
Was there a specific work that inspired “Reincarnation” (SMA5)?
Yes. I learned and used expressive techniques from Steven Spielberg’s “Schindler’s List” for “Reincarnation” (SMA5), actually. The movie is in black and white, but twice a little girl’s dress is shown in red. The first time the little girl is alive and the second she is dead. I used color in “Reincarnation” (SMA5) on the horn twice to emphasize it as the communication tool, the theme for SMA5. But it seems the color was removed on the website.
“I decided to follow my heart and learned drawing from scratch”
Did creating manga have an affect on your life?
Yeah, after I read “Dragon Ball” when I was 7-years-old I wanted to become a manga artist. But, I did’t have the chance to learn drawing and manga creation techniques until 2011. I was a network engineer after I graduated college, but I did’t like that. After a hard struggle, I decided to follow my heart and started learning drawing from scratch.
Any good tips for new manga creators?
I learned drawing in various ways, like textbooks, videos, even chatting with friends who are professional artists. I also spent some time studying human anatomy, expressions, poses, etc. But, as a manga creator, “Shin Miyamoto Musashi Densetsu” gives me great inspiration. In the video, we see how Inoue-sensei considers the plot of his manga and talks to his characters. Inoue-sensei’s artisan spirit drives me to improve all the time. TO THE ARTISAN SPIRIT!
We say, “Breathing life into characters” is the magic of manga artists. Tell us how you cast that magic!
I always feel the characters as myself. I feel their emotions and ask myself what would I do if that was me. Emotions pick up the real feelings that grab our hearts.
I also try to make the readers find some resonance in my characters, like in “The Nightmare Before Christmas” (SMA4). In the last moment I wanted to wake up the reader’s emotions.
“I plan the overall NAME with a topological graph”
Please say ONE THING about the “Manga NAME (DRAFT STORYBOARD)”!
The NAME reflects the content and the world view of the manga. It should be simple and clear, easy to identify, easy to read, and easy to remember. And because of my years of web engineering work, I have the habit of planning the overall NAME with a topological graph.
About Deadlines, how do you schedule your work?
First, there must be a good but vague idea I really want to create. Then I think, and think, until the vague idea becomes clear. When the story is running smoothly in my head, it’s time to start the NAME and I focus on how to tell the story smoothly and brilliantly. This is the most painful process because I consider the rhythm of the story, the film language, the characters performance, and so on. Fortunately, the NAME I use saves time :D. When the NAME is finished, the next step is the relaxed and happy inking. Inking my favorite step because I don’t need to consider a lot, just draw it!
“I am so proud my manga was recognized”
Is there any moments you felt, “Ah I’m glad I entered this competition”?
When I received the e-mail after SMA4 from “SMAC! THE WEB MAGAZINE” about winning the Grand Prix Runner-Up award and the invitation to Japan to meet the legendary sensei’s! Once I doubted whether to continue creating manga. Now I am so proud my manga was recognized! Amazing!
Any specific areas of focus when creating your SMA entries?
In the beginning I focused my attention on drawing. After the trip to Tokyo, I realized the story itself and the storytelling were the soul of a manga. Now I pay more attention to the NAME, paneling, and storytelling.
How do you feel about joining the SMA MASTERCLASS?
Wonderful! I couldn’t imagine that I would work with such a high level of editors and manga artists before entering SMA. Working with so many elites inspires me to continue my efforts. I will never stop learning.
What do you want to create from now on?
I am planning a series where an ancient emperor discovers a dangerous power to create worlds by painting and entering them. He wants to rule his world by using this power, but is stopped by a mysterious organization. But, the emperor seals himself and the power into a painting and plans to stage a comeback. Hundreds of years later our heroes arrive to deal with the emperor.
Finally, anything last words to the readers?
Hold on to your dream and fight for it! Thank you for reading!
Thank you for your time Wang Xiao Dong senpai!
We can’t wait to read how this emperor is dealt with in your next series!
There is a long creative history in China. Manga creators are now adding a new chapter to that history. Let’s see the innovation those creators make as they join the SMA MASTERCLASS!!
The world loves reading manga and your manga could be the next work everyone raves about! Join the SILENT MANGA AUDITION® today and let’s bring your manga to the world!