SMAC! Web Magazine

EX5 Interview #1 – Akimichi

PROFILE 

Name: Akimichi (Lisa Vasilieva) 

Age: 21 

Country: Russian Federation  

Favorite manga: Fullmetal Alchemist; Bakuman 

Favorite movie: Monsters Inc.

Favorite quote: “Work so hard that people think the aliens did it.”

 

“… ‘more’ doesn’t necessarily mean ‘better’”

 

1. How does it feel to win a SILENT MANGA AUDITION® award?

Fantastic! When the results were announced, I was commuting home with a very low internet connection so I first found out I’d won when my friend sent a screenshot and texted “AAA Lisaaa!!” All my friends and family then spent the rest of the day texting their congratulations. It’s amazing to have such support! 

 

2. What were your first impressions of the theme?

Ugh…. 🙂

For me it’s always difficult to connect the theme with my ideas and the Kumamoto setting. Personally, I hear “Do your best!” quite often from family, friends, trainers and teachers, and it’s inspiring! So I decided to put these feeling inside my manga so I can say “do your best” to the readers.

View of the Neva River, Saint Petersburg… Akimichi’s hometown.

 

3. What was the inspiration behind your winning work?

I don’t really know what inspired me, the idea just came to me as I was getting ready for work. I found myself developing the idea as I was applying my makeup and choosing what clothes to wear. On the subway, I started sketching characters and then began laying out the story when I got home. 

 

4. What challenges did you face making your manga? How did you overcome them? 

Probably the hardest part was drawing the manga in a very clear and understandable way, and panel layouts are still a big challenge. I draw several versions of the story and show them to my sister and friends to help determine which layout works best. My sister always gets tired reading them all! 

Another trick I use to help through the difficult parts is to imagine that I’m my favorite author to get another point of view. So whenever I run into a problem, I imagine what Niizuma Eiji (author of Bakuman) would do! He’s my hero… silly I know, but it works for me. 

Not even a Whitewalker can stop Akimichi’s concentration!

 

5. What did you learn from making your manga? Did you pick up any new skills or techniques?

That “more” doesn’t necessarily mean “better”.. 😉 After reading “Childhood” (SMA6) by Jeet Zdung, I realized that a simple and short manga can be beautiful. At only 3 pages, Jeet created a simple and effective story that lost no meaning, so I decided 5 pages was enough for mine.

Another discovery from the last round is… there’s a whole big world out there! I love drawing, but it’s just as important to experience the real world so I can put that in my art. Manga has had such an impact on my life, but my biggest inspiration comes from spending time with my friends and family, gaining knowledge at University, teaching children how to draw and expressing myself in my dance studio. 

It might seem like all these activities are steeling attention and strength from my art, but it’s actually making me more energized to draw! I find inspiration for my manga everywhere, so it’s important I embrace the world outside my drawing desk! 

 

 

6. How important is entering the SILENT MANGA AUDITION® in relation to your professional goals?

I discovered the SILENT MANGA AUDITION® during a tough period in my life and helped me a lot. It always motivates me to push though my boundaries and try something new, it teaches me to learn and keep searching for better ways to tell my stories. It’s amazing to see how everyone’s skills have improved over each round! 

Another important gift from the SMA is the amazing friends I’ve made! I’ve met so many kind people who help inspire and give me strength. I’m also grateful to have met the editors who teach me a lot… so thank you everyone!  

Akimichi enjoying her work/life balance

 

7. What advice would you give to people entering the SILENT MANGA AUDITION®?

Always fight for your dreams and don’t be afraid of the adventures life gives you! Making manga takes time, determination and effort, but it’s worth it.

 

Akimichi’s EX5 award winning manga, “New Way” (hit the page to read!)


Christopher Tordoff