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アバター Penmaru 01/09/2016 16 min read
SMA MASTER CLASS, the future manga stars from SILENT MANGA AUDITION®. In this series of interviews we’ll uncover the secrets to their manga creation! In this installment we spoke with the first ever GRAND PRIX winner and our star from Indonesia  – Good morning, Alex Irzaqi sensei!
INTERVIEW WITH ALEX IRZAQI 1. What is your work space like?  My work space is simple. All I need are my laptop computer and a pen tablet. I move it around everywhere I want, whenever I like! I don’t like sitting down too long, so I change my work place often. That’s why my work place  is dynamic and high mobility, hahaha 😀 !

Alex’s work place… what’s the skull doing there!?

  2.What kind of tools do you use and which is your favorite? Let us see it! I prefer drawing digitally, ever since I made my debut as a comic artist. My tools are my old Wacom bamboo, ALIENWARE m11x, and illuststudio app. But, when the work needs special treatment I also draw traditionally. When I draw a comic in a traditional way, I use “Snowman drawing pen” and pencils. Here in Indonesia, Snowman drawing pen is the most popular drawing pen. It’s the only drawing pen we know!
a_my weapons -alienware n bamboo

ALIENWARE m11x (PC) and Wacom Bamboo (Pen tablet).


Indonesia’s favourite, Snowman Drawing Pen!

  3. Tell us how you schedule your creations! How long does it take for each step in the process? Which is your favorite and least favorite? Schedule is something I can’t describe. People tell me to write them down, but in reality it never works that way. “Plans always change,” I guess. Hahaha 😀 . Time durations vary, depending on the project.   For me, creating the storyboard is the hardest part. It takes 50 % of my power, haha 🙂 . My favorite part is “MENGARSIR (shading)”. To bring depth to the drawings, it must be done with single line strokes, which overlap with each other. It’s a tough process, but that’s why it’s so fun!
mengarsir traditional

From lines to tones, to the complete contrast.

mengarsir digital

Alex works in Full-Digital!

  4. Tell us about your preferences when creating manga! When drawing a manga, I always start from the dialogue first and do the drawing later. It makes it easier to decide the camera angles in the panels. When I draw a face, I start from the eyes. As for the whole body, it depends on what gesture I decide to draw. Every gesture has its own focus and I start drawing from that focus point. If the focus is on the hand, I start from the hand. If the focus is on the foot, I start from the foot… just like that. I take a lot of photo references to practice drawing. Mostly if I like the gesture or the lighting/shade of an object, I try to make a sketch of it.     5. Tell us about your preferences for manga storytelling! I like to focus on how emotions can be dramatically depicted in a scene. Most of the time I start from imagining the “key moments” – the main event that needs to be drawn on the page – in my mind. Like I said, dialogue helps me decide the camera angle. It decides the flow and the compositions of the panels, too. There’s one thing I want to talk about when drawing manga. Many people use truetype font for the sound effects, but I don’t like it. To me, sound effects should be DRAWN by hand! It is part of your artwork.

Hand drawn sound effects adds greater impact to the action.


Look how the sounds “dance”!

So, I keep saying this every time: “DON’T TYPE YOUR SOUND EFFECTS! DRAW IT!!”     6. Where do you get ideas from?  I believe it can come from anywhere. Many people ask the same questions, but ideas are everywhere around us. People just don’t realize it. The real question is not “how/where you get an idea,” but rather “how you use that idea and turn it into something real”… and that needs creativity, haha 🙂 . My inspirations come from other artists and their creations, like watching movies (especially TOKUSATSU in my case), and playing games (all hail Kojima!) can also become a trigger.

TOKUSATSU heroes, including the classics ones are massively popular to this day. The original “Kamen Rider” is back on screen in 2016.

Talking about inspirations… I sometimes re-read old comic books and the funny thing is that I always find and learn something new from it every time. That’s when I say, “God, Classic mangas are really super!”
a_my sketchbooks

Alex’s sketch books filled with graffiti.

  7. Do you have any other skills or experiences that help you create manga? No I don’t. I’m just a normal guy who can draw. I can grow sweet potatoes and dragon fruits in my garden. Does that count as skills?   8. Do you have a favorite manga or manga creator that influenced your creative style? I think I’ve already answered this question so many times! Hahaha 😀 . Well, it is always “Mugen no Juunin” and Samura Hiroaki sensei.
"Mugen no Junin" by Samura Hiroaki

“Mugen no Junin” by Samura Hiroaki sensei

But, it is true I was influenced by a lot  from other manga. Like “AKIRA,” “Hokuto no Ken,” “City Hunter,” “Dragon Ball” (who isn’t?), “Saint Seiya,” “Kamen Rider”…the lists go on.

“Fist of the North Stars” by Tetsuo Hara sensei


“City Hunter” by Tsukasa Hojo sensei


“Kamen Rider” by Shotaro Ishinomori sensei

  9. What are the specific areas you focus on when creating a manga for SMA? I focus on facial expressions and body gestures. If a character has to look stupid I make sure to draw them in a way the reader will say, “lol he looks very stupid!” If a character has to look scary or freaky I make sure to draw them in a way the reader will say, “damn! this guy’s a freak!” Also, while I’m drawing I focus on the overall quality by looking at my drawings over and over… then I will be asking myself endlessly questions like : “is this really what I want to draw?” / “No, I need something more…” / “hmm. This will do” / “Aha! This is exactly what I want!”   10.  Have you received any particularly help or advice from the editor? Of course I have gotten a lot of help and advice from my editors. My first Editor, Mr.G, sure helped me with many things in my first debut back in 2010. He is the one who first introduced the comic industry to me. He is also the one who gave me a comic book by Chan Mou.
a_chan mou

Chan Mou’s left an impression on Alex.

I find myself enjoying working with the guys from SMAC! editorial too. I think I will learn lot of things from them in the future. Taiyo-san is always good in triggering new ideas. You know what? The ending of my Sakuramori manga is actualy Mocchi-san’s idea. It turns out great. I love it!   11. Are you planning any future projects? What genre would you like to attempt in the future? I still have an ongoing Project: “Madasastra” ( I need to finish it before I think of another project). There’s a plan to have it published on SMAC! and I was very excited when Taiyo-san gave me the Japanese translation of it. I could imagine “Madasastra” as an anime with the narrator sounding like the ones in a Jidaigeki (Period Drama) movie. And I have some other ongoing projects, so I can’t think of another project right now.     12. Are there any moments you felt, “I’m glad I entered this contest!”? It is hard to pick one, SMA led me to many wonderful experiences. I don’t know which one would describe my happiness and my gratefulness… But I can tell you for sure, I’m happy to meet the editors of the SMAC! team and to get to know them. Having lot of friends is a blessing. When I’m chatting with the editors, just like I’m doing right now, I am glad to have entered SILENT MANGA AUDITION®!

Alex’s self portrait


Alex Irzaqi From Indonesia





Thank you very much, Alex senpai! Since winning the award he has been busy drawing for different mediums in his homeland, Indonesia, as well as for international clients. He’s also busy creating a new manga with SMAC! Web Magazine. His enthusiasm has excited all our creativity! Please send us your manga! Hopefully you, too, will join our SMA MASTERCLASS and create the future of manga together!