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- Hello Award Winners #16 Miguel Pérez

Enrico Croce Enrico Croce 02/10/2017 19 min read

A dating-app to find… TASTY GIRLFRIENDS!? YES! In his manga, WOMEN are PAELLA and ROBOTS are LOVE! The SPANISH MANGA SAMURAI! Will the SMA-Community (the readers, the creators and the editors) be charmed by his UNIQUE style!?

Hello, Miguel Pérez!
  “It all started from “Dragon Ball”!”    1) How did you begin creating Manga? Like many kids in my country, I grew up watching anime series like “Dragon Ball”, “Captain Tsubasa”, “Cardcaptor Sakura”, “Digimon”, “Pokémon”, “Neon Genesis Evangelion”, “Detective Conan”, and so on. They exerted a powerful influence on me that remains alive today. When I was 10, a friend borrowed me a volume of “Dragon Ball”. Because I liked the it so much, I copied almost panel by panel. Shortly after, I began attending drawing classes to improve my style. One day, my cousin introduced me to a new manga called “Naruto”, which opened my door to many other series. The seed was already planted, and I think it was just a matter of time for my two passions (manga and drawing) to blend.   2) What is your working environment like? Are you an analogue or digital person? Any unique tools you use to draw? Nothing too surprising! I like analogue the most, but I can also recognise the benefits of working in digital, so I’d say is 50/50 for me. Here you have a couple of photos. I have to admit it‘s not always this tidy. In the first picture, there are a pair of speakers (since I’m always listening to music), my main screen, a tablet I bought for 1/4th of the price of a Cintiq (you can call it my “second girlfriend” 😝). Pile of ongoing sketchbooks, books and my other tools are in the picture as well. In this second picture there are tablet-related stuff, color markers and small mannequins for pose reference. I also created some ink brushes in Clip Studio Paint that I use all the time!  
  “Seville also has a very artistic atmosphere with its many beautiful buildings.”   3 ) Anything the world should know about where you live? Interesting events/sights/foods/culture etc? I live in Seville, Capital of Andalucía in Spain. Their two most famous holidays are the Semana Santa (the annual tribute of the Passion of Jesus Christ celebrated by Catholic religious brotherhoods) and the Feria (the annual bullfights, bull running in the streets). These are only two weeks apart, so it’s possibly the best time to do some tourism here. It’s a hot city! So you’d better be prepared if you are planning to travel here in summer. Seville also has a very artistic atmosphere with its many beautiful buildings, and people here are very nice and friendly.  

Semana Santa in Spain

  4) Popular comics/manga in your country at this moment? Shonen manga are the most popular here in Spain. Worldwide popular Shonen manga are the ones who sell most, and Spain is no exception. “One Piece”, “Naruto”, “Attack on Titan”, “One-Punch Man” or recently “My Hero Academia” are some examples. Also, I was happy to hear that the recently published volumes of “JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure” are selling greatly. American superhero comics continue being widely popular, and I believe they represent more than 50% of the comics sold in Spain.   5) Are locally created comics/manga popular in your town? Do you know any local creators? Sadly, the answer is no. We have a very famous creator called Francisco Ibañez whose characters (like “Mortadello”, and “El Professor Bacterio”) are wildly known and popular, but I’d say apart from him there isn’t much left. Spanish comic market is not strong enough to let you make a living from it (let alone manga market which is almost non-existent). I know some local creators, but they all publish with American or French publishers, and then, with some luck, they can end up publishing in Spain. Most creators I know are the ones I met during my stay in Madrid. Some of my classmates are excellent artists now, but they are illustrators rather than comic artists. My two comics teachers of that time are indeed professionals of the comic industry, and I still keep in touch with them. Other than that, I don’t know many comic artist/mangaka.    
“Self-realizations is a fascinating part of the creation process!”    

6) The characters – are they all a robot/a monster?

Not at all! Haha. They are humans made of flesh and bones like you and I. If you‘re asking that because of the microwave-waitress or the weird things they do with their hair, they were intended to be metaphors, not actual occurrences.   7) Are there any inspirations for the characters? I don’t think so. While designing the characters, I was thinking of making them as extreme and distinct from one another as possible and to find some great ways to turn their hair into food. So I thought of 3 different hairstyles that could turn into food, and then it was a matter of making the most attractive designs having all of the above in mind.   8) How does the protagonist meet the girls? Through a dating app. We are witnessing blind dates, so the characters have only exchanged a few words before and is the first time they meet each other. That’s why he gets so surprised when he sees them entering through the door. The only exception being the waitress who works at the restaurant. She has nothing to do with the dating app.     9) Why do girls offer their “food-hair” to the boy? I was struggling with the concept of ”Unforgettable taste” and I knew I wanted my idea to be different from all the rest. So I thought: “Instead of actual food, what if I use people and make ‘taste’ the impression they leave on you?”. Since cannibalism was a little too much for the contest (😂), I solved it by making the girls give him a bit of their hair in the form of food. The reaction of the boy to that flavour (a metaphor for their personality) showed that they were too sweet, too bitter or too hard for him. Luckily enough he finally finds a delightful taste at the end. I ended up choosing hair over any other body part because it is very visual, distinctive and allows for some flexibility in making shapes that resemble food.   10) Is the story, based on real experiences of your own? I believe one can’t draw something that’s 0% him. If something appeals to you enough to make you invest a vast amount of time and effort into drawing it, it‘s because it contains something that appeals to you on a personal level. John Truby’s first piece of advice in his book for scriptwriters is: Write something that may change your life. Why? Because if a story is that important to you, it may be that important to a lot of people in the audience. And when you’re done writing the story, no matter what else happens, you’ve changed your life.” In my case, I spent some time in dating websites meeting all kinds of odd people and “wasting” my time. Then, all of a sudden, I met a wonderful girl with a heart as warm as a microwave who tasted so good that I couldn’t help but fall irresistibly in love with her. So, after having it, I realised instantly that my idea reflected that period of my life. I find those self-realizations to be a fascinating part of the process!   11) How long did it take to create the entry? Since this was a long one, I think I took about a month and a half. If I were to divide the process into parts, I’d say: Coming up with the idea was 10%, Script 10%, Character design 10%, Storyboard 10%, Drawing the pages 60%.   12) What SMA7 entry do you like the most?
Looking at the drawings alone, I find “Our Promised Land” and “Taste of Nostalgia” to be very competently drawn in general. “Taste of Nostalgia” has an interesting and cute art style. I’d like to see more from this artist.
Also, my compatriots of KenkyoStudio made a very interesting art style in “Sweet Decision”. If they can finally get rid of that stiffness that produces the use of 3d models, I believe they have a lot of potentials to make something great.
But, the one I enjoyed the most and I believe had the best idea out of all the participants, was “Soul of Chrome”. It also exudes a lot of passion in every panel!
My congrats to the creators.
  “Let’s work hard and let our talent dazzle the world!”   13) What are your future expectations? To make a living out of my comics/manga!! That would be priority number one for me. For that goal, I’m studying Japanese, taking part in contests and drawing the best stories I can. My most sincere wish is to make works that give the readers the same feeling I get when I read a great manga. That chill from the spine, that deep immersion, those genuine emotions flowing inside you… When I feel them I’m immensely grateful to the creator, but something inside me also tells me that I also can give them to the world and I feel an irresistible urge to draw! I love Japan and its culture. From manga, to literature, music, films, its traditions or even Go (the board game)! Japan also happens to be one of the very few places where you can make a living from your comics, so I believe Japan will have a lot to do with my future.   14) What do you expect to achieve by taking part in SMACommunity – The fans, readers and the Japanese pros? I was expecting to advance toward my dream of being a professional comic artist/ mangaka, improve my portfolio and gain some renown. Thank you very much for this opportunity! I expect the fans to have fun reading my entry, the community to do their very best while working on their manga and the Japanese pros to evaluate my manga and hopefully find something of value in it. I’m personally a big fan of “CITYHUNTER”, so it would be a blast if Tsukasa Hojo sensei found my entry to be of his liking.   15) Anything else you would like to share with the community? Manga is a lot of work. You must love it to be able to endure the process of making it. Possibilities are endless and as infinite as the human soul. It’s up to us, the next generation of creators to continue exploring them and bring to life some great manga as the world has never seen before. Let’s draw with boldness and great respect towards our medium. Let’s work hard and let our talent dazzle the world. Thanks to everyone!  

Miguel Perez! What a good looking guy! 😀

  WOOOW! Thank you for your warm words, Miguel! We hope to see more and more from you very soon! SMA8 has just ended and we want to THANK YOU all manga creators who taken part in the competition!   We will upload the results very soon and REVEAL THE NEW SMA9 theme! “Can’t wait”, did you say!? Read all the interviews on SMAC! website and find new inspirations for your new AWARD WINNING manga!
Enrico Croce

Enrico Croce