Name: Carrière Alexandre
Manga: The Black Cat
Round: SMA14: “Creature, Spirits and Monsters”
Award: Excellence Award
Favorite manga: City Hunter by Tsukasa Hojo and Monster by Naoki Urasawa
Favorite movie: The Apartment by Billy Wilder
Favorite band/musician: Georges Brassens
About the SMA
- How does it feel to win a SILENT MANGA AUDITION® award?
It’s just awesome! I’m very happy and grateful. When I saw my drawing on the banner, I felt really glad and excited! It motivates me a lot to do my best in the future.
- What was the inspiration behind your winning work?
Initially, I found the theme interesting but it didn’t really inspire me, it had something too “fantastic” for me I think, but I absolutely wanted to participate so I read a lot about creatures in French folklore. This is how I made the name of a first story about “the white lady”, a ghost that haunts castles but I didn’t develop it as I felt it didn’t embody the theme.
Time passed and there were only about twenty days left before the deadline, so I was really desperate! But while I was lying on my bed trying to come up with an idea, my cat laid down next to me and I suddenly remembered having read the story of the “Silver cat”. It was a cat that had the ability to disappear every night, and to bring back a coin to the one who had adopted it. This idea brought me closer to something more “real” and that matched what I liked to do, the story then came to me and I drew the name right away.
To summarize, I drew this story thanks to my cat. Thank you Maru-chan! 😄
- What challenges did you face making your manga? How did you overcome them?
I’m not very fast when I draw, my usual rhythm is one page a day. I pay a lot of attention to the final rendering of my pages, so I was a afraid I wouldn’t finish in time. But I know that the most important thing is to respect the deadline, because no matter what the pages look like, if they are not delivered on time, nobody will see them. So I did my best to draw faster and I realized that I could be quicker, especially by spending less time on useless details, which allowed me to increase my pace up to 2 pages a day. It was difficult but I will continue to do my best to increase my working speed.
Until the announcement of the results, I thought I had missed my drawings a little bit by going faster than usual, but the jury seems to have appreciated them and Tomizawa-sensei’s comment really reassured me. I would like to thank him and the SMAC editorial team for their comments, I think it will definitely serve me well in the future.
- How and when did you start making manga? Any advice for beginners?
I started making manga around the age of 16 with a friend who already drew manga. My advice might be to start with something short, only a few pages to be sure to finish it. Maybe even a yonkoma! And if you see that you like it, you will quickly want to continue and increase the difficulty! Of course, don’t forget to have fun!!
- What was the first manga you picked up?
I discovered manga in primary school, first through their animated adaptation. And the first one was “Cat’s Eye”! I was just completely hypnotized by this anime. I would watch it on TV and sing the opening over and over again! I annoyed my mother so much with Cat’s Eye that she finally agreed to buy me the DVD box set. Today, my mother still doesn’t know anything about manga, but she remembers the opening of Cat’s Eye!
Then, I discovered the original work from which the anime is adapted,and other works by Tsukasa Hojo-sensei like “City Hunter”. He is definitely my favorite mangaka and it’s because he was a member of the jury that I participated in the SMA in the first place.
- Which manga changed your life?
I think the manga that most significantly changed my life is “Bakuman” by Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata. In college, I had already drawn comics but I had never really done manga before. However, I’d been reading almost only manga for quite a while, and when I discovered Bakuman, I thought that I could try to do some myself. I tried and I haven’t stopped since, now I think about manga everyday. If I hadn’t read Bakuman, maybe I wouldn’t have drawn any at all, so I think this manga really changed my life.
- Which manga character do you most identify with? Why?
Maybe with Buntaro Mori, the protagonist of Ascension by Shin’ichi Sakamoto.
I have the impression that the author really put a lot of himself in this character and that it reflects the personality of an artist. I recognized myself in his obsession with climbing, the fact that all he thinks about is reaching his goal, even if it means depriving himself of social relations or furniture. His relationship to solitude seems to me close to that of an artist, who voluntarily isolates himself to concentrate on his art and flee the world around him, but at the same time could suffer from it and won’t always be able to do it alone. Without spoiling the end of the manga, I think it’s also a beautiful lesson and I can only encourage you to read it!
- What kind of manga do you want to make next?
There are many things and styles that I would like to explore! But I’d like to make manga set in reality, even when there’s a bit of fantasy in them. Slice of life, detective, thriller and sports are the genres that attract me the most.
I would also love to do a gourmet manga one day!!
- What do you do when you’re not making manga? How do you relax?
I usually read, watch movies or go skateboarding! At the moment, I’m also doing my best to improve my English and learn Japanese.
- What industry do you work in (If manga making isn’t your primary job)
I work with my father in antiques business, I find my father’s job fantastic, he has an incredible knowledge in everything related to antiques and art and is able to know at a glance to which period, artist or artistic movement an object belongs. Currently I have stopped my studies and I’m concentrating as much as possible on my goals regarding manga. I have decided on a deadline with my family in order to reach my goals and if I don’t succeed, I should go back to school and draw on the side.
- Where do you see your manga career in 5 years time?
In 5 years, I hope to be published in Japan and be able to live on manga. This is an ambitious goal but I’ll do my best to achieve it and make my work interesting for the readers.
- What advice would you give to people entering the SILENT MANGA AUDITION®?
To never give up, and to dare take the plunge! Sometimes you can think your work is not up to the task, but if you don’t send it in, you’ll never know. And if you fail, that’s part of the learning process, if you don’t give up and persevere I think you’ll always end up getting something. So please, let’s do our best!!
Carrière’ previous work!