Favorite manga: Inuyasha and Bleach
Favorite movie: Back to the Future Part II
Favorite quote: “Now tomorrow seems scary but the next week you will see it as something far away.”
Entry title: 坂道リメンバー(An Uphill Road to Remember)
Round: SMA16 “Moments of FEAR, JOY, or LOVE”
Award: Excellence Award
“The true heart of a story is the plot!”
- How does it feel to win a SILENT MANGA AUDITION® award?
It is a moment that fills you with illusion and hope. Not only have you won an important contest in the birthplace of manga, but renowned mangaka have recognized your work. That means that becoming a mangaka is not just a dream and that you are on the right path. In addition, people from all over the world can enjoy your work and vice versa. It is something wonderful.
- What was the inspiration behind your awarded work?
So far I was creating manga that didn’t interest me personally since I drew them for the reader, but being a little selfish I chose to do something that really moved me, because if the author doesn’t identify with his work, how are readers going to do it? A few months ago my grandfather passed away and I was moved thinking about what my grandmother must be feeling (who also passed away shortly after I won an award in SMA16). I feel that I have only been able to express 45% of what was in my head so I am not really happy with the work. It makes me see that I still have a lot to learn.
- What challenges did you face while making your manga? How did you overcome them?
The main challenge was to combine the present and past scenes without losing the understanding of the plot. I was also worried that the entrance and exit of the flashbacks would always be the same and boring to watch. The way to solve it was… invest more time to think well about how I wanted to do it haha.
READ ICHIGIN’S SMA16 ENTRY HERE!
About your Manga
- How and when did you start making manga? Any advice for beginners?
I started drawing manga to imitate the stories that I loved so much about katanas and spiritual powers. I drew my first serious manga when I was 13 years old and it had 21 pages. After that I haven’t stopped and from the end of 2016 when I met my master Toshio my level really went through the roof.
One piece of advice for beginners is to never start learning manga digitally. It is very important that you practice techniques such as hatching or kakiami in a traditional way. Another tip would be that before you start drawing pages take enough time to understand how to use the genkōyoshi and basic rules like introducing the readers with general panels instead of going into specific details directly.
- Do you draw your manga digitally or by hand? What are your go-to digital or analogue tools?
I started by hand and in fact I still like scratching the pen against the paper better but the digital way allows you to create faster and with higher quality, something vital to make a living from manga professionally.
- What was the first manga you picked up?
Before I had already seen some manga from classmates, but the first one I personally went to buy was volume 9 of ONE PIECE (Arlong vs. Luffy) when I was 9 or 10 years old. I remember that I didn’t even know that manga was read backwards compared to European books and I started reading it from the end… I’m still embarrassed haha.
- Which manga changed your life?
More than manga I would say anime. For me, Inuyasha’s story was the one that made me fall in love with Japan and everything that has to do with the country. Its culture, landscapes, legends, people, swords… I’ve even cried once after waking up from a dream where I was finally in Japan due to the anger of having to leave its movie landscapes. Thanks to Inuyasha, from a very young age I knew that my future was in Japan and today my wife is Japanese and as soon as I can I will move there to live with her finally.
- Which manga character do you most identify with? Why?
Definitely with Mashiro Moritaka from Bakuman. Before entering the world of manga and Japan, there weren’t too many things that interested me. I wasn’t interested in talking about football, cars, nightclubs… so a wide world opened up to me with manga. But apart from that trait, what I identify with the most is his aspiration to become a professional manga artist and his relationship with Miho Azuki, the protagonist. In the manga, they must be separated for several years until they fulfill their dreams and get married in order to finally be together. Like them, I have been away from my wife for more than 2 years because of the restrictions between countries and while the only thing we can both do is improve in our respective areas so that when we can meet we will have a more stable future.
- What kind of manga do you want to make next?
Although it is not the professional way of thinking, I would like to do something selfish and draw the kind of story composed of the elements that amaze me the most. Something full of grotesque creatures, demons, gods and katanas with incredible powers. Of course the plot would unfold in feudal Japan. Something that I would also love to draw would be a Blame or Ghost in the shell style theme. Sci-fi filled with robots and people with mechanical prosthetics embarking on journeys through a cyberpunk universe. But being more realistic, the most sensible thing is to continue with dramas of everyday life with touches of humor so that the reader feels easily identified.
- What do you do when you’re not making manga? How do you relax?
Well, if I’m not drawing manga I’m working on my other jobs or improving my Japanese so… haha. But when I really want to relax under the blinds, I grab a blanket and put on a good movie or read a novel. Walking also helps me a lot but the truth is that I don’t usually have more than a couple of free hours a day normally.
- What industry do you work in (if manga making isn’t your primary job?)
I am currently giving manga classes at a drawing academy. There I also give Japanese language lessons up to level N3-N2. On the other hand, I also work on a story for a Spanish publisher, although my goal is to debut in Japan and work there as a manga creator.
- Where do you see your manga career in 5 years’ time?
In Japan, without a doubt.
- What manga making advice would you give to your younger self if you could?
I would tell him to become a politician and earn a lot of money without working at all hahaha. Just kidding, I would tell him to stop drawing stupidly and take some time to learn the basics by watching shows like Urasawa Naoki’s “Manben” or “Jump Ryu” documentaries and video tutorials from the SILENT MANGA AUDITION® community. I have really learned a lot of key facts about how to create manga with them.
- What advice would you give to people entering the SILENT MANGA AUDITION®?
First of all, I would like to advise them to watch as many video tutorials from the SILENT MANGA AUDITION® community as they can. But seeing them is not enough. They should really internalize what is explained in those videos because they are the most essential keys of Japanese manga. I’d also like to tell them to make sure they read the size, weight, and page limit requirements for the contest before they even plan the story. Finally, I would like to tell them that a nice drawing gives a lot of points but the true heart of a story is the plot and the way it is built so I would like them to pay special attention to this part.
Thank you, Ichigin! We’re eagerly expecting your future masterpieces and hope that thinking about entering SMA18 makes your heart brimming with AFFECTION!
You have time until August 1st to WOW the judges and have a chance to develop your potential as a manga creator with us in Japan!