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SMA Editorial Dept. SMA Editorial Dept. 26/03/2024 10 min read

Pen Name: Akari Sayaka
Age: 17
Social network profiles: Instagram: akari_sayaka2006,  X: @AkariSayaka01
Country: Ukraine
Favorite manga: Pandora hearts, Alice in Borderland, The Summer Hikaru Died
Favorite movie: Joker, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
Favorite quote:
“Noblesse oblige” (sounds cool)

Entry title:Paint my black in colors of smile
Round: SMA20: “Memorable Smile”
Award: Grand Prix Runner-Up

“There’s no limit to it! Just do it!

About SMA

How does it feel to receive a SILENT MANGA AUDITION® award?
Firstly, I thought I was still dreaming in my bed, when I saw the results. I was really surprised (even shocked) but mostly, of course, I felt proud and happy that my work was appreciated so highly in such a big manga competition!

What was the inspiration behind your awarded work?
I wanted to convey the character’s feelings with the help of interesting visual elements, many of which did not immediately come to mind. I was prompted to this idea by SMA’s previous works, as well as other works with interesting visual solutions. This inspired me to look at the everyday story from the other side and add interesting elements. The always introverted boy finally opens his heart and gets accepted…I like this story having a good end.

What challenges did you face while making your manga? How did you overcome them?
I started drawing this manga about a month before the deadline, after I finished a different work. At that time, the classes at my university also began. Another question was whether I could fit the story into 17 pages, but in the end everything went quite smoothly and I was able to submit the work before the deadline.

READ Akari Sayaka’s SMA20 ENTRY HERE!

About Your Manga

How and when did you start making manga? Any advice for beginners?
I started making manga when I was about 11 years old with my finger on my phone. Maybe I was inspired by manga since I first read one and wanted to create one by myself. As a beginner myself, I think it’s important to understand that there are many objective assessments of skills. However, there are even more subjective ones and comparing yourself to others is not always effective. No one is perfect, there will always be those who are better than you, but as for me, it is important to strive to ensure that compared to all of the “yesterday’s” you, today’s you are the best.

Do you draw your manga digitally or by hand? What are your go-to digital or analogue tools?
I often draw with pencil and paints, but my work place looks kinda messy. So I prefer to draw manga digitally with a graphic tablet, computer, pen and inspiration. 🙂

What was the first manga you picked up?
My first manga was Pandora hearts. I also think that it was one of the reasons why I started drawing manga; I was captivated by the graceful and sophisticated style of this manga. It gave me a boost.

Which manga changed your life?
I think it’s also Pandora hearts, because, I could say, it was the place where my dream started. However, if I were to name another manga that changed my life, it would be the 4-panel manga “Ukraine no Akari-chan,” which I started drawing from the first days of the war. I think that from that moment on, my life became even more closely connected with manga.

Which manga character do you most identify with? Why?
Had to think about this question for some time. And now I think that I could identify myself with Phos (Phosphophyllite) from The Land of Lustrous. I think I’m somewhat similar to her character at the beginning and the middle of the manga. We also have some similarities in hairstyle and I like her sense of humor. If associating myself with one of the Pokemon, then it is most likely Eevee. This is one of my favorite Pokemon.

What kind of manga do you want to make next?
I’m interested in creating mystic or dark mystic manga. Mysterious and elegant atmosphere, the contrast of images of beauty and cruelty, as well as the potential of this genre give me an inspiration to new ideas.

About You

What do you do when you’re not making manga? How do you relax?
When I don’t draw manga I usually do homework from university, but when I have time, I like to relax by drawing sketches in my notebook while watching anime or go for a walk with friends.

What industry do you work in (if manga making isn’t your primary job)?
Now I’m studying graphic design in university but want to become a professional manga artist.

Where do you see your manga career in 5 years time?
In 5 years I’d want to have my own popular manga series. I’d like to successfully create unusual and interesting manga in Japan and become a professional. I’m also going to strive to get an anime adaptation of my manga one day, just like in Bakuman!

What manga making advice would you give to your younger self if you could?
If I could give my past self an advice in making manga, it would be “Keep improving! Don’t give up!” I just wish my past self was more confident (as well as my current self, though). All my mistakes have helped me grow in one way or another, I appreciate them. The thing is not to repeat them again in the future.

What advice would you give to people entering the SILENT MANGA AUDITION®?
SILENT MANGA AUDITION® is a kind of project everyone can take part in and get a chance for their dreams to come true. Manga without dialogue is also a great way to improve your emotional expression skills, so if you feel up to it and want to get involved, there’s no limit to it! Just do it!

Thank you, Akari Sayaka! We’re eagerly expecting your next manga masterpiece!

There’s time until July 1st to join SMA21 and have a chance to develop your potential as a manga creator with us in Japan! 

SMA Editorial Dept.

SMA Editorial Dept.