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HELLO SMA20 AWARD WINNER, Dodo & Toshi!

SMA Editorial Dept. SMA Editorial Dept. 20/05/2024 11 min read


PROFILE

Pen Name: Dodo & Toshi
Age: Dodo: 34 Toshi: 28
Social network profiles: Dodo: @matteo_dodo (Instagram), Toshi: @Antonio Vangone (Facebook) @ant_vangone(Instagram) 
Country: Italy
Favorite manga: Dodo: Witch Hat Atelier, Eyeshield 21, Princess Jellyfish Saint Seiya Toshi: Honey & Clover, Lucifer and the Biscuit Hammer, Vinland Saga, Delicious in Dungeon, Mushishi 
Favorite movie: Dodo: Call Me By Your Name, Departures, The Lord of the Rings, Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind Toshi: Solaris, Castle in the Sky
Favorite quote:
Dodo: “Art conveys things that cannot be conveyed by words.” Toshi: “You have no enemies… No one has any enemies.”

Entry title:HOMECOMINGS
Round: SMA20: “Memorable Smile”
Award: Excellence Award Runner-Up


You can learn from everything you love.

About SMA

How does it feel to receive a SILENT MANGA AUDITION® award?

We’re very happy, especially because it was the first time we worked together, and we want to use this experience and the feedback we received to reach even higher artistic peaks!

What was the inspiration behind your awarded work?
We tried to recall the carefree atmosphere of our childhood afternoons, playing with other kids and enjoying joyful moments together with our parents. By narrating a ‘dual story’ involving both father and son, we aimed to depict a common scenario experienced daily by many families.

What challenges did you face while making your manga? How did you overcome them?
It wasn’t easy to find the right pace for the story. That’s why we read a lot of slice-of-life manga for inspiration. We had to think a lot about page turns to give momentum to the story.
Moreover, during the creative process, it’s easy to fill pages with tons of ideas, but that can make it a bit complex to choose the ones that are winning ideas.

READ Dodo & Toshi’s SMA20 ENTRY HERE!



About Your Manga

How and when did you start making manga? Any advice for beginners?
Dodo: I began drawing manga as a self-taught wannabe artist in high school. At that time, I embarked on lengthy, nearly endless projects on grid notebooks. At the age of 23, I decided to enroll in a course taught by a professional, and within two years, my techniques completely transformed! If I were to give advice, I would say to study extensively and seek feedback from professionals to improve your own art.

Toshi: This was my first manga script! Of course, I studied a lot, but I’m still amazed by the success of Homecomings. Maybe it’s too early for me to give advice, but I think it’s important to focus on the unique narrative possibilities offered by manga.


Do you draw your manga digitally or by hand? What are your go-to digital or analogue tools?
Dodo: I mainly draw manga digitally. It’s much faster for a variety of reasons, especially when it comes to perspective. However, since I definitely love drawing by hand more, I’m seeking a balance between the two methods by creating digital sketches and then inking by hand with my trusted saji-pen.

What was the first manga you picked up?
Dodo: I think it was Saint Seiya! I was completely obsessed with the saints and their shiny armor. I watched the anime first, so, when I saw the manga on the newsstand, I was amazed!

Toshi: It was Dragon Ball! I was captivated by its carefree atmosphere.

Which manga changed your life?
Dodo: Certainly, Saint Seiya had a great impact on my life, but I would say there have been several which were impactful for different reasons. One that has struck me very recently is Blue Period by Tsubasa Yamaguchi. It perfectly describes the sensations and difficulties one feels when drawing. The thoughts of those who enter the art world are the same in Italy as they are in Japan. I felt very seen and thought, “How wonderful to be able to communicate so directly with the reader!”

Toshi: Perhaps Mushishi. The depth and somber beauty of the stories told by Urushibara-sensei made me realize how a whole universe could be contained within a few pages. It encouraged me to read more and more!


Which manga character do you most identify with? Why?
Dodo: I’d say Choji from Naruto because he’s a big eater! (Just joking.)I consider myself a calm person who engages in a lot of self-reflection. I generally tend to see the positive side of things. For all these reasons, I’d say Ami Mizuno from Sailor Moon, also known as Sailor Mercury!

Toshi: I identify with Takemoto from Honey & Clover. Despite the difficulties he encounters, he strives to keep moving forward, especially as an artist. Thinking about how much he grew throughout the story still brings tears to my eyes! Like him, I hope to discover how far I can go without looking back.

What kind of manga do you want to make next?
We are working together again on an entry for the upcoming SMA. We want to create something very different with a fantasy setting. We can’t say anything other than that right now!




About You

What do you do when you’re not making manga? How do you relax?
Dodo: I primarily relax by coloring with Copics, playing video games (I’m a big RPG enthusiast), reading manga, and taking long walks in the countryside around my home.

Toshi: Of course, I read a lot! I also love playing video games, and when I have the time, I enjoy making bread at home. 

What industry do you work in (if manga making isn’t your primary job)?
Dodo: I work as a data scientist for an international bank, but I also teach manga techniques at a school in Lucca called the “Lucca Manga School”.

Toshi: I’m a writer.

Where do you see your manga career in 5 years time?
In five years, we see ourselves with a serialized manga, still created in tandem! The goal isn’t just to publish in Italy but to make ourselves known worldwide!



What manga making advice would you give to your younger self if you could?
Dodo: Stop dwelling on those never-ending projects that will never see the light of day! Focus on short but well-crafted stories, give it your all, and believe in your skills.

Toshi: Keep reading a lot of different stuff! You can learn from everything you love.

What advice would you give to people entering the SILENT MANGA AUDITION®?
Believe in your stories! Even if your project isn’t as perfect as you imagined, it’s better to participate with something finished that you’re proud of, rather than to aim for perfection and not take part. 😉


Thank you, Dodo & Toshi! 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.

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