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SMA Editorial Dept. SMA Editorial Dept. 16/04/2024 11 min read


Pen Name: Gentle Coda
Age: 23
Social network profiles: Youtube: @gentle coda Instagram: @gentlecoda X: @gentlecoda
Country: Australia
Favorite manga: Classmates, Memoirs of Amorous Gentlemen, NANA, Goodnight Punpun
Favorite movie: Sympathy for Mr.Vengeance
Favorite quote: “Are you the strongest because you’re Gojo Satoru, or are you Gojo Satoru because you’re the strongest?”

Entry title:Aria
Round: SMA20: “Memorable Smile”
Award: Grand Prix Runner-Up

Trust that you’ll improve the more you learn and practice.

About SMA

How does it feel to receive a SILENT MANGA AUDITION® award?
It feels very surreal. I am so thrilled and honored that the judges read and liked my work. I am incredibly grateful for everyone who has helped me along the way!

What was the inspiration behind your awarded work?
It came about when I was sitting at a cafe in Taiwan, journaling stream-of-consciousness about friendship. I was trying to understand what friendship is, how people become friends, what sorts of boundaries it has, etc. It led me to think about friends who came from different backgrounds. I was intrigued because people’s attitudes towards life are so different, yet something brought them to the same place at the same time. Then, I decided to make a manga about this aspect of fate.

What challenges did you face while making your manga? How did you overcome them?
Storyboarding was the most difficult for me. I thought a lot about the composition of the panels and the composition of the whole spread, as well as how to make the character carry out actions smoothly. I started off as a perfectionist, wanting each page to flow nicely right away. This led me to not draw anything, so instead I ended up drawing many versions of the storyboard and things began progressing!

READ Gentle Coda’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 12. I wrote short comics about my friends and anime crushes. It became a silly short series and it was just a lot of fun. I copied a lot of art from One Piece, Bleach, and Nisekoi: False Love when I was 13. I also wrote a silly 55-page shonen one-shot for a competition. I wrote it on manuscript paper, using ink nib pens and sticker screen tones. It was such an exciting, fun memory! After that, I took a long break, and only started drawing manga again in the last couple of years. So, my advice for people thinking of starting out, or revisiting manga after a long time, would be not to get too discouraged about the quality of your work. Please draw your ideas, even if you think they are bad or cringy. Trust that you’ll improve the more you learn and practice. Right now, the most important thing as a beginner is not to give up! I’m rooting for you.

Do you draw your manga digitally or by hand? What are your go-to digital or analogue tools?
I draw my manga digitally on Procreate, using an iPad and an Apple Pencil. I make a reference mood board on Procreate, then export it to Photos. My go-to tool is the split screen function, where I put my reference collage on the left quarter side of the screen, and my canvas on the right side.

What was the first manga you picked up?
My uncle collected manga, and I’d read them whenever I went to his house. The first one I read was Detective Conan, and it was seriously traumatizing. That being said, I love the secret identity trope to this day! My uncle also had the complete collections of Doraemon, Dragon Ball, and Dr. Slump, which I read around the same time.

Which manga changed your life?
I felt very emotionally invested in Hunter X Hunter, and it was the manga that made me start drawing digitally. I am now an illustrator who primarily draws digitally, and it all started when I became a fan of the art in HxH! I find Togashi-sensei’s characters all very charming, and some characters’ relationships were especially interesting to me, especially Killua and Gon’s friendship, as well as Hisoka’s morals. The first time I read it, I was literally crying throughout the whole arc. Before that arc, the story was very light and curious, with two kids traveling around. I was so shocked at how quickly they were thrown into a cruel world, and was very upset that they had to experience so much pain when they were still so young. The two boys had trained a lot and had become confident in their own strength, only to face a harsh reality that really pushed their characters to the edge. I loved that arc so much! I loved the way that HxH immersed me in its world and characters. Reading it for the first time was an unforgettable experience.

Which manga character do you most identify with? Why?
I identify with Nana Komatsu from NANA. Before, I’d never seen a character quite so realistically anxious about relationships as her. When reading her narration at the time, I felt so validated.

What kind of manga do you want to make next?
I want to make a coming-of-age drama that will gently break the readers’ hearts, tell them that it’s all going to be okay, and then heal them again.

About You

What do you do when you’re not making manga? How do you relax?
I am usually illustrating or making videos! To relax, I make Satosugu reels, read books, play video games, play badminton, and hang out with my family and friends. If I’m overseas, I find it relaxing to draw or read in cafes, try out local cuisine, and go sightseeing.

What industry do you work in (if manga making isn’t your primary job)?
I am an illustrator!

Where do you see your manga career in 5 years time?
I see myself publishing manga either online, in graphic novels, or making a webtoon! I also see myself drawing some Satosugu doujin. I also would like to build a community with my audience which feels like a cozy cafe.

What manga making advice would you give to your younger self if you could?
I would tell her to not stop drawing, and that it’s possible to make a living from art.

What advice would you give to people entering the SILENT MANGA AUDITION®?
Think about how you want your story to flow and how the composition of your page affects the clarity of the story for the readers. Draw your page in a way that is easy for the reader to follow the story. Do the best you can now because the world is excited to see more of your ideas!

Thank you, Gentle Coda! We’re eagerly awaiting 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.