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SMA Editorial Dept. SMA Editorial Dept. 03/06/2024 12 min read


Pen Name: Mika Nikolas
Country: The Philippines
Favorite manga: Vinland Saga
Favorite movie: Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust
Favorite quote: “Every warrior of light has, at least once, believed he was not a warrior of the light.” – Paulo Coelho

Entry title:Alone
Round: SMA20: “Memorable Smile”
Award: Honorable Mention

Be comfortable with the discomfort that comes with countless hours of practice and learning.

About SMA

How does it feel to receive a SILENT MANGA AUDITION® award?
You have no idea how happy this made me! I tried and tried, and now I’ve finally won! I’m so honored to receive an award. Thank you so much for the opportunity, and for taking the time to read this little manga of mine! Also, I’m super grateful to those who supported me! I’ll do my best when making my next manga! May God bless your hearts and have a good rest of the year!

What was the inspiration behind your awarded work?
I was studying a dance that I liked. The volume was at its highest and I could feel the groove of the music flowing through my veins. I was really feeling it! Then, I felt a shiver down my spine. I tried to brush it off, but my brain would just focus on the uneasiness that I felt. Then in my peripheral vision, I noticed a figure, standing there, waiting…  It was my mother! She smiled at me and told me that dinner was ready. I tried to play it super cool. I thought, “It’s all good. Everything is chill.”

But on the inside, I was dying of embarrassment ༼;´༎ຶ ۝ ༎ຶ༽ SOMEONE SAVE ME FROM ME! 

Dinner was delicious, by the way.

What challenges did you face while making your manga? How did you overcome them?
Honestly, I find everything difficult, since I was dealing with some huge changes in my life, and I felt my limitations as an artist. I got stuck on drawing the backgrounds. It was super hard for me, as I rarely draw them. To get through it, I studied references and perspectives, which helped. However, I had to revise them about a million times. This consumed a lot of my time, so I had to rush to add the screentones and try to fix everything else. Writing comedy is also intimidating for me because it needs to have an effective punchline to land. I’m glad it paid off though! Let’s go! There’s so much more that I need to learn and I’m so very, very excited to improve!

READ Mika Nikolas’ SMA20 ENTRY HERE!

About Your Manga

How and when did you start making manga? Any advice for beginners?
I started to make manga when I was in the fifth grade. I was amazed by the manga and anime that my friend showed me. Also, our friend was creating their own manga series, so I got inspired and did one myself! 

It was always a joy whenever my friends and classmates wanted to read what I’d done. They were so sweet. I really appreciate them for that because they motivated me to draw more. Along with my family of course! Without their support, I wouldn’t be here drawing. They’re all the best! 

If you really want to do this, invest your time in practicing and studying both drawing and/or writing. You don’t have to be perfect at all. Actually, having the mindset of a perfectionist hinders your growth as an artist. You must let go of perfection and allow yourself to make mistakes to keep improving. You’ve got this!

Do you draw your manga digitally or by hand? What are your go-to digital or analogue tools?
I draw my manga digitally! I use my old, busted Wacom tablet. As for programs, I use Krita to outline my drafts, then Medibang for the screen tones. Sometimes I’ll use Clip Studio Paint for everything: sketches, outlines, and screen tones.

What was the first manga you picked up?
I don’t exactly remember, but I think it was Papillon by Ueda Miwa-sensei. My friend brought the volumes to school, and we would read it during our break time. The art was so pretty that I felt like I was hypnotized and I completely devoured it.

Which manga changed your life?
Slam Dunk by Inoue Takehiko sensei. A few years ago, I was going through a difficult phase in my life. I figured that, if I continued to pour out my manly tears, I’d be dehydrated for months on end. So, I had to distract myself. Reading manga was one of those distractions.

This manga really helped me get through a tough time with its comedy. Sakuragi and other characters’ development shaped my mindset. Also, it reignited a lost flame within me. This is the reason why I’m pursuing this career. To Inoue-sensei, I’d like to say thank you so much for creating a beloved and inspiring manga. I wouldn’t be here if I hadn’t read your wonderful work!

Which manga character do you most identify with? Why?
I identify with Charmy Pappitson from Black Clover by Tabata Yuuki-sensei, because I love to eat! If I had a superpower, I would want it to revolve around food, since I love food! Plus, I always share my portions with others, especially my loved ones, and especially if I know it’s their favorite food. Sharing is caring!

What kind of manga do you want to make next?
I would like to make another comedy or a romance. I’m not entirely sure, so let’s see!

About You

What do you do when you’re not making manga? How do you relax?
There’s a lot of ways I can relax. I read a lot of books, mostly classical literature. It always amazes me how these stories stand the test of time, and I’m always curious to know why that is. Those deserve to be passed down, so I’m happy that I spare my time to read them. Also, I’m reading Urusei Yatsura by Takahashi Rumiko-sensei. It’s a really fun manga! Other than that, I just hang out with my family or chat with my friends. I really enjoy their presence and company. I also pray and count my blessings! It’s good to be reminded of the nice things that happened or the nice things I have. There’s a lot more! I try my best to be somewhat productive with my time.

Where do you see your manga career in 5 years time?
If I’m being realistic, hopefully I will have my debut as a manga artist within that time!

What manga making advice would you give to your younger self if you could?
Be comfortable with the discomfort that comes with countless hours of practice and learning. It will all be worth it in the end. Thank you for always choosing to persevere and draw!

What advice would you give to people entering the SILENT MANGA AUDITION®?
Have courage, my friend! There’s nothing wrong with failing, so try and try again. You have the passion to create stories through visual elements. Hone that gift and release your unique visions through multiple blank canvases.Also, don’t forget to drink and eat well, okay? Get some fresh air because your health matters! God bless you and do your best. I’m rooting for you!

Thank you, Mika Nikolas! 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.