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SMA Editorial Dept. SMA Editorial Dept. 06/05/2024 8 min read


Pen Name: Yam
Age: 23
Social network profiles: X: @Yam_too
Country: United States
Favorite manga: Mob Psycho 100, Mushishi 
Favorite movie: Princess Mononoke
Favorite quote: It’s not the net result of one’s life that’s important! It’s the day-to-day concerns, the personal victories, and the celebration of life… and love! It’s enough if people are able to experience the joy that each day can bring!”

Entry title:Duet
Round: SMA20: “Memorable Smile”
Award: Excellence Award

No matter what the outcome is, you can be proud of yourself for making something.

About SMA

How does it feel to receive a SILENT MANGA AUDITION® award?
I’m very honored! I was already happy that I was able to draw my entry, so I am even more happy to have my work read by others. Thank you so much for reading Duet!

What was the inspiration behind your awarded work?
I had read an article about the struggles of music composers, and was inspired to center the story around two pianists. I wanted to incorporate characters with a passion and a desire for the stage. Sometimes there are difficult feelings behind creating an artwork, but in the end it can be something to smile about, so I wanted a story that expressed that feeling.

What challenges did you face while making your manga? How did you overcome them?
I decided to enter the contest just one month before the deadline, and so I had a challenge getting everything done! I was working a lot at the time and only had a few days off, so I printed out a calendar and carefully planned my whole month with deadlines. I planned out time for brainstorming the concept, research, creating the script, designing the characters and setting, thumbnails, page layouts, and inking. During the last few days, my poor cat was so upset that I was at work all day, and then came home to work on the manga all night, that she sat on my sketchbook in protest! (Don’t worry, I gave her a lot of extra attention afterwards to make up for it.) There were still a lot of things I wanted to improve, but I’m happy I pushed myself to complete it.


About Your Manga

How and when did you start making manga? Any advice for beginners?
I used to make up stories and draw characters for them as a hobby around 2015. After deciding I wanted to publish my own works someday, I did fan art projects to study and practice manga. I am still a beginner, but I think it’s important to explore what you like, try new things, and listen to advice from artists you look up to or your teachers. Also, when doing a big project, I find it important to keep organized. Doing solid preparatory work first, like finalizing thumbnails, can save you a lot of time and effort later.

Do you draw your manga digitally or by hand? What are your go-to digital or analogue tools?
I use Clip Studio Paint, and sometimes do preparation work on pencil and paper.

What was the first manga you picked up?
Fruits Basket. I remember reading the first volume over and over.

Which manga changed your life?
Fruits Basket, again. It was the first manga I read and I loved the main character’s optimism and kindness.

Which manga character do you most identify with? Why?
Tomoyo Daidouji from Cardcaptor Sakura. She is very enthusiastic.

What kind of manga do you want to make next?
I want to make a cool story with lots of interesting monsters!

About You

What do you do when you’re not making manga? How do you relax?
I hang out with my cat and take walks. Sometimes, I take walks with my cat outside.

What industry do you work in (if manga making isn’t your primary job)?
Various part-time jobs in no specific industry. I’m still figuring that one out.

Where do you see your manga career in 5 years time?
I hope that, in 5 years, I will have turned some of the stories I am writing into fully-drawn manga. I don’t know where my career will go, but I want to have more work under my belt.

What manga making advice would you give to your younger self if you could?
It’s ok to take the things you like seriously. You should invest time and effort into making manga just because you want to do it. Also, please study more.

What advice would you give to people entering the SILENT MANGA AUDITION®?
Draw a story you enjoy! No matter what the outcome is, you can be proud of yourself for making something.

Thank you, Yam! 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.