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SMA Editorial Dept. SMA Editorial Dept. 09/04/2024 8 min read


Pen Name: Zaki­­
Age: 25
Social network profiles: Instagram: @Zaki_el_frutero X: @Zaki_el_frutero
Country: Spain
Favorite manga: Pluto
Favorite movie: The Apartment
Favorite quote: “A man is what he does with what has been made of him.”

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

“If you stay firm, drawing becomes something truly incredible.

About SMA

How does it feel to receive a SILENT MANGA AUDITION® award?
It feels great! As I’ve mentioned before, this SMA was my last chance to try working as a manga artist. Having this opportunity has given me the boost I needed.

What was the inspiration behind your awarded work?
It had been a long time since I drew horses, so I came up with a story that involved a lot of them!

What challenges did you face while making your manga? How did you overcome them?
The main issue was the lack of time. I had just finished a publication for a magazine, which left me with little time for the audition. The solution was simply to work all day long!


About Your Manga

How and when did you start making manga? Any advice for beginners?
I started drawing manga because becoming a manga artist became a viable career option in my country. I had always dreamt of being a manga artist, but working in such a field seemed impossible when I was younger. As soon as I saw the first issue of a domestic manga magazine, I knew I had to be a part of it!

My advice for people who are just starting is to keep all the drawings they make! Learning to draw takes time, but often things get lost along the way. Many times, I’ve found myself reviewing old drawings and saying, ‘Hmm, this stroke, or this way of drawing the nose has its charm. I should use it again.”

Do you draw your manga digitally or by hand? What are your go-to digital or analogue tools?
Generally, I do almost the entire process digitally, but I usually develop the storyboard with a pencil. If I need to take notes or emphasize strokes, I do it with a G-pen.

What was the first manga you picked up?
Honestly, I don’t remember, but I would bet it was a copy of Berserk that my cousin showed me when I was still little. I think that was my first exposure to manga!

Which manga changed your life?
Without a doubt, it was Billy Bat. I vividly recall the scene of Albert Einstein sitting in a chair and thinking, ‘This is the best thing I’ve ever seen in my life.’ The combination of real characters with a fictional plot truly fascinated me. When watching a historical movie, the thought that they are actually actors playing a role doesn’t fade from my mind. However, seeing it drawn in manga made it seem even more real than real life.

Which manga character do you most identify with? Why?
I’ve never thought about it, but I’ve always liked Edward from Fullmetal Alchemist. He’s so cool that it’s hard not to want to be like him.

What kind of manga do you want to make next?
I’ve always wanted to create humorous stories, but every time I end up developing long narratives, they become more dramatic than I’d like. In the future, I’d like to be able to create something funny and relaxed.

About You

What do you do when you’re not making manga? How do you relax?
I usually play video games, but I do it less and less, recently. I’ve partly lost interest, but I also think my wrist needs a break when I stop drawing. In recent years, I’ve been interested in cooking. It serves as a relaxing time between drawing sessions!

What industry do you work in (if manga making isn’t your primary job)?
Last year, I worked as a waiter to pay for my studies. I dedicated my remaining free time to trying to improve my drawing skills. Before I got into drawing, I used to work as a graphic designer.

Where do you see your manga career in 5 years time?
I don’t know, but I’ll do everything in my power to keep drawing.

What manga making advice would you give to your younger self if you could?
Learning to draw, especially in a short period of time, can be very frustrating. Improving your drawing skills means realizing that the drawings you thought were amazing a month ago were actually quite bad. Seeing flaws where there were none before makes you doubt your own judgment. It’s definitely an exhausting process! But if you stay firm, drawing becomes something truly incredible. I feel a little bad giving this kind of advice. I think my drawings are far from good, especially considering my age! But I hope that if someone sees themselves reflected in me, this advice helps them!

What advice would you give to people entering the SILENT MANGA AUDITION®?
Never give up!

Thank you, Zaki! 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.