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Mayuna Mizutani Mayuna Mizutani 14/07/2016 20 min read
July 2016 – The Four Year Anniversary of SILENT MANGA AUDITION®. Thanks to your support, we have received over 3000 manga entries in the last 4 years! For this commemorative 5th round, we have received over 600 entries in a 6 month period. From among those participants, DS STUDIO has emerged as the Grand Prize winner. DS STUDIO is an Indonesian duo who has taken part in every round of SMA from the very first round. They took an Honorable Mention in round 3, an Excellence Award runner-up in round 4, and continued to push the boundaries of their skills. Now, in round 5, their efforts have finally been rewarded with the Grand Prize. These 2 artists who have been with SMA from the beginning… Who are they? How do they approach drawing manga? What are their secret techniques? Let’s see what they have to say!



DS STUDIO: Simpleline and Damantine

1. How do you feel about being awarded the Grand-Prix in SMA?

Very excited and happy!! To be honest, we never imagined this outcome. We think that the other titles in the awards list are great. They present bold and unique ideas that we were unable to think of. To be awarded the Grand-Prix is really overwhelming for us! Thank you!!!  

2. You guys have been with us since Round 1, and have sent us 12 entries to date! Which one is your favorite (regardless of the results)? And why?

Our favorite entry so far is Sunflower! We love stories that have an implicit depth to them. We feel that we didn’t do this story justice in the way we drew it, so perhaps not everyone could appreciate the message. In Sunflower, there’s a shy boy, who likes a girl because of how she cares for the flowers. This kind of crush is unrelated to physical appearance or even personality. Even after the garden is ruined, the girl still cares for the flowers, and witnessing this, the boy decides to trust her. He overcomes his shyness and shares his secret garden with her. As he repairs the damaged stalk, it’s the girl’s turn to witness how devoted the boy is. They are united by their love of the sunflowers, which goes beyond physical or character attributes, beyond the human ego. In the final pages, they grow older and get married, but maybe we failed to deliver this message.
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“Sunflower” by DS STUDIO (2015, SMA4)

3. Do you have any special memories of SMA?

The whole journey itself is already a special memory. Receiving awards for SMA03 and SMA04 was very special, and of course we were so happy and surprised at winning the Grand-Prix of SMA05 that this will also become a wonderful memory for us. But our most special memory is being chosen for the Master Class and visiting the SMAC! team in Japan!

MASTER CLASS 2016, at the Certification Ceremony

4. What are your methods for getting good results?

We are a bit perfectionist, so we always put maximum effort into everything we do, including making manga, though the results don’t always reflect this. Sometimes we get frustrated by our lack of ability when we try to draw something but it doesn’t come out the way we wanted. It has been a journey of trial and error actually! We feel like we have a lot more to learn than the other manga creators out there. We always push ourselves and revise again and again until we can really feel the emotion coming out of the work. But sometimes time is just not on our side, so we also have a lot to learn about getting things down quickly. For storytelling, we practice by reading works by other creators, reading novels and song lyrics and by watching lots of movies. This really helps to expand our imaginations and we get tips on how to tell stories. But we think that we got a huge boost from watching SMAC!’s “Japanese Manga 101” series, which covers the technical parts of making manga. To those fellow artists out there, please watch “Japanese Manga 101”, it is really a good reference that you can’t get anywhere else!

“Japanese Manga 101” by Mocchi and Taiyo

5. How was DS STUDIO born?

In February 2011, the first ever Indonesian online comic website was launched – (the site is currently under re-development, so it may not be visit-able). We can post comics and illustrations there, comment on them, and chat for free. That’s where we (Simpleline and Damantine – both are nicknames we used on that site) met up. At first there were three of us, Simpleline, Damantine and Krakuya (Airin in honorable mention of SMA02). Together we formed DREAMERS STUDIO to compete in a small scale comic competition. After a while, Krakuya had to move to another country and left the group. So we changed the group name in DS STUDIO (Damantine Simpleline), as simple as that.



“Fragrant Memories” by Airin Budiman (2014, SMA2)

We are physically separated by 1000 km, so we always work together online. Thankfully, it’s really easy to communicate over long distances these days. We met face-to-face for the first time during a comic award night in September 2012, almost 2 years after we started working together. We met a second time in 2014 during the Anicult event, and a third time in 2016, thanks to SMAC!, when visiting Japan for the MasterClass event! So we’ve only met in person three times, about once every 2 years! We think we’re really lucky that we have the chemistry to work together this way. Many teams crash after a while, but we haven’t had any problems so far. Aside from making our own titles, we actively compete in comic competition to improve our skills. Our achievements so far : 2011 – 1st consolation prize winner – Animonster Magazine Comic Competition 03 2012 – 1st consolation prize winner – Indonesia National Comic Competition 2013 – 1st place winner – GenReon ITB National Comic Competition 2014 – 1st place winner – C-Generation National Comic Competition 2015 – 1st place winner – Indonesian Police Force National Comic Competition 2015 – Honorable Mention – SILENT MANGA AUDITION® 03 2015 – 1st place winner – Indonesian Peace Culture National Comic Competition 2015 – Excellence Award runner up – SILENT MANGA AUDITION ® 04 2016 – 3rd place winner – Indonesian Falcon Comic Competition 2016 – SMAC! MasterClass 2016 – Grand-Prix winner – SILENT MANGA AUDITION ® 05
2015 Police Force Cup

Trophy for the Indonesian Police Force National Comic Competition


6. You guys work as a duo, but not as a “writer” and “artist”. In that case, how do you guys usually divide the work?

The first step is always the story idea. After we’ve discussed the characters and story at length, the work flow goes as follows: 1. Simpleline makes the ‘name’ or script first if needed. 2. Damantine will make the outlines based on the ‘name’. 3. Simpleline will review and correct the outlines in terms of anatomy, panel flow, pace, timing, all that technical stuff. 4. Finish drawing. One of us will draw the characters, the other will do the backgrounds and effects. 5. Simpleline does the final review and revises if necessary 6. If there is dialog, Simpleline will do the lettering. Since we are separated by 1000 km, we have a shared folder on the internet to easily transfer files.

Simpleline’s workspace


Damnation’s workspace


7. What is your favorite manga?

Ugh… to choose a favorite is difficult since we love many manga, from dark surreal horrors by Junji Itou-Sensei to warm lovey dovey stories like Byousoku 5cm. But if we have to choose then: Simpleline: BILLYBAT by Naoki Urasawa and VAGABOND by Takehiko Inoue DSC_1472   Damantine: RAVE by Hiro Mashima and SHIGATSU WA KIMI NO USO by Naoshi Arakawa DSC_1469  

8. What is your favorite manga from the previous SMA rounds?

Simpleline’s favorite SMA manga is “Homesick Alien by Ichirou

“Homesick Alien” by Ichirou (2015, SMA3)

Damantine’s favorite SMA manga is “Sky Sky by Prema-ja

“sky sky” by Prema Ja (2013, SMA1)


9. As a Master Class member, you guys visited Japan during Feb-Mar 2016. How was it? What was your favorite part of the trip?

It was a fantastic experience. We were overwhelmed by how kindly you guys treated us, we feel honored and thankful for that. Learning about manga not just as a reading material, but as a part of the entertainment industry was something new for us. The workshops, and sitting at the same table as all the senseis, Tsukasa Hojo-sensei, Tetsuo Hara-sensei, Ryuji Tsugihara-sensei, and also Nobuhiko Horie-sama, was an awesome experience. Getting to know the whole team was also great! The energetic Taiyo-san <3 , it’s great to share knowledge with him! The kind, hardworking Mayu-san, gyaaaa <3 <3 <3 ! Smiley face, blondie Andrew-san, what a great smile he has <3 ! The strict but super caring Sayu-san <3, and of course Mr. cool and wise Mochii san <3 ! All of them are special! We would love to be invited again and again in the future 😉 <3

Master Class members strolling in the streets of Kyoto.


10. Please give a comment to the readers, as a Master Class member, and a GP winner!

Hi guys, we are DS Studio from Indonesia, and we thank you for being readers to all the manga artists out there. Without you guys, we are all nothing. We create things to convey feelings, stories and emotions to people, so without readers, there is less value in what we create. We know that we still have a lot to learn, so we need all the help we can get! Including opinions, comments and critiques from readers. Any help is appreciated. Our happiest moments are reading comments, knowing that our manga has given readers goosebumps, or made them laugh or cry. This is so valuable for us!!! We did get many comments like that on our “I’M HAPPY” and we’re really really grateful that the emotions we tried to convey through that work reached the readers! We promise to keep on growing and learning and to create more and more, for all the readers out there! Lastly, we want to ask all the readers and the artists out there to do their best, no matter how small or how unimportant a task may seem. Even if you’re just cooking a meal for someone special, or taking a walk in the park, or listening to a friend’s problems… just do your best! Appreciate life as it should be appreciated! “Dream as if you will live forever, Live as if you will die today” Thanks again guys!


Mayuna Mizutani

Mayuna Mizutani