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How to create manga with the theme "MAMMA" – an open letter from Chairman Mochida

Taiyo Nakashima Taiyo Nakashima 19/02/2015 8 min read
Good day. Mochida here, the chairman of the SILENT MANGA AUDITION Committee. The deadline for the 3rd round, 2015 is closing in. How is everyone’s manga coming along? Here at the committee, with Nobuhiko Horie, Hojo Sensei, Hara Sensei, and Tsugihara Sensei, we are all looking forward to reading your entries, from all corners of the world. I am writing this today, as we have heard several times how the theme “Mamma(Mother)” is more difficult than previous years. I will give you some advice, in the hopes of giving you some inspiration for creating a new piece of work. I hope this will help you create something to enter in this year’s competition. When a pro manga artist and an editor get together to work on a piece, we often start by creating the characters first, before the storyline. For the theme of “Mamma(mother)”, we have several approaches, such as the following: 20150219_141025 1. “Mother” as the main character In this approach, we make the “Mother” the main character and consider “What kind of mother will create an interesting scene?” The way I approach this is to place the phrase “The world’s most…” before the subject. For example: “The world’s most caring mother”, “The world’s most powerful mother”, “The world’s wimpiest mother” etc. Exaggerate some aspects of the main character to think of interesting storylines. If interesting ideas begin to pop up, draw those moments as Manga, trying out new ideas to make it even more interesting, such as drawing her as an animal instead of as a human, etc. Once you have several “scenes” that are good, you can combine them to form a storyline, not the other way around.   2. Think of a main character A, and their mother as character B Here we create a charming main character, then create their mother as an accompanying character. Let’s say, “The world’s most violent man”, “The world’s weakest man”, “The world’s funniest clown”, “The world’s most ordinary man” etc. Exaggerate the main character’s details, then think “What kind of mother would that kind of person have?” The important thing to consider here is how the characters A and B will interact and what effect it will have on their emotions. Imagining you are one of these characters might give you some ideas for interactions between them. Again, try drawing an actual scene with those characters, maybe with the subject drawn as something non-human etc.   3. Think of a different interpretation of the word “Mother”. The word “Mother” has many meanings besides “the female parent of a son or a daughter”. There are many sayings in many languages that include the word mother: “Mother Nature”, “Mothership”, “The Mother Land” “Mother Earth”, etc. So there are many different scenarios that you can create with the word “Mother”. Place your character in one, and try to create episodes that you can combine to weave a storyline. Here is one that I imagined: Place your character on “Mother Earth” 😉 in an uninhabited wilderness or wasteland, where no plants or animals seem to exist. What would that character feel? He may have been walking for days, exhausted and on the brink of despair… Then he finds a flower, small but strong, growing in the soil. He may be overwhelmed with feelings about “Mother Nature”, the Earth as the mother of all living things, and the love associated with it. This is just an example, but try to find those little “Moments(episodes)”. See if you can weave a storyline with those moments.   So there you have it. Three ways to approach creating manga with the theme of “Mamma(Mother)”. You are not limited to those three ways of course. Finding your own way to create is the most enjoyable part of being an artist. Please use my advice to create your own SILENT MANGA. The number of pages does not matter. Whether 5 pages or 17 pages, all your entries will be read and reviewed by us. The judges include Tsukasa Hojo, Tetsuo Hara and Ryuji Tsugihara and many other artists and pro-editors on the front lines of the Japanese manga industry, including our representative director Nobuhiko Horie. Whether you think you are ready to cut it as a pro, or you just starting out, we will read your entry. Send your work in, and let your endeavor in manga start from there. We are sincerely looking forward to reading your Manga. 20150219_141304Shuichi Mochida, Chairman, SILENT MANGA AUDITION Committee  
Taiyo Nakashima

Taiyo Nakashima