On the 9th Itten Toppa (a.k.a Break through with your strengh) , Indonesian Masterclass veteran, MAGE, delivered an entry worthy of the contests’ namesake.
Run by Monthly Comic Zenon, Itten Toppa is where those confident in their skills show in 17 pages what they are best at. With participants aiming to become professionals, MAGE’s work stood out and granted her the Excellence award!
MAGE’s entry received great praise from the Zenon editorial department as well as the special judge, Takano Hitomi sensei, known by the hit slice of life manga “Watashi no Shounen”.
Takano Hitomi sensei’s comment
“Is there anything that this artist can't draw?" is what I thought while seeing the variety of styles in composition and background. This work has an amazingly rich use of screen. I could understand the feelings of the character who made the decision to live inside the loop. I would have liked to see a small scene of their daily life so that the reader should enjoy a "break" while exploring the story.
Congratulations on your win!
MAGE : I can’t express how happy I am to be awarded an Excellence Award in Itten Toppa. I’m honored for this opportunity and it encourages me to do even better for my future works!
Q: How did you come up with the story ?
A: I wanted to introduce to the readers the Balinese culture and tradition. I have always been fascinated with them, and it’s been years since I worked on a story with this theme, so I was pumped to make a story with a mythical touch.
Q: What was your favorite part to draw?
A: I’d say I enjoyed drawing the expressions the most. Especially in page 14, where Kala shows the sadness in his face after hiding it for some time. Kala is interesting to draw because he’s a quiet character, so his expression should be quite muted but when he feels sad, I must be able to show his deep sadness to the readers.
Q: Did you experience any struggles with this work?
A: I had this story for quite a while, but it was meant to make it as a long one shot, so squeezing it into 17 pages was pretty challenging. I kept having insecurities about ‘would the readers feel the connection to the characters?’ ‘are the characters’ backgrounds established enough?’ etc.
Q: How do you feel about your experience writing for Comic Zenon and working with an editor?
A: The whole process of working this manga with my editor was very delightful, helped me a lot to reach the point where I was thinking ‘this is it, this the story I want to make’. I also learnt more about focusing the POV and how to introduce character better, which I admit still struggle a lot.
Q: Any advice for aspiring mangakas or future Itten Toppa participants?
A: Having someone that can give feedback to your manga would be recommended. Especially when you want to make something that can be enjoyed by many people, not only by yourself.
You can read MAGE’S winning work HERE!