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Meet the Artists Village MasterClass #3: Sideburn004

SMA Editorial Dept. SMA Editorial Dept. 02/06/2023 7 min read

Pen Name: Sideburn004
Country: Russia
Favorite manga: My Hero Academia, BLEACH

SMA8 Grand Prix: “Checkmate”
Japanese Debut Manga: “Midnight Shadow”

“Here, I can concentrate on making manga and devote myself to my work. That’s the thing I’m most happy about.


What made you decide to come to Japan?

I came to Japan because I thought it would be a great opportunity to make a career out of drawing manga. In my home country of Russia, the number of young people who read manga is increasing, but the market is not yet large enough to make drawing manga a full-time job. I did not want my manga journey to end as a hobby, so COAMIX’s invitation to come and create manga in Japan was a unique opportunity for me.

On the other hand, I was also anxious about moving to Japan. It’s a long way from my home country and I was not able to speak in Japanese. When I told my family about my intention to go to Japan, they could not hide their surprise. They knew that I had entered the SMA and that I had received good reviews, but they did not expect that I would accept an invitation from COAMIX and decide to move to Japan. Perhaps it was because my family did not know much about Japan, but it was difficult for them to imagine me working in Japan, as the profession of “manga artist” is not yet established in Russia. In the end, however, they knew that I was determined and respected my decision.

What is your impression of Japan, Kumamoto, and Aso?

I feel that the nature here is rich and wonderful. In particular, the vast starry sky is an inspiring landscape that I wanted to depict in my work during the 2019 Kumamoto International Manga Camp in Takamori. I was also impressed by the view from Daikanbo.

Takachiho Gorge in Miyazaki Prefecture, where the SMA editors took us on a day off, is also a mysterious and unforgettable place.

How do you feel about the Artists Village Aso 096k’s location in Kumamoto as an environment for drawing manga? What’s your impression of the living environment and food?

I am most happy that I can concentrate on my manga here. In my home country, I was working another job while drawing manga. I was so busy I felt that I could not even spare time for commuting and shopping for daily necessities. Also, Takamori Town in Kumamoto is quiet without the noise of urban areas, so I can concentrate on thinking about my original manga and drawing.

The residential buildings are well-equipped for daily life, so it’s easy to live there. The meals prepared by the staff, who are excellent cooks, are delicious, and most importantly, I feel the benefit of not having to spend time cooking and shopping for food.

What does an average day at the Artists Village look like for you?

I get up around 8:00 in the morning and start working in the art studio at 10:00. After lunch, I return to work until about 18:00. If I feel like working after dinner, I may continue. In the evening, I spend most of my time in the residence building watching TV, drawing, or reading.

What are your goals for the future?

My goal is to achieve results in the form of a series of my own work or a book.

Please give a message to those who are thinking about working at the Artists Village Aso 096k!

Don’t be afraid, as I was, and take this as an opportunity to move forward in your career. Also, you can speak English with the SMA editors, and you can take Japanese classes every week, so you don’t need to worry about not speaking Japanese.


Thank you, Sideburn004! We’re eagerly awaiting your original manga debut!

Learn more about how YOU can join the Artists Village and create manga with us!

SMA Editorial Dept.

SMA Editorial Dept.