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SMA8 Interview #15 – Heitor Amatsu (The Excellence Award)

Vivi Vivi 27/02/2018 15 min read
Heitor Amatsu – SMA8 update! The Excellence award “Dance RevoPants” Following on from Heitor Amatsu’s spectacular interview last year, we decided to pin him down again to talk about his SMA8 Excellence Award win for “Game On”, chasing his dreams and the importance of comedy!       Hi Heitor Amatsu! Hi!       ABOUT SMA8  

“Winning the SMA8 was a confirmation (…) my  dream can become true!”

  How are you feeling for winning an award?   I am super happy! Winning an award in the last round was a big surprise for me! It was the start of making my dreams come true. So by winning this second time in the SMA8, it felt almost like a confirmation, that I should keep going, believe I can do it and that my dream will come true!     How did your family and friends react?   When I saw the result, I felt numb, in shock!  Everyone was with me, congratulating me all the way, but it took me a few hours before it sunk in that I’d won an award.     What did you think about the theme?   I thought the theme was easier than last time. The previous round took me a long time to come up with an idea, but this time, I knew straight away what I wanted to develop. I actually had two ideas, but decided to on submitting the stronger one.     Was there any part that you found challenging ?   This time, I knew exactly what I wanted to do. The most challenging part was planning the panels. As my story featured a lot of dancing, I wanted to effectively show the energy of the characters as they danced to the beat, while successfully showing that they are following the game directions. It took me a while to work it out, using the arrows to express movement. I’m very pleased with the end result!     What was the inspiration for this entry ?   My first entry into SMA didn’t secure me an award, and looking back, I realized I was venturing into areas that didn’t match my personality or style. The second time I participated, I went with what I enjoy the most, humor, and it won an award! This is my third experience with SMA and I wanted to stay true to my identity. I’m a gamer, I enjoy video games, card games, table top games and arcade games so when I saw the the theme, I naturally started to think about games. I have a lot of fond memories playing Dance Dance Revolution with my friends so it was the perfect idea!  

Always with a GAME ON attitude !…literally ! xD

    ABOUT YOU   Sounds like you had a fun childhood! Anything else we should know about?!   Ahaha, yes! My Mother constantly reminds me of this story. When I was very young, I was obsessed with dinosaurs. I couldn’t get enough of them! I would spend hours and hours just dressing dinosaurs all over the walls of the house, driving my mother crazy! I got to the point I’d drawn an entire forest, full of dinosaurs on the wall! (laughs)     What is your creative environment like? Do you have a specific process when you work?   I work predominantly in digital. In the beginning, I tried mixing both methods, traditional and digital, adding in the ink and tones on the computer, but the end result never satisfied me. So I then decided to everything using one method and master it.   While working, I always listening to instrumental music. Classical music and soundtracks keep me calm and allow me to imagine fantastical worlds. It’s very rare for me to listen to music with vocals, though it’s not unheard of. MintJam, a Japanese metal band are my favorite.     What do you do to overcome creative block?   That’s a very good question! I’ve experienced a lot these ‘blocks’ as a manga creator (laughs). I’m a little reluctant to say this but I’m a very sentimental person, with strong emotions. I often get blocks, brought on by an emotional state and have to then stop working. To overcome this, I stop working for a few hours and play video-games, which almost always get my creative energy flowing again.     When did you start to become interested in comics?   In elementary school the teachers often used comics books when teaching a class. One thay used often was a Brazilian comic called A Turma da Mônica (Monica’s class) by Mauricio de Sousa, along with some Disney comics. I was instantly attracted to the drawings, spending hours recreating them!  

“My first contact with manga came from my family”

    When was your first contact with manga?   Actually it all started through my own family! (laughs) My Uncle draws very well, and I’ve wanted to be like him since childhood. He was the one that gave me my first taste of manga. I don’t remember exactly which one, but it was either “Saint Seiya” or “Dragon Ball”. From the first moment I saw manga, I was like, “wow!”, the characters are so cool!! My father also had a big role in introducing me to anime! He was working as a fire-fighter, and he and his colleagues used to watch “Saint Seiya” during night shifts! I was so surprised when he showed it to me… Since then, I have never stopped watching it!  

Naoki Urasawa seem to be leading the race in this bookshelf!


“My teacher changed the way I thought about art and comics”

    When did you start thinking about becoming a professional manga creator?   Many things changed in my life when I turned 13, all thanks to a teacher at school. He was an artist that drew manga himself, while talking to him he taught me a lot about drawing and life in general. He changed my way of thinking about art and comics, thanks to him I started thinking seriously about a career as an illustrator. I will never forget him!     How has the path been to becoming a manga creator?   Ever since I was young, I’ve wanted to be a professional manga creator. Once I started to learn more about technique, I started to think this impossible dream might come true. The state of country didn’t offer many career possibilities, which further pushed me towards drawing. Once I heard about SMA, I saw my chance!   Here in Brazil, we have a vibrant freelance community who self publish their work, so I saw SMA as a great promotional tool if anything else. I love these bets because it offers a chance to show my work to larger audience, while also gaging their reactions. I recently participated in my first Comic Con and received good reactions from the visitors, plus one of my self published comics sold very well. It motivated me to keep pushing my boundaries, keep self publishing and keep on promoting my work here in Brazil.     What so you most enjoy when drawing manga?   I love drawing emotion with character expressions! Especially as I really enjoy writing comedy.  

Always participating in conventions and increasing his fan-base!

      ABOUT THE FUTURE     Is there anything you’d like to try for your next project?   I have always been fascinated by fantasy, especially in a medieval setting. I would love to tackle these themes in my next work. I also love drawing children’s characters, so a story for young children is a project I’d like to explore.     What advice so you have for budding manga creators?   I’ll quote a line from a game called “Ragnarok”, that has really stuck with me; “Every time you are in a difficult situation, think of you dream and it will come true.” Every time I have doubts, or I feel I’m falling down, I think of this quote. You just have to believe and keep going!   Thank you Heitor Amatsu!   Pushing boundaries can be a gamble! Though it is always tempting to stay in our comfort zone and produce outstanding work much like Heitor Amatsu side splitting comedy, it’s never a bad idea to try venturing into the unknown. We for one Heitor, are glad you’re taking this plunge into unfamiliar territory!   SMAC!ommunity, do you have a creative itch you’re dying to scratch? Are you overflowing with story ideas? If yes, then start drawing for SMA9 round TODAY!!   Do you want to join the world’s biggest manga community? Start drawing for the SMA9 round TODAY! SMA9 is the first time we’ve offered THREE themes to choose from! If you feel like a challenge, why not pick two, or all three themes! Make manga your language too! You have until March 31st, 2018 to say “HELLO” to your new friends! Click the banner for more details on how to enter…     Twitter – @SmacViVi Facebook – Vivi Fabbri Smac Banner photo by Vi Neves