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SMA8 Interview #18 – Walther Romualdo (Honourable Mention Award Winner)

Vivi Vivi 07/03/2018 19 min read
How the heck do you panel a page?! Honorable Mention Award winner, Walther Romualdo may not have all the answers, but he’s certainly on the way to solving it! He talks to us today about his first taste of manga, his influences and his approach to solving that panelling conundrum!       Hi Walther!   Hello!   ABOUT YOU  

“I really like experiencing entertaining stories…”

  Where did you grow up? City or Rural? Anything the world should know about it?   I’ve lived all my life in the city of Belo Horizonte, the capital of Minas Gerais State. It’s a big city, probably the third or fourth biggest city in Brazil. Minas Gerais is a state full of natural beauty, with mountains, waterfalls and caves. Perfect creative environment!   If a friend from the SMAC!ommunity visited you for a sightseeing trip, where would you take them?   I would take any willing member of the SMACommunity to Israel’s Pinheiro Square (popularly known as Pope’s Square). It’s one of our highest vantage points, with spectacular views across the city. Walking the streets, you’ll get a completely different experience, but I can’t get enough of that view from Pinheiro Square. Takes my breath away every time!   What is a typical day in your life like?   I wake up, grab a quick breakfast and then set off to spend the morning working at an automotive parts store. I then rush to my university in the afternoon and hit the books or take a class. My free time is then filled with reading manga, books or watching movies, listening to music or gaming.   So you’re a movie fan? What’s are your favorite movie? Or music and games for that matter…   I love the Breakfast Club! It was some wonderful characters, who you get to more better and better as the film plays. I also watch a lot of Hitchcock movies, like Frenzy, Vertigo, The Birds. He really knows how to build suspense! For music, I mainly listen to movie soundtracks and anime themes, perfect for making manga! I listen to a lot of manga themes podcasts to keep me up-to-date, such as Manga ao Quadrado and Nerdcast. As for gaming, I cannot get enough of Mario Kart. It never gets old! I’m also a big fan of the Final Fantasy and Mega Man X franchises.  

Look at all the detail put on drawing the rain and the waves!

    What do you like to do when you’re not drawing manga?   I really like experiencing entertaining stories, regardless of the format. Could be books, manga, movies or radio plays, as long as it’s entertaining, I’m hooked! It’s also very useful for making manga is we can see how characters grow. I also like to watch sports, like soccer and basketball, which helps to clear my mind!     ABOUT MANGA  

” The scope of manga constantly amazes me too”

  What attracted you to manga?   The way manga is present attracted me greatly. Having read a lot of American comic books, so was surprised by rhythm and flow of manga. Both are very different, especially as manga is very smooth and pleasant to read. The scope of manga constantly amazes me too! Whatever hobby you enjoy, there will be a manga about it. Manga is so versatile, it’s an amazing medium to work in.     Why is manga important to you?   That is a difficult question! Manga has played a huge part in my life, in many different ways, mainly in the direction it’s taking. When I was a kid, I vividly remember watching the anime of Saint Seiya, then playing the game. From there, I was hooked, leading to me hunting for more manga and anime. As a teenager, my transition to manga fan was complete, and I made the decision to take a drawing course to help me make my own manga. This also played a part in my university course choice too, so you could say manga has been the most important influence in my life. Taking that course had a profound effect on my life, not only in gaining the skills I needed to develop, but in meeting a group of fantastic manga fans I’m still friends with to this day.     Was there an artist or story that inspired you to become a manga creator?   The works of Ken Akamatsu, Takehiko Inoue, Osmar de Carvalho, Necro, Ronaldo Felipe and Tamashii have been, and continue to be a big influence to me. After reading Love Hina by Ken Akamatsu, I wanted to make stories that reflect the same hilarious moments. Slam Dunk by Takehiko Inoue is the most exciting manga I’ve ever read. My hands were shaking on my first reading, it was like watching a real basketball game!   Professional Japanese mangaka seem so unreachable that it actually scares me a little. So seeing my friends making manga, even though we all struggle sometimes, makes me believe I can succeed in my dream of becoming a professional.     Is manga popular in your country?   It is, especially Dragon Ball, Saint Seya and Naruto. But there is also a lot of ignorance when it comes to manga. Many people here dismiss manga, believing it’s solely for kids. These people unknowingly fail to see how amazingly versatile manga is! I’m sure they would be shocked to learn that Naruto is as much a manga as the more adult themed Kokou no Hito, Oyasumi Punpun, Helter Skelter and Takemitsuzamurai. It’s as broad as saying “I like American movies”.    

He is always checking the SMA website for news! Thank you ! 🙂

    What kind of environment do you work in when you’re drawing manga?   Most of the time I’m making manga in my bedroom. It’s quiet, but I use sound dampers or listen to podcasts to help me focus more. Though I often use downtown at work or university to sneak in some manga making too!     What challenges do you face creating manga?   Challenges are found throughout the entire manga making process. The biggest for me is the decision making when creating storyboards or the ‘name’. Add or take away a panel, deciding on camera angles, choosing scenes, ordering the series of events, each decision greatly affects the whole reading experience. They dictate how you want your story will play out.     How do you overcome these challenges?   I just keep redrawing the names an absurd number of times until I feel satisfied! I then gather them all together and evaluate each one against the others to see which works best. When I’m finally satisfied, I’ll tell myself “Ok, you’ve done your let’s draw!” I only show my work at this stage to people who aren’t used to reading manga so I can check is the story is easy to follow.     ABOUT THE SMA8  

“… that is really the power of manga, anything can happen”

  How did you find out about SMA?   The first time I heard about this contest was just after Ichirou’s SMA2 victory. More and more Brazillian artists seemed to be winning prizes, which made me curious.     What were your thoughts on the theme?   At first I thought it was a narrow subject. I thought it had to be a sports story like most of the people probably did. But I understood that I just needed a story involving a dispute. And the competition in the story needs to potentialize the moment of fair play and not be an excuse for fair play. Especially now looking at the other entries, I was amazed by how different everyone’s interpretation of the theme was, that is really the power of manga, anything can happen. At first, I thought it was too narrow a subject. Like most people, I immediately thought it had to be a sports story, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized I needed to involve a “dispute”. The competition in the story needed to embody a moment of “fair play”, rather than an excuse for “fair play”.      What was the inspiration Just a Minute?   There wasn’t any specific inspiration. I just thought about a situation involving a boat in rough seas and the story just developed from there. I really enjoy funny and silly stories, especially creating them! The manga’s that influenced the tone of the story was Ranma 1/2 by Rumiko Takahashi, Sakigake!! Kuromati Kōkō by Eiji Nonaka and Sakamoto Desu ga by Nami Sano.  

Original line art from Just a minute! Walther like to improve each page as much as he can!

    How long did it take you to complete?   It took about a month to come up with the concert, then I concluded the storyboards in a couple of weeks. Two weeks to draw up the pages, plus adding the screen and concerts.     How did your family react to your award?   My family were very happy for, though a little subdued as they don’t fully understand what manga is, or how big an experience it was for me.     Did the entry fulfill your expectations?   Easily exceeded my expectations!! I’m an inexperienced storyteller and only started drawing manga relatively recently so I was astounded at winning an award. I thought it would take a lot longer, and many submissions to get an honorable mention!     What are you working on at the moment?   I’m currently working with a classmate on an animation short for university.     Where do you see your future career in manga?   Ultimately, I hope to have a career in manga. For now, I’ll continue studying, drawing and producing manga until I make better and better stories.     Anything you’d like to shout to the SMAC!ommunity?   Thanks for everything. It is an honor for me to have my work honorably mentioned. In recent years, I’ve read many excellent entries for SMA, so it means a lot to me to have a manga of my own in there. I hope to read more and more silent mangas from these fantastic artists.   Thank you Walther.   Deciding on the best layout, camera angles Much like a move director, the layout of a scene, or manga page can make or a break a story in the eyes of its creator, so we fully understand the challenges Walther has with this all important factor. Walther is solving these challenges in the best way possible, practice, practice, practice! With the knowledge gained from his trial and error approach, we are confident Walther will soon develop an expert eye and make his manga an enjoyable to see, as to read.   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 Prefeitura de Belo Horizont