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SMAC! Web Magazine

The Artists Village Insider #03 – Live Together: Succeed Together

Living as a manga creator in the Artists Village

Today, we’re talking business! I’m pretty sure the thing you’re most curious about the “Artists Village” is what the manga creators have to say about it!  If you find yourself in need to refresh your memory about the Artists Village, jump back to the previous article!

Now, grab your pen and paper, we’re visiting the “Art Studio” to talk to the manga creators who were invited to work at the Artists Village!

What kind of manga creators are working here?

Here we have manga creators who work on various projects: a manga creator working on their individual serialized work scheduled to be published the next year, a manga creator working towards their debut, and a visiting manga creator who works as an assistant for an ongoing manga series. Their background, working experience, and current goals are different, but what they share is the passion for manga! Together they are friends and coworkers, rivals and supporters: they work hard to polish their skills in order to gain the experience and do what they enjoy the most: draw manga!

Why not the city?

An obvious question they receive is, why choose Kumamoto over any larger city? You might know that traditionally, aspiring young manga creators all over Japan packed their bags at a young age and moved to the larger city in order to pursue their dreams of serializing their manga. That was also the case for countless world-renowned manga artists – chances are that your own favorite artist is among them as well. 

The Artists Village was created in order to turn the tide and give creators the chance to wholly concentrate on their artwork. This is the most important aspect for the manga creators here as well: to have an environment where they don’t have to worry about the things we all worry about: the working environment, the cost of materials for manga, rent, meals,  – all this is covered in the Artists Village. The idea of artists living together and supporting each other is not new – I’m sure some of you might have heard about Tokiwa-sō, the legendary apartment, shared by icons of the manga industry. So, simply put: this is a recipe that had already been tried out and brought marvelous results!

Our manga creators say that the most difficult part was an actual decision – to set into the unknown and come to the Artists Village. Indeed, it is the unknown that might be the scariest – but staying here is a great opportunity to dedicate yourself to do what you love the most: create manga.

The Art Studio is more than just a workplace

One of the obvious good points is the space – far from a typical cramped up room squeezed in the middle of a concrete jungle: at the Art Studio, space is abundant and is sacred. The Art Studio lets artists dive into their own personal world and concentrate on their work, to utilize traditional tools as well as digital ones. But perhaps what is even more rewarding than the impressive facility is the fact that they are always in contact with people from the manga industry. Whenever they are in doubt about the idea or “name” they are working on, they can always ask each other for an opinion. Or in case you’re the shy type who doesn’t like to share the work in progress – you can always learn a lot just by seeing each others’ works!

Artists support the artists

Moreover, the Artists Village is not a place reserved exclusively for manga creators. Everyday, they share the same building with other artists who are experts in different fields: it might sound strange at first, but this is exactly where the Artists Village’s strong points are. By working together, you create a unique bond. Just seeing people focusing on their own goals, you feel inspired by each other. Not only do you get the chance to create great memories together, but you can also learn from each other: just imagine you want to create a story about a dancer, but you’ve no idea how to dance – here you can get first hand experience! You want to create a gourmet drama? That’s covered as well. Walk around the village, ask around, and there’ll be plenty of people who’ll be happy to help!

That’s all for this week. Since it’s the festive season, we want to give you gifts, so make sure to stay tuned this weekend! We’re also giving you the opportunity to ask any questions that are not covered in this article; send the questions via our social media channels and we’ll answer the selected questions in the article #4!