What I learned from participating in the SJIMC- part 2
Let me briefly recap what I wrote in part 1:
- Shueisha Publishing opening up a Shonen Jump contest to its international readers.
- The gamble that contestants have losing their manga submission’s copyrights.
- What I suspect the contest is really for…
What I do have to say is that I learned a lot about the entire comic making process that I really hadn’t bothered to learn before. Honestly I would consider myself a hobbyist illustrator trying to make it in the larger manga business. I’ve never apprenticed under anyone, hell I didn’t even go to art school. My mother, a commercial artist who worked for the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the large newspaper in Cleveland, Ohio, taught me most of what I know about 2D drawing with little bits here and there of knowledge learned at art camps or in art class at school.
When I was a kid growing up (haha, made myself feel old there) there were not a whole lot of “how to draw” manga books out for English readers. The first one I got was How to Draw Manga- Occult and Horror by Hikaru Hayashi in 2001. Who would have thought I would have liked an occult and horror themed book? Hahaha.
Anyway, I poured over that thing. Screen tones were a completely new thing to me. Later I got the books How to Draw Manga: Compiling Application and Practice Vol.3 ( no I don’t own Vol. 1 or 2) and How to Draw Manga: Illustrating Battles which I think I need to read over again. Moving on…
Through reading those books I practiced anatomy and backgrounds, you know those standard things. However, it wasn’t until I actually participated in the competition that I actually lived the world of a mangaka. And boy oh boy is that a world of tight deadlines, little sleep, and constant stress to make your art better. Not long ago I came across the same workweek of Shiibashi Hiroshi, the mangaka best known for the series Nurarihyon no Mago that ran in Weekly Jump in 2008. It was in a Gaia Online forum thread with the original poster saying something like “hey, I found this on a website and how real is it?” with many replies saying that it can’t be real, that people can’t work that much in a week with that little sleep or food.
Yes kids, it is possible. For four months this summer, my schedule was very scarily similar to Shiibashi’s, and the kicker was that I didn’t get paid for that work either. What major differences there are is that I don’t have assistants, I get to sleep more, and I’m not visiting an editor (although Apterous played that role). You will also notice that I go to the dog park with Wheatley and make an effort to exercise at a gym every day. Personally I think exercise and actually being outside for a while is important to keeping balanced health.
Shiibashi Hiroshi’s weekly manga schedule
My weekly manga schedule.
My Manga Process: then and now
Then: I would write a loose plot idea for story arch, then write each page as it came time to draw it.
Now: For the SJIMC project I wrote the entire story’s theme, and then broke down the plot in better detail. It is something that I am doing for the Miss Grey Halloween special and for chapter 4.
Then: was something I didn’t focus on.
Now: For the SJIMC project I made sure to story boarding was done first, breaking down each page and the dialogue. There were 19 pages total, and this process took me a few days to do.
Then: I would do a week’s worth (three pages) of rough-pages.
Now: After the storyboarding was done and checked by Apterous, I drew up the rough-pages. This process also took a few days, but done in a large group. Each page would be sketched out, speech bubbles placed, as well as dialogue for each character and sound effects. Apterous checked the rough-pages before starting the next step.
**Note: this step is done digitally using Manga Studio 4ex. Traditional mangaka would do this on a manga board (heavy sheet of paper) and do the illustrations and layout by hand.
Then: Sat and “ink” over the loose sketches I had drawn.
Now: Sit down and “ink” over the rough-page illustrations. Lettering is also done at this time since the program allows for speech bubble placement and lettering at the same time as inking. This would have been an extra step when done traditionally.
Then: Done in Adobe Photoshop.
Now: Still done in Adobe Photoshop, because it allows the free transform of fonts.
After each page was completed, Apterous would do a final check to make sure everything was spelled correctly and punctuation was correct. If the dialogue made sense and was illustrated well, we considered the page done and moved on to the next one. This was done for all 19 pages.
Hopefully all the Miss Grey stories from here on out will be much easier to read and make a whole lot more sense with ideas and themes being fleshed out better than in the previous chapters. The other great thing is that I managed to keep the same aesthetic style throughout the SJIMC project! I didn’t switch styles as I saw fit, an issue that plagued Miss Grey and previous earlier works.