Conversing with a Manga Artist Part 3

This is part 3 of a conversation with Eri-Chan, part 2 can be found here and part 1 here

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How is the cosplay scene in the Philippines?  I see it growing in North America as it’s becoming more main stream in large cities with fan conventions over the years.

Cosplay here in the Philippines is also beginning to be mainstream. There are more and more people getting hooked and the demand for props makers and costume makers are starting to increase. You’ll see costumes just getting better and better every time. Events are also everywhere, to the point that there’s almost a new convention every month. Cosplayers and anime organizations here host open photoshoots for cosplayers every now and then that doesn’t just give opportunities for cosplayers to show their hobby and craftsmanship, but also for photographers to practice their passion. In our case, we use those events to meet up and bond with our online friends whom we met through cosplay. 🙂

To be honest, I haven’t really actually cosplayed any character in a convention~ I usually just dress up (my style is usually Mori-kei or forest girl), or wear yukata or maybe a maid costume. I use the term dress up, since I consider it a fashion style rather than cosplay. Real Cosplay, in my opinion, is when you actually portray a character, and I haven’t really done that (well, except for some photoshoots where I’ve done Lulu the Fae Sorceress from League of Legends, but that’s just really a short period of time for a shoot, but I’m looking forward to doing more cosplay in the future. )

Do you have a pitch for people about yourself?  I know this is a total marketing thing, but as an author I have been told to sell myself over and over again…I’ve been given the same advice for any job interviews. 

I’m not the showy type of artist, really. I’m an introvert, after all. But I do tend to optimize the use of social media and technology for the exposure of my craft and to reach out to potential clients, like posting my artworks in online galleries, especially Facebook, which is where I usually post updates and announcements. I don’t try to sell a fake perfect image of me to clients; I try to be true as much as possible, which is why I encourage them to add me up on my social media account.  

How should people contact you if they want commissions?

I encourage them to inquire by my email, elisse_mariano@yahoo.com. They can also add me up on Facebook, or any of my social media accounts.

I have never been to the Philippines.  So lastly, tell me a little bit about your country and anything interesting I should do if I can ever afford to visit you?

Beaches are what I love most about here; we have stunning beaches, especially those in Camarines Sur, Boracay, Batangas, Ilocos and Palawan. I certainly recommend nature trips if ever anyone wants to visit since there are just a LOAD of untouched paradises here. 🙂

You have been a great part in bringing my book vision to life and I wish you the best of luck! 

Thanks, Jean. Same here, I look forward to the completion of your story~! ^_^

Once again, remember to check out these links to her awesome works of art:

https://www.facebook.com/elissemariano

https://erikatsuona.deviantart.com

https://eribloodberry.blogspot.com

https://www.twitter.com/elissemariano

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Conversing with a Manga Artist Part 2

This is Part 2 of a conversation with Eri-Chan, a super talented manga artist from the Philippines…Part 1 of our Q &A is here.

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If I were to commission you for a manga, what kind of information do you need?  A script of some sort, I imagine?

A script is okay, but a novel-like format works better for me. I love reading novels, and as such, I tend to get a better image of the scenes in my head compared to script-like stories. 🙂

What is your favourite manga?  Why?

I don’t have a certain top favourite (since I have lots of favourite manga and anime), but for the shoujo-type manga, I fell in love with NANA, Card Captor Sakura, Kareshi Kanoujo no Jijou, and Zettai Kareshi. For the shounen, I’ll always love Naruto and Death Note, and am currently getting hooked with Shingeki no Kyoujin. I also liked horror and suspense manga like Goth and Jisatsu Circle.

I don’t really like manga and anime for the art style or what~ usually; its impact on me while reading it is what I look into. Did this manga tickle the imagination in a way that either I relate so much to it, or that it leaves my brain thinking about it for a few days or even weeks?  I guess I love series that leaves my mind in a deep thinking state after I read it.

What is your dream job?  Well, you are already living it – or perhaps better way to put it – dream commission?

I’ve always wanted to work on published love story or horror/suspense manga. I’m also working on my own title, a comedic love story, and I may be releasing it by next year. (im currently writing the story J) Other than that, I still want to pursue my studies and go for a multimedia art school (once I get me enough funds for it) so I can learn all sorts of stuff to become a professional all-around artist and illustrator. 😀

Have you ever turned down a commission? 

Oh yes, a lot of times. And it breaks my heart to turn down offers of illustrating beautiful stories just because the client wants a rock-bottom price for the art, I mean, I would definitely love to draw for them, but of course, I have bills to pay too, right? Aside from that, there are a lot of stories that didn’t suit my style, (like shonen stories, sci-fi, action, sports), and I always try my best to be honest with my clients if I know that my art style isn’t gonna be the best one suitable for their kind of story. I don’t want to accept a request if know that I can’t do my best on it.

For people who want to become manga artists, what tools would they need?  Do you use tablets or certain software?  What tips do you give in general?  (Eek!  I know one is to backup stuff as there was a huge issue when her computer died…damn electronics!)

Yes, having backups of your files would be one of the most important ones, if you’re going for drawing manga digitally (especially after what I’ve been through with my pc when it broke down on me since I do everything on my PC~ haha..😀 I use a graphics tablet, and Paint Tool SAI + Photoshop CS3 for drawing. I can’t give that much advice for traditional mediums in manga, since I do stuff digitally, but I do believe that investing time to study the art and everything about it that you use will be very helpful in the long run. . Also, take in mind that there will always, and always be people in the industry that are better than you, but don’t let that get you down. Lastly, always be open to new ideas, like what my artist friends are always telling me.

I’m still starting up, and I’m looking forward to learning more as well.

This conversation continues onto Part 3…

Conversing with a Manga Artist Part 1

Originally I contacted Eri-chan because I wanted some manga style portraits and was collecting quotes.  I narrowed it down to a few artists and chose her because her style looked the most professional out of all the portfolios I looked at.  Her art can be seen here at https://eribloodberry.blogspot.com or http://www.erikatsuona.deviantart.com .

Eri-chan is from the Philippines and she is a young independent manga artist.  She currently has several projects on the go at once so she is a busy woman!  She is also very brave as she is involved with cosplay activities which I often want to do, but I feel too old…

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Hi Eri-Chan, thank you first of all helping me out with my project.  It’s been a blast and a lot of fun.   So can you tell me a bit about your background and how you became a manga artist?  What inspired you to become one?

Thanks, Jean~ I had fun drawing your characters as well. You have such a very nice imagination to come up with such interesting and diverse characters. 😀

About your question, I was originally in college, taking up Hotel and Restaurant Management. I felt that it wasn’t for me, and that it’s just not what I wanted to do. I’ve been living alone since I was 12 (so that makes it 8 years ago), and been paying for my studies since then, and happiness means everything to me. So I dropped school and worked as a call center agent as I tried to rebuild my first love, which is anime and manga art. When I’ve got the beginning equipment I needed to start as an artist, I left my (really toxic) job and stayed home to draw all day for people who found my art fascinating for their projects. It was something I really liked doing, although I tend to get picky with the projects’ genre, since my style most likely suit shojo and love stories. I never really imagined myself doing this when I was a little girl, I mostly thought of myself as someone who might be a businesswoman in the future, but I guess it’s just that this was what I loved doing, and I love seeing my completed works.

My dad used to be an assistant comic book artist during his teenage years. He was my first idol when it comes to art, and he taught me the basics when it comes to drawing. My dad was a kinda boastful guy, and at first I just wanted to prove him that I can do better than him… and suddenly I just got hooked with drawing. I fell in love with seeing what I created, and that wonderful feeling of “Oh god… I made this artwork?!Wow.”, because honestly, up to now, I still can’t believe that I can draw like this. 😀 So yeah, my dad was pretty much mostly the one who inspired me. 

I don’t really know how to draw, seriously, but I love anime very much. When I was in my first year in High School, there was this girl classmate of mine who draws anime really, really great and I was so amazed that I asked her to teach me how to draw. She said no in a really disrespectful way, and I got kind of pissed off and frustrated. Back then, I drew like a 5 year old! I know how to draw some forms, but it was like a kid’s drawing compared to this classmate of mine. That summer break, I locked myself in my room with a cheap book on how to draw manga that I bought, and practiced day and night while watching animes. I guess that was the time that I started to learn and improve. I was driven by frustration and the will to draw better that that girl who embarrassed me. When classes started again, she was very surprised by the improvement. I continued drawing during classes and my spare time (eventually got better than that girl, haha), until the only thing that’s driving me to draw is my love for what I’m doing itself, and my love for the characters that I draw. 🙂

Is it difficult to be a freelancer?  I mean, lots of people dream about being their own boss!  Although most of the time I saw my husband filling creating lots of paperwork (taxes, invoices, etc) when he was freelancing…

Yeah, it’s pretty difficult, especially when people don’t really acknowledge that you actually work. In my case, my relatives think that I’m just playing around. I’m still young, after all. The most difficult part for me, I guess, is when clients undervalue your art for something cheap and “just a drawing”. I put my heart to what I do, and it really hurts me when people don’t give enough credit to the work. It’s like being stabbed face-to-face.

Another thing is marketing yourself. There are LOADS of great artists in the Philippines, and most are being overshadowed by the popular mainstream ones. Finding a place where you can find clients who may be interested to have you illustrate their story is a bit of a problem, especially for a young, starting up artist like me.If we put up a blog or site, exposure is a bit slow. So we tend to go to freelancing sites like Fiverr, of which even though it kinda lowers the value of the artworks, the exposure to possible clients is good.

Do you usually draw manga for Asian countries?  Or is there demand in other countries?  Also, do the publications do well?

Most of my clients are from America, Europe and Australia. 🙂 There are just so many talented writers there, and they all want to see their works fleshed out in a Japanese-style manga. I don’t have many Asian clients at the moment, and here in the Philippines, the manga industry and publications is just starting up. Most of the few manga being published are cheesy love stories, so I guess it might take a little more time and market tests before other genres make it big here. 

Continues onto Part 2…

Where to find high quality & free stock art

During school, the best activities were art activities for me as I’m a very visual person.  Like all nerds, I loved school projects and having the excuse to design things.  Fast forward, now I find myself needing stock art to put on the blog or just designing things for fun.  Some of the sites even lets you use the art for commercial use (business cards, book covers, cds, etc) but there are limitations, so read the license carefully if you are heading down that road.

The best sites I’ve found for amazing quality clipart are listed below.  They are sponsored by companies who hope that you will eventually buy some stock art from them and I’ve done that before.  It’s astounding what is available for use, they are truly beautiful graphics which would take me hours to do myself!

How to download & use files:

1) When you click on any site, either use the categories to find what you want or do a search.

2) Usually they want you to open a free account, which is the price of admission.

3) Pick what file format you want (jpeg or eps) and save to your folder on your computer.

4) Open in your graphics program or put into any office software program for use (eg. microsoft office)

pixelbay

 Pixelbay –  high quality photos and stock art

stockex

Stock exchange – another site for high quality photos and stock art

free v

Free Vector art and graphics archive – gorgeous vector art for every project possible and divided into categories!  I didn’t realize that you can download pre-made infographics which look really slick.

v open stock

Vector Open Stock – only click in the middle area if you want free vectors.  It gets confusing when top and bottom bars appear and they link to other sites.