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Questions Answered: Part 1

0 Ish Good!

So! What's the answer my own question in my previous blog post?

Recap: What was your first introduction into comics?

Aside from the usual slew of newspaper comics like Peanuts and Garfield and the usual Archie mags my mom had around the apartment, it all started with a trip to Jelly's back when I was in 5th grade.

Robotech : Art 1At the time, I was just re-learning about Robotech/Macross. (When it aired on TV, I was in kindergarten... so I was too young to really remember any of it - aside from singing pop idols and big transforming machines.) I liked the art style and remembered borrowing the "Art of Robotech: Book 1" from the library (It was already out-of-print...) and tracing/copying the character designs in the back of the book.

Nausicaa2cover.jpgWhile my family was looking for some interesting used books when I ventured into the comics area and happened upon two titles that caught my eye - Usagi Yojimbo and Nausicaä of the Valley of Wind. My mom let me choose one and I remember sitting there for a long time, agonizing over which one to get.

I finally chose Nausicaä... and have never looked back since~ ^^

Yes, I drew this back in 1992.....

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Now onto a few questions from the "Self-Contained Meme":

How and when did you decide to start doing manga and comics?

I've always doodled stuff, but it wasn't until mid-high school when I started venturing into comics. My first attempt was illustrating, in comic form, the ending to an online friend's original story called AJAX. I also remember drawing one-off strips of my friends and classmates in their yearbooks and in thank you cards.

But it wasn't until my first year of college when my mom mailed me a newspaper clipping of Deb Aoki's "Bento Box" that was running in the Honolulu Advertiser. The strips were simply drawn, but had a lot of life and spontaneity -- and I could totally relate.

Upon transferring to the University of Hawaii at Manoa from Scripps College, I contacted the editor at the Ka Leo and asked if I could submit my own comic - as they seemed to be lacking content at the time. I had a few drawn in my sketchbook and prepped them for publication... and that's how it all started!

I did that for a couple years, then after graduation, went on a sort of hiatus from art and comics. It wasn't until I met Scott in late 2004 that I decided to try my hand at drawing comics again.

Where do you get any of your inspiration?
Something I was told early on when learning more about comic craft was that inspiration comes from anything, anywhere, anytime. I was told that ants walking up a bulletin board can be something funny and entertaining -- you just need to put the right spin on it.

For nemu*nemu, Scott feeds me a lot of ideas ranging from mundane to random to outlandish. They're often ideas he cooks up while eating a meal, taking a shower, driving home in his car, standing around and observing the world around him. We talk about them over dinner, a drive, or a quiet time in the studio. I then pick and choose my favorites and polish them into full-fledged stories.

What's your process of comic creation from beginning to end?
Continuing from the answer above, I usually jot my themes and ideas down in a book and refine them into chapters or arcs. We then try to work from the ending to the beginning and brainstorm on all of the in-between. I can't really say I have one process, as it depends on how inspired I am about a particular storyline.

Sometimes I force myself to draft out an entire chapter in rough text/dialogue form. Half-way through, I may change things up and go in a completely unexpected direction as I am hit by some flash of intuition or inspiration, while I am working.

My process has changed quite a bit since we started this comic back in 2005 - see here for a listing of our previous process walk-thru. The 2008 tutorial is pretty close to how I currently work - with some in-progress visuals!

The short version is this:
I roughly sketch out the strip on paper and get some feedback from Scott on how it reads. Once I'm ok with it, I scan the drawing and continue everything else in Photoshop -- inking, coloring, finishing. I then send the comic over to Scott and he puts in most of the sound effects and dialogue (unless I draw it in first) in Illustrator.

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I'll be answering more questions tomorrow - if you have some questions of your own, feel free to ask~!
Share your thoughts

3 Replies

  • Amber

    Haha wow I think my first comic ever was Usagi Yojimbo. I would stay after school at the Thelma Parker Library in Waimea waiting on my parents, I came across Usagi Yojimbo and started reading. I read them all from there. Isn't the creator from Oahu too?

    Miyazaki is by far my favorite anime artists. I've grown out of most of the series by others but Miyazaki's films I can watch over and over again.

    I've always been curious if you and Scott have other jobs besides making Nemu-Nemu? It seems like it takes a lot of time out of your lives to promote and create the comic.

  • ninj4

    mm yes, scott does have another job, as stated on the back inside-cover of Book 3 xD but, rather than stealing the spotlight, i should just let KKS tell u themselves =D

  • kitsy

    Amber: Indeed - Stan Sakai's from Oahu. I think he was born in Japan though? Really interesting and engaging guy~ I had the good fortune to meet and chat with him at Kawaii Kon this past year. :D

    ninj4: XD I don't mind~ :D