Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Manga School Experience at Nakano in Tokyo

I always wondered how a "real" mangaka teaches so I signed up for a 2-hour workshop with Yazawa Nao sensei, the artist of Wedding Peach at Manga School Nakano.

When I entered the studio, there was a big room enough to house around 8 students. Sensei was quite alright speaking in English :)

She already prepared paper and pencils for me.

I told her I'm a comic artist too and wanted to learn how she teach and what usually foreigners come here to learn. She told me that many newbies wanted to try out screen tone, which is very rare outside of Japan. Nowadays people just use digital screen tones in softwares like Clip Studio.

She also shared with me her rough sketches.

 She also showed the original drawing side-by-side with the one that was eventually published.

Students who chose to do short story with her also need to do scripting based on the 4-step breakdown: Ki-Shou-Ten-Ketsu. Translated as Beginning, Development, Climax and Conclusion.


It costs 10,000yen for 2 hours and it can be anything from lecture, portfolio review, trying out the art materials or drawing. If you would like a one-to-one guidance on making manga, this would be awesome and you can learn a lot from a well-published comic artist.

If you want to do a comic strip, you might need to book for 4 hours as you'll be guided from story writing to finished artwork. There were also students there on a longer visa so they signed up for a package to complete a short story.

However if you are looking into breaking into the manga industry in Japan, this would not be for you. The sensei can guide you on the artwork, but cannot link you up with any editor nor publisher. They also do not have a friendly environment for self-published artists as bookstores do not work with individuals and space is very competitive. Even if you paid for a self-publisher, you have to pay a lot for a tiny shelf space that disappears within a week. Sensei therefore recommends selling at comic markets yourself. However, this is again very competitive. Successful doujin groups can sell 3,000 copies within one weekend, but the average group can only sell around 10 copies or so. If you can sell 200 copies a day, it is considered pretty good. I will be selling my books at AFA later this month, so please come and support!!! XD

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