Taiyo Matsumoto on Storymaking

(on the right, always in hat)

This interview‘s been floating around in my ‘must blog’ list for too long.  Taiyo Matsumoto talking about his latest manga, Sunny, and the various ways his mind/his practice works.  I’ve snatched out two sections that struck me as particularly revealing.  Not in a ‘OH so THAT’S how you write a story!’ way, but in a ‘what a beautiful human, look at him through his work’ kind of way:

‘Matsumoto works at what’s considered a steady clip, and says he always starts with the artwork before the story. His settings and many of his establishment shots in “Sunny” appear to be single thoughts, and stories often build into the background through secondary dialogue. He works for the most part without assistants, though his wife, the artist and manga illustrator Saho Tono, helps in prepping and coloring while occasionally giving editorial guidance.’

I’d like to give a little more credence to my sketchbook scrawling; pick up on characters that materialise out of no direct purpose and develop an idea from there.  I imagine it as a method of storytelling that speaks quite directly to emotions, the main focus being the atmosphere of a particular scene.

‘“I knew each character was based on someone, but I couldn’t attribute anyone’s behavior (to anyone specific),” he claims. “And I couldn’t avoid making them all me.”’

This is a perfect summary of engaged character-creation/design.

I haven’t read Sunny just yet, but now the dissertation is behind us, it is an important feature in the stack of literature I’ve built up as a treat for finishing.  I’ll be blogging about them on here then, hopefully along with gradual development of my own work (whatever it may be).


Jean Giraud/Gir/Moebius documentary

You know when someone’s talents move you so much that the very pit of your stomach tightens and comes too close to your diaphragm, paralysing you with nausea; making profanities spill from your lips and tears form in your ducts?  The work of Jean Giraud does this to me.  He talks in this documentary about putting all his energy into his drawings, making them ‘vibrate’, and talks about being a human.

He says:

‘The only way to allow the reader to identify is to create a character who resists.  Who doesn’t understand and who doesn’t want to understand.  Who is in total denial.  That’s the only way to attract a modern audience.’

Lovely interview with Yuko Shimizu

This interview from young Colombian illustrator, Tatiana Córdoba with that lovely Yuko Shimizu sez keep going:

‘I went to the MFA program at School of Visual Arts and Marchall Arisman, who’s the head of the department, used to say always that word [voice] and I think that’s an appropriate word for it. So things look in certain way because of who you really are, my work looks Japanese, I can’t help it, I’m not doing it superficially to make my work looks Japanese, it just happen to be that way for my background, but if someone call me and says, “I need an illustration of Mesopotamia”, I can do some research and make some images that evokes the mood of Mesopotamia, although it might still have the touch of Japan because I can’t erase that and it is not limiting me. If something limits you, if it is something superficial that you can easily change, I think that’s style. However, something that comes more for inner self is personal voice. And what is the best way to approach it? It is very difficult question, but often people start worrying too much about style too early, like: “What do you think, I mean, I have all these different styles, which one do you think fit me the best?” And ok, you know all of these are good but how many of each have you done? If you only have five or ten and is not enough, you’re not having conversation with yourself enough, I don’t know how much is enough, but is like 10.000 hours you have to put in. I think Malcolm Gladwell said it was 10.000 hours. You know Malcolm Gladwell? you should look him up, but Malcolm Gladwell is a really good writer, not a fiction writer, he writes some really great nonfiction books to help you, not self-help but to help you to think differently, I don’t know in which book he says that, but he says something like it takes 10.000 hours to be good at anything, I mean, to reach the master level, if you want to accomplished something, you need 10.000 hours and I believe it, but if you’ve only done five pictures or ten pictures and ask yourself “what is my style?” I can’t told you which one is good, but maybe you just need to keep doing it more and see how it feels, what feels more comfortable and see how which one evolves, because you have to naturally let it evolve, and then you should think about what do you like, what you don’t like. I use to make my fourth year college students make a list of their influences but specifically not from the field they want to get into, and then I ask them how they influenced them, I think it’s maybe a good start to think what exactly influenced you, What do you love, why do you love it, what do you hate it, why do you hate it and that’s a good way to start.’