Asano Inio Interview -

SevenFacedBird Mar 3rd, 2018 126 Never
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  1. Original article:
  4. Q: When you begin creating a new manga, what do you start with?
  6. A: With manga you have settings like fantasy and sci-fi which are your
  7. sort of standard manga settings, right? That's not a bad thing, but for
  8. people not used to reading manga, the typical ideas presented in manga
  9. can be off-putting. That's why I try to start my manga from the concept
  10. of creating something that people who don't normally read manga would be
  11. able to enjoy.
  13. Rather than being obsessed with what the plot will be, or the genre, etc.,
  14. I try to think about what meaning the manga will convey to the reader, and
  15. what kind of situations will get a reader interested in the manga.
  18. Q: I see, you decide on your goal for the manga before you get started on it.
  19. What inspired you to use this method?
  21. A: Back when I decided I wanted to be create manga I mostly read one-shots and
  22. short works, and I had spent very little time reading any sort of long series.
  23. Short works seemed to me to be the perfect length, and so when I was just starting,
  24. I mostly drew one-shots and short pieces.
  26. With those kind of stories, I would have already have decided on how the story
  27. would go before I started drawing, and that sort of became my workflow even when
  28. I started doing serializations.
  30. While I would flesh out the details as I was drawing the work, I would basically
  31. never deviate too far from the story I decided on for the work.
  34. Q: What process do you use to create your characters?
  36. A: The first thing I think about is their visual appearance. Rather than drawing
  37. characters one at a time, I design a number of them, and then choose what I like from among
  38. them.
  40. The more time you spend drawing characters, the more you develop a sort of instinctual
  41. way to draw things like hairstyles, eyes, etc. Instead of having an image in my head
  42. and drawing based off that, it's more like I'm arranging from those parts, and
  43. "choosing what I like from things I instinctually drew".
  46. Q: How do you decide on your character's personalities?
  48. A: It's usually easy to guess the character's personality by looking at their
  49. visual appearance. I'm not aiming to create "manga-like" characters, so I don't
  50. try to force some very specific archetype onto the characters, like I'm not doing
  51. stuff like going "okay, this character will be hot-blooded" and such.
  53. Because I decide on the concept for the manga first, creating the characters
  54. comes second. Unlike some creators, I don't view the characters as the most
  55. important part of a manga. I also don't obsess over naming, and that usually
  56. is something I decide last.
  59. Q: Have you used the same creation process for your current serialization, "DeDeDeDe"?
  61. A: For DeDeDeDe I did things a little differently. I didn't have any concrete plans
  62. for the concept or the story; all I had decided on was the character "Ontan", both her
  63. visual appearance, with thick eyebrows and twin-tails, and her personality.
  65. I created it with the idea that the concept and the story would have her as the
  66. core element. Sort of like "as long as I have the character Ontan, the rest will take
  67. care of itself".
  70. Q: What made you decide to change your process?
  72. A: The reason I decided to switch from focusing on the concept first to focusing
  73. on the characters is a result of me wanting to do something different after all
  74. these years as a manga creator, and a result of a lot of thinking I've done about
  75. what it means to be a manga creator, and what kind of manga I'd like to create.
  78. Q: What would you say the motif is for the character of Ontan?
  80. A: One day I saw an idol had changed their hairstyle to twin tails, and it
  81. surprised me. I had always thought that twin tails was a hairstyle only anime
  82. characters had, and that no real girl would have them. Not only that, this idol was
  83. in her twenties, which made it more surprising. It made me think we've entered an
  84. era where even twenty-somethings can have twin tails. In my mind, that was
  85. inconceivable, yet here was the real world proving me wrong, and so I decided I
  86. shouldn't rely so heavily on my own opinions and I should take things as they are.
  89. Q: In addition to the twin tails, Ontan is also unique for her thick eyebrows, isn't she?
  91. A: That's right. The characters I used to draw would always have very small eyebrows, but
  92. as time went on I would draw thicker ones, and with Aiko-chan, the heroine of "Punpun", I
  93. made them so thick and rectangular that they looked like pieces of nori. Normally you
  94. would never expect the heroine of a story to have such excessively thick eyebrows, and I
  95. couldn't help but want to do that again.
  98. Q: How did you decide on the personality for Ontan?
  100. A: Ontan is a very intelligent and kind character, but she puts on a front of acting stupid. And that
  101. personality came out naturally from from her appearance, the thick eyebrows and twin tails.
  102. Once I began drawing, the visuals and personality matched almost perfectly.
  105. Q: How about the other main character, Kadode?
  107. A: My only initial goal when creating her was to balance her against Ontan, which is why I
  108. gave her glasses. As for her face, I made it by picking the most easy to draw parts I could
  109. think of.
  111. Her role in the story is mostly as someone to contrast against and show off Ontan. Her character
  112. is lacking in individuality, so you could say that without Ontan, she couldn't stand on her own.
  113. She doesn't have a personality that stands out in any way, and is somewhat of a simple character.
  114. That said, creating a character like that can be harder than anything.
  117. Q: Do you carefully plan a character out before drawing them?
  119. A: I prefer to quickly put them to page rather than carefully plan them. Characters that come
  120. out spontaneously have an instant appeal to them, and I just can't bring myself to like things
  121. that I've put too much thought into before creating. I'm the sort of person who doesn't do
  122. well at taking an image in my head and giving it a solid form.
  124. Due to that, when I'm creating characters, drawing something quickly like how a kid might draw
  125. a doodle or something is a way for me to create something that doesn't give off the feel that
  126. it was something I drew, and I like that the best. I try to avoid obsessing over my own
  127. opinions and desires.
  130. Q: What process do you use to create the dialogue in your stories?
  132. A: Up through "Punpun" I wouldn't write down anything and would have the lines and panel placement
  133. all in my head while I drew. The problem with that method is I'd have to remember a lot of lines
  134. and structure. So with "DeDeDeDe" I started writing things down. My current process is to have
  135. the lines written down ahead of time, and then decide on the panels as I draw.
  138. Q: Is there anything you focus on when writing dialogue?
  140. A: A lot of the dialogue in this manga is like background noise. My goal is to have it
  141. so that not every conversation is important or necessary for the story. If you ask me why I'm doing
  142. it that way, I'd say that it's because the manga's only necessary element is Ontan. Of course the story
  143. is important, but more important than that is showing Ontan being lively, and having her and her
  144. friends having fun talking with each other.
  147. Q: What inspired you to draw manga digitally?
  149. A: What initially started it was that I was bad at screen tones, and I thought that maybe a computer
  150. would help, which led to me experimenting along those lines.
  152. When I was a new artist, the main criticism I got was that my art wasn't very good. From that, I thought
  153. if I could improve my art, then people would like it more, which led to me trying out anything I could
  154. to help myself improve.
  157. Q: What do you think the merits of using digital tools are?
  159. A: What I liked the most was the feeling that whatever I was doing I was on the cutting edge, because
  160. it was stuff that no one else was doing. Also, when I was starting out I didn't have any money to hire
  161. assistants, so my theme sort of became how to do things with as few people as possible. Digital tools
  162. acted as sort of a replacement for an assistant, which was a big merit in itself.
  165. Q: Do you think you will use digital as your main process in the future?
  167. A: I still don't think it's possible to produce the same type of lines in digital as you can in analog.
  168. Analog is still better for things like drawing character outlines.
  170. Lines draw with pens have a lot of depth and variability to them, and while you can apply filters to
  171. stuff drawn digitally to make it look analog, it's still often faster to draw by hand. There may come
  172. a day where I switch to full digital, but I think that I shouldn't do that unless I have the resolve
  173. to abandon the technique I've used to this point.
  176. Q: It's not easy to just give up on analog, is it?
  178. A: The reason I still like analog is because I'm not trying to draw beautiful lines. If it was important
  179. to me to draw beautiful lines, then digital would be the better way to go. In my case, I love the little
  180. imperfections that analog produces, so I can't give it up.
  183. Q: What analog tools do you refuse to give up?
  185. A: I use a mechanical pencil when drawing rough drafts, which means I burn through erasers quickly. So
  186. I guess you could say I can't give up erasers. For a long time I've used the MONO eraser from Tombow Pencils.
  188. I don't obsess over tools for the most part, but for erasers I always use those. There is always one somewhere
  189. on my desk.
  192. Q: Having heard rumors that he is a lover of MONO erasers, the editorial department prepared a gift for him.
  194. A: A combination mechanical pencil/black ballpoint pen/red ballpoint pen, the "MONO graph Multi". The eraser
  195. on the bottom is one of Asano-sensei's beloved MONO erasers.
  198. Q: I brought you this pen as a present because I thought it was perfect for someone who loves MONO erasers
  199. like yourself.
  201. A: Wow, this pen's design even incorporates the style of the MONO eraser. It's great. It gives me a comforting
  202. feeling. That trusty "MONO"-like feeling, right?
  205. Q: Do you often use mechanical pencils and ballpoint pens?
  207. A: With manga we have the initial draft, called the "name", and I draw that on normal copy paper with a mechanical
  208. pencil. Even when I do the rough draft I will often use a mechanical pencil and ballpoint pens. Like this...
  210. It's best if a character's design can be understood even from a rough sketch, and mechanical pencils and ballpoint
  211. pens are perfect for doing that kind of work.
  213. Ballpoint pens don't vary in the lines they produce, so they're great for rough sketches, character modeling,
  214. or practice sketching in general I think.
  217. Q: How does that pen feel in comparison to others?
  219. A: This pen draws very smoothly, which is nice. With a smooth pen like this, I like to keep drawing until whatever
  220. I'm drawing is finished.
  222. I think that you the more you draw, the better you get, so it's best to improve your speed and draw hundreds
  223. of pages to get better.
  225. I have to say, the MONO brand is great. This design gives off the feeling that it's "my tool". I think I'll
  226. keep this one on my desk in the future.
  229. Q: Tell us about your stance towards creating things in the future.
  231. A: Right now I'm trying to increase the amount of things I do by hand. Even if it takes more time, my
  232. goal is to do as much as I can by hand.
  234. I've come to understand the strength of my drawing style with "DeDeDeDe". When I was doing "Punpun", I was
  235. focused on increasing my speed so that I could keep up with the serialization, but now I want to focus
  236. on the art, spend more time, and create something more manga-like.
  238. When I turned to digital to help speed up my process I was able to accomplish what I wanted, but it started
  239. to seeem like the art wasn't mine anymore. Digital is a valuable tool, but as long as I can draw, I want
  240. to spend a little more time focusing on that.
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