- Apr 26, 2013 9:04 PM
Firstly, everyone go listen to this podcast, especially if you want to be a mangaka in Japan: http://www.mangamagazine.net/blogs/Screentones-Episode-9---Being-a-Mangaka-in-Japan-feat-Ogawa-Burruku/detail-page/4119
(Hint: it's probably going to crush your dreams with the truth).
But, in the podcast I was mentioned, and everyone seemed a bit confused with what I'm doing out here, and I realize: a lot of people think I'm a mangaka in Japan, so I thought I'd clarify (just so that no one is all "But Tria is in Japan and doing just fine!).
I am a manga artist.... AND I live in Japan. But the two are unrelated. I moved to Japan because I couldn't find a job in the US and I wanted to live in Japan because of my experiences as a child and because what else could I do with my major. I was doing comics long before I moved out here.
The Japan aspect started when I was about 5 and when Yoshiko Matsushita came to stay with us as an exchange student. After she left, her sister Kyoko came to stay. Then there was Shoko, and then Chiko (and one other, I think). So I was brought up with these girls as essentially my sisters, and a mother who was dedicated to changing our house to be more comfortable for them: cooking Japanese food, learning Japanese, etc. So I grew up with that. Then (ignoring the manga stage because that's not all that helpful) I went to college where I majored in East Asian Studies (with a focus on Japan), and a minor in Japanese. Then I graduated, got married to my college boyfriend, and we both moved out to Japan (he was also a Japanese minor and has recently passed the JLPT N1 test: the highest level). I started off teaching English at a conversation school, moved to another school, and then decided I wanted to do art full time, so I switched to teaching only once a week. And we're still in Japan even now, going into our 4th year here.
The comic aspect started from before I can remember, but the webcomics started the final year of high school when my friend Ben (TagalongDT, the other half of Tiny Blue Dragon Studio) asked me to be the artist for a comic he'd written. That was Dubious Company, and that was the start of it all. In college, I took a few art classes on the side, but I never considered doing it as a job, since I knew I wasn't consistently good enough. I found, as the years went on, that I enjoyed it more and more, but I still wanted to translate as my career. Then, while in Japan, I entered an illustration contest with Kodansha (in the hopes of winning some much needed money), and then they invited me to join their correspondence school. This lead to 3 years of doing mail-in assignments, getting feed-back etc. I can pretty much say that I would not be where I am now with my art if I had not taken these classes. From there, I started my comic about life in Japan, for fun, and then my Peter Pan adaptation (which started out mostly as a way to practice what I was learning at my school thing). After that, Tagalong and I decided that we wanted to start a new comic, and Licensed Heroes was born. And that is that.
So, yes, I do live in Japan and yes, I do comics, but I'm not in Japan because I wanted to do comics. So, hopefully, that's all cleared up ^_^
Actually, despite that I have the work ethic (definitely not the language skills) to probably make it as a mangaka out here (I do a total of 4 webcomics a month, 18 full pages and 18 4 panel, and then on top of that I do other art, and I stick to deadlines... and I even work ahead) I don't think I'd want to work for a publisher, even if it possibly meant more money. I really like being in control of my own work, and I like having multiple projects. I have ADD (actually, really, legitimately diagnosed, and it's pretty bad too), so I find that I need to work on a bunch of things or I get bored really fast. If I had to do only one project and up my output for it, I would lose interest so fast. I like the freedom that comes with self-publishing. It isn't possible for everyone, to be sure. I'm especially lucky in that I have a husband who brings in the majority of our earnings, so I have the time to work really hard on art. So yes. I don't know if anyone will find this interesting, but I thought I'd make sure that everyone knows that Japan and comics for me are separate.
And one last note, it seems my screen name confuses a lot of people, so here we go: it's TriaElf9. Tria Elf 9, not Trial (which is a popular misreading), and the Tria (pronounced Tree-a) comes from Triana. The lame reason for this SN is that I had this terrible Mary Sue of a character in High school, and her name was Triana (Tria). She was a half elf (half demon oh man shoot me now), thus TriaElf, and then 9 is my birthday and my lucky number, so thus the 9. I stuck with it because, despite where it came from, I still like the name Tria, I still like elves, and it's such a random name that I can use it anywhere and no one else has it.
Ok, I swear I'm done. I hope that wasn't too much about me and I hope someone finds it... enlightening and not totally self obsessed, lol ^_^;;
- Mar 2, 2013 5:10 AM
So, I guess some of you know by now that I'm a student at a correspondence art school run by Kodansha Publishing in Japan. I'm currently studying manga with them, and I've gotten a few people asking me to post any interesting tips that I learn.
A lot of the stuff is probably only relating to my work in particular, since the teachers review my stuff and send back feedback, but there were a few things they told me recently that I thought were cool.
These are both very simple things, but I find that I do art better if I break down what I'm doing into simple components, so it works really well for me anyway ^_^;;
Up until this point, I've mostly been getting basic tips like "ink better with a nib pen" etc (which was mostly b/c I was out of my comfort zone, since I work exclusively on the computer), but now it's getting past the parts that I know I just need a lot of practice in, and into the areas where I kinda don't know where to start: Composition. Composition can be very tricky *shakes fist at those of you out there who are naturals at it* so I thought I'd pass on what my teachers told me:
Panels: So, I did an assigment (the one that I posted a while back, "kick" that was all about sound effects, speed lines, and placing things correctly within the panels. The one suggestion they had was to "decide who the main character of each panel was" and "make them stand out". It seems really simple, but it does make a somewhat daunting task of drawing panel contents a little easier. Instead of leaving it totally open, it lets you steer yourself (you can as yourself "ok, who is the main character of this panel, and how can I make them stand out?). I've been trying it, in the pages I'll be posting this month, so we'll see if it works out!
Covers: So, for the cover that I posted (the "Worlds Apart" one) I just got that back the other day, and the mostly thought it was okay, but that I should have made everyone bigger, so that the sky isn't so much of the picture and that my characters take up more space. They're right, of course. But, they also said that the best way to make a cover is that you should think about it as though you're compressing your whole manga into a single page. Which of course, if you think about it, is a DUH moment, but it's a duh moment that makes you go "oh...of COURSE! I should do THAT!" which is a useful DUH moment, at least for me ^_^;;; You want to make it clear what your whole story is about, some sort of promise of what's in store, so that people will get interested in it. You don't want to give too much away, but you don't want to make EVERYTHING a secret.
I hope that helps! I always like little things to keep in mind while I draw, since that's just how my brain works (my last big one was "necks are not straight up and down" which really helped me make my people less stiff, and I never even noticed that that was what was causing my stiff issue ^_^;; )
PS: Oh, and I'm super sleep deprived today, as well as a bit sick and feverish, so if any of thise makes NO sense, do ask, I'll see if I can help clarify ^_^;;
- Jan 12, 2013 6:20 PM
Hallo everyone! Just wanted to get it out there that Tiny Blue Dragon Studio is now on Manga Magazine! I am the artist of the the team and I work with my friend, TagalongDT, who is the writer.
Together we make Dubious Company (that one I mentioned in my last blog, which had a kickstarter for volume 2: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1304700212/dubious-company-volume-2 But if you want volume one, there is an option to get that too! Plus, we'll be including a print-only, never before seen sidestory in vol 2!) and Licensed Heroes. DBC is waaay too many pages to go onto MM, but we were able to put Licensed Heroes up, since it's newer! DBC is more Tagalong's brain-child, but LH is mine, so, if you want more art from me, head on over and check out Tiny Blue Dragon Studio!
We're also on SmackJeeves: http://licensedheroes.smackjeeves.com/
- I'm Female
- I live in JAPAN (日本)
- I was born on Dec 9
The artist of Dubious Company, Tales of a Gaijin, and a manga adaptation of Peter Pan. Currently living in Japan as a part time English teacher, full time artist. At the moment, I am studying to be a manga artist through Kodansha's art school, and my work here is mostly a way to put everything I'm learning to good use. Plus, it's just plain fun!
My other Comic: Tales of a Gaijin
If you like my work, I'm also part of the Tiny Blue Dragon Studio team, where I work together with my good friend, TagalongDT! We're on Manga Magazine too! Check us out!
As for about me, I'm a giant nerd, I love history, manga, Japan, video games and so many more things ^_^ Hope you all enjoy my work!
Need to contact me? TriaElf9(AT)becketts.ws is the best way!