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MangaNEXT 2012 – Maeda Tomo Friday Q&A

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Similar to Tateno-sensei, Robert Newman of Jmanga opened the panel by introducing Maeda Tomo-sensei. Maeda-sensei also wrote in a variety of genres including shoujo, BL and yuri. She is known for Beyond My Touch as well as Black Sun Silver Moon which is also on JManga. She is currently working on Kesshou Monogatari and Kamitsuki as well as several oneshot yuri titles. She enjoys traveling to quiet places and traditional Japan.

Felipe Smith begane the Q&A with the same question as with Tateno-sensei:

    Q: When did Maeda-sensei decide that she wants to be a mangaka?
    A: I felt I wanted to become a mangaka when I debuted at 27 years old. Please note that even at a late age, it is still possible.

    Q: Where do you draw your inspiration from?
    A: I actually take walks in my neighborhood and see flowers at the side of the street and think it’s pretty. I take my inspiration from that and from looking at a branch and seeing it looks like something or reading an interesting book and feeling that it’s very good.

    Q: What are some of your favorite artists?
    A: I have many favorite artists. One of the most influencial was the mangaka for Doraemon, Fujiko F. Fujio-sensei. Also, I like alot of artists from Shonen Jump.

    Q: How long did it take you to find your voice or style?
    A: I actually had my point of view prior to my debut. I was actually reading and drawing manga at a young age. Even then, I felt that I had my own point of view. Once I felt that I wanted to make this my job was once my debut was decided.

    Q: When you’re creating, do you have a particular place you like to work in the house?
    A: I like working in my own room alone. I like very quiet enviornments. Sometimes I listen to music and at times, I would even put the tv on at very low volumes.

    Q: What kind of pens do you use to draw? Since many mangaka use computers now, how much of the work do you do on the computer? What software programs do you use?
    A: I actually do most of my art analog [on paper] except for the color which is digital. For sketching, I use a blue lead pencil which is best for erasing as well as a Maru-pen. For digital color, I’m not too familiar with the programs so I use Photoshop and another which is the most basic ones to use.

    Q: Since you’re fond of traditional Japan, how much of that is influenced in your manga in contrast to modern Japan? What is the balance between the two in your work?
    A: Regarding traditional Japan, it’s not just Japan that I like. I look at old buildings and study the aging of the buildings so it very much influences my work.
    Newman: She said that she also likes to imagine how the people inside the buildings lived when they were first built.
    A: Obviously now, I live in Modern Japan so I get influenced by it. But even in a short amount of time, things change often so I draw inspiration from that.

    Q: On the covers of Black Sun Silver Moon and Beyond My Touch, there are flowers. Do you just see a flower and say ‘I want that on my cover’ or a story comes up? Do you have a favorite flower?
    A: When I do draw flowers, they are usually my favorite. I try to match the flowers with the background. My favorite flowers are the cherry blossoms but they’re really hard to draw.

    Q: In Beyond My Touch there is a line that saids *paraphrasing* ‘If you possess a dead body, it will be erect’. Is there a Japanese tradition that has this belief or where did the inspiration come from that line?
    A: It might be a translation mistake because I’m not sure where it comes from. It might be from the 49th day after death in Japan, shiju kunichi which is 49 days after someone passes away. In the Buddhist tradition, you have to wait 49 days to do something special in the family. On that day, their spirits rise up to heaven. That might be what it was supposed to be…. *confusion*

    Q: If you can go back in time and rewrite any story in history, which one would it be?
    A: It would be a traditional Japanese story. It isn’t something specific that I want to write, but something like the old stories in Japan because I love kimonos which is the main reason why.

    Q: When you create stories, do you start out with the message that you want to convey or do you start with the characters and the situation?
    A: It’s a combination of both. It doesn’t often happen that I have the characters first. I usually think of the story and throughout the time, I come up with the message that I want to convey to the audience.

    Q: If you had a chance to collaborate with another artist, who will it be and what will it be about?
    Midori: Usually in Japan, two mangaka don’t usually collaborate in art. There would be an original writer and an original mangaka to match with the writer.
    A: I don’t have a specific artist that I want to work with. But I would like to work with another mangaka regarding the character and not so much with the story. In coversation with other mangaka, I get lots of different ideas and I could come up with a character that I wouldn’t usually create.

The Q&A ended with Maeda-sensei taking the seat in front of the camera. She also drew with pencil first before inking the lines. The eyes were brillantly blue. Another Taki…only this time, it’s from Black Sun Silver Moon. Smiling and cheerful.

They raffled off a series of books and eco bags, starting first with Tateno-sensei’s Can You Capture a Martini and her Happy Boys eco tote bags. Later, it was Kesshou Monogatari vol. 1 by Maeda-sensei followed by some Kesshou Monogatari eco tote bags.

The last two prizes were the art pieces drawn by the two mangaka. We were competing with cheers from next door of the movie Gantz, so Bryon, the staffer in charge of the Japanese guests encouraged everyone to cheer their hardest.

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