Gabe: You have been to conventions in the U.S. Over the past year and have mentioned the success of Madoka Magica as spurring growth in magical girl Manga and anime in Japan. Have you seen a similar trend with Steven Universe, Zodiac Starforce and more magical girl properties appearing in the west as well?
While I don’t think MadoMagi has had a direct impact on magical girls appearing in the US, I think the fact that people who watched Sailor Moon and Card Captor Sakura as kids are now adults and impacting the animation and comic scene. There have been a lot of successful titles with female creators in the past few years (My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, Frozen, Steven Universe, and half of the team behind Zodiac Starforce) that has pushed studios to take notice. Steven Universe was the first series for Cartoon Network created by a woman, in fact, and I don’t think they expected Steven Universe to be the success it’s become. Anime has been creeping its influence into US series for a while now (Avatar, for example) and I think even Korean animation is leaving its mark. I think comics and animation in the US are finally giving women creators a shot and a lot of these titles have themes of girl power that you do see in magical girls series from the nineties. It took a while, but women creators are finally getting their chance to prove themselves!
Gabe: A two part question here. Have you ever considered doing a biographical comic because your life sounds like a Manga? You were balancing school, being a Manga assistant and being in a Heavy Metal band all at the same time. What tips can you give to aspiring artists out there in terms of time management?
Ha! I hear that a lot, actually. I remember an editor once told me he thought my comic I had brought him was boring, but thought my life was very interesting. I have considered a few ideas that would draw heavily from my experiences, but I had always thought I should change the heroine to someone different from myself. What I would rather do, actually, is write an autobiography on my experiences in Japan and just leave any fictional aspects out of it. I think people would be a little shocked to hear some of the things I went through, though. Maybe I should wait until my parents die so that I don’t shame them into hiding…
As for time management, this is something I really struggle with. My best advice is for people to know their limits. If you are slow at drawing, don’t give your webcomic a M-W-F update schedule. Have a buffer. Get used to having eye bags, bad skin, and energy drinks on hand. I don’t know a lot of artists, be it comic or animation artists, who get a lot of sleep. Those who do sacrifice a social life by spending every waking hour on their work. If you like job security and the 9-5 schedule you get at an office building, this is not the career for you. Deadlines are a harsh reality and they can be even harder if they are self-imposed, as they are in my case.