International Comic/Manga School Contest on now! Read some advice from our sponsors to perfect your pieces!

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Intro

The International Comic/Manga School Contest 2023 started on Dec. 1 and is open to students from around the world.


The theme this year is Light and Darkness. We have gathered some advice from our sponsors, who range from large publishers to comic sites and Webtoon studios, to help out everyone struggling with what to draw and how to go about it.


Read this to take this chance to get to know how these professionals would view your work, how to improve your own work, and what sort of talent the publisher you like is looking for!



Q1. What kind of entries are you looking forward to most on the theme of Light and Darkness? Do you have a specific vision in mind?


BookLive
Editor-in-Chief, Comic Editorial Dept. Div. 2, Team 1

I think the most important thing will be the interpretation of the theme. It’s not about just drawing the simple reality of light and darkness, it’s taking them to mean things like “glory and defeat,” “life and death,” or you could go as far as “delicious and unpalatable.” It might pay to take the theme as opposites and go from there.


EVER GLORY PUBLISHING CO.,LTD.

I am looking forward to entries that don't use overdone stereotypes of light and darkness and take into account a broader view about how they are opposites yet also depend on each other.


SILENT MANGA AUDITION®
SMA Editorial Division

The theme this year allows for a variety of genre interpretations so I am looking forward to how you take on Light and Darkness! I am especially looking forward to seeing how you show something in your life that others might not notice that connects with the theme.


GAComic

It's a simple but complex theme. Without giving it more thought you might make a lackluster piece.
First of all, ask yourself what you would add to light and darkness?
It doesn't need to be some grand idea, it could be something you were happy about or disappointed about and then later found hope in.
That's also light and darkness.
Please show us your life experiences through your story.


Q2. What are you looking forward to or expecting from the entries from this contest, which attracts creators from around the world?


SHUEISHA

The thing that you are most passionate about, that only you can draw! I am looking forward to an entry filled with your passion! The ability to render and story building are improved each time you practice, but it is near impossible to insert your passion in as an afterthought. It could be a theme, character, or a specific panel. I am looking forward to an entry that has your passion in it with at least one thing that you really want to draw - but hopefully even more.


KADOKAWA
Vertical Scrolling Comic Department Takashi Hijikata

Everyone will take this theme to mean something different, so I hope that I can see an entry true to your originality and passion.


EVER GLORY PUBLISHING CO.,LTD.

I am expecting to come across amazing entries filled with free thought put into drawings.


GAComic

This contest is a part of your journey, not the destination. Think about what you want this to become (whether it be a step to being a comic artist or just a challenging event) and what you want to show (that you are good at drawing or have confidence in your composition).
Communicate all this to us in your work. We will respond to that passion.


Q3. Is there any tendencies that you have seen from student works in the past that you would like them to be aware of and pay special attention to this time?


BookLive
Editor-in-Chief, Comic Editorial Dept. Div. 2, Team 1

Students have less life experience to draw from. You need to keep absorbing experience from here on but not having it now isn’t something to be ashamed of. However, when it comes to putting the work into practice, one's life experience comes into play. If you are able to take from your life and everything around you, you will find you can draw realistic characters and comics.


pixiv

There are many things you want to draw and want to say and then some things that don’t get conveyed enough. Use large panels for where you want to highlight the message and think about how to divide your pages to show what you want to convey.


Mangatari

Can you draw the theme in a way that is easily read? I hope for entries that are based on your experiences and feature your thoughts and feelings. What shape will your story take to communicate this to the readers? Don’t aim to have them understand, make them understand. I will be paying attention to the methods used to convey this. I am really looking forward to seeing the entries!


SILENT MANGA AUDITION®
SMA Editorial Division

Characters are the bread and butter of comics. Start out with thinking about what sort of character doing what will be interesting. Create the character you think is the best in the world and your entry will improve overall. So start off with asking yourself what kind of character you like. That’s my advice.


Minto Studio
Genta Nakagawa, Business Manager

The two most important things when creating work are putting your passion about what you want to write into the work and the other is making sure that what you want to say is communicated to the readers. I suggest showing your work to others regularly to nail the latter one.


Planeta Cómic
Alexandra Pierres

Time after time, new authors are afraid to innovate or try something that is out of their comfort zone. And that's a mistake because artists sometimes have to take the plunge, even if the results are not perfect. That is what can make you stand out from the rest. It's not only taking your skills to the next level... you must dare to go further, too!


Q4. What do you pay special attention to when it comes to how comics are presented, such as how frames are used in storytelling?


BookLive
Editor-in-Chief, Comic Editorial Dept. Div. 2, Team 1

Memorable character lines and impressive panels are important when making your comic. A character’s desperate cry, inner wish, a promise made to oneself or someone else. What words would your character use in these kinds of scenes? When a character uses a special move or when they confess their love to someone, what panel size will you use? What angle will you draw the scene in? Someone who can master these two points will have a large advantage.


EVER GLORY PUBLISHING CO.,LTD.

How smoothly the plot flows and how the characters and backgrounds match it.


LINE WEBTOON

I think a stand-out entry would be one that uses the aspects particular to the genre to accentuate the story twists, with appropriate rhythm between panels, and has masterful fluidity and emotion of the narrative.



SILENT MANGA AUDITION®
SMA Editorial Division

The rendering of facial expressions and emotions of the characters. Readers feel interest when characters have strong emotional states. Strong anger or sadness of the character makes you empathetic and draws you into the story. Therefore, try to draw character expressions well and use your panels to showcase the emotion as best you can.


Planeta Cómic
Alexandra Pierres

When explaining their story to readers, authors must use all the tools that comics provide as a format, and one of the most important tools is narrative.
An original and dynamic narrative will keep the reader intrigued through every page.



Q5. We have seen the rise in popularity of webtoons in the last few years. What do you think contestants should keep in mind when creating their webtoon entries?



RED SEVEN

Just because it is read vertically doesn’t mean that all your panels need to be very vertical. If your panels are too long it will make it hard to read and will lessen impact. Webtoons are viewed during the monotonous task of scrolling, so see if you can insert enough to create anticipation to keep the audience scrolling.


Mangatari

What do readers think is interesting to keep them reading this webtoon? What will they see that excites them? There are so many ways you can express yourself. Analyze and incorporate past works and then add your own spin to reach an outstanding score in expression.



Q6. What do you like about webtoon as a format?


SHUEISHA

Unlike bound page-based comics, webtoons give you the freedom of space. Webtoons that understand space well are a pleasure to read and it’s hard to stop reading them. I would like you to look at a webtoon that you enjoy reading and then use it to help decide panel spacing and panel order to make your work easy to read.


KADOKAWA
Takashi Hijikata, Vertical Scrolling Comic Department

This genre is still young and you have the chance to be among some of the first of its authors throughout the entire world.
I would like you to aim to be a pioneer.


Q7. What skills do you think are necessary for creating webtoons?


pixiv

Webtoons are made to be on a smartphone and can reach an audience who isn’t used to reading page comics. I think the key is to provide the excitement that will urge readers to keep scrolling.


RED SEVEN

You are good at thinking of stories but aren’t good at line drawings. You are good at coloring but aren’t good at thinking of stories. If you are good at any one of these things, you can get involved in webtoon production. Concentrate on what you are good at and your potential will shine through.


Minto Studio
Genta Nakagawa, Business Manager

More than manga, webtoon stories need to embody a trend and require a certain drawing style. There is a lot of division of labor, so it’s possible to start a serialization quickly if you have skill in comic drafting, character line art, backgrounds, or coloring.


Q8. What type of creator would you want to manage? Who would you want to work with? Please tell us what traits you are looking for.


SHUEISHA

As I wrote before, I want to work with someone who draws something only they can draw and is full of passion. Among those people I would look for someone who draws character expression with fervor. Manga and webtoons need good character lines as well as drawing talent. Show me all the character has to offer, inside and out!


Mangatari

First off, I want extreme motivation and guts. Of course I want drawing skill, but if matched with extreme motivation and the will to take on any work, I would absolutely want to work together. Anyone who wants a challenge, please visit our homepage and apply.


GAComic

I want to work with anyone who respects their readers.
Even if you put your heart into the work, if none of it is communicated to the reader then it just ends in pure self-satisfaction.
Comic and manga are a form of communication. You'll only be able to move someone when you communicate with them. Communicate your love and passion to everyone.


Q9. What kinds of work or genres of comic do you look for for your own publication?


pixiv

pixiv is a social platform that allows for a wide range of genres, where creators communicate with each other through the works they post. You can publish and interact with illustrations, comics, novels and more. pixiv comic indies has recently released in beta as a service to help comic creators debut. Please come over and try it for yourself!


LINE WEBTOON

The traditional Chinese version of LINE WEBTOON is open to works in various genres. If you upload your work to the Rising Star section for serialization, the editorial staff will evaluate your work for appropriateness of style, ability to divide and organize the plot, and your publication track record in the Rising Star section.


Minto Studio
Genta Nakagawa, Business Manager

I am looking for anyone who is willing or able to draw on-trend webtoons and doesn’t care about audience demographics. I also want to welcome anyone who wants to do comic drafting, character line art, backgrounds, or coloring. Apply from the site below


Planeta Cómic
Alexandra Pierres

As a very eclectic publishing house, our catalog is full of works aimed at all kinds of audiences. We have literary adaptations to our own graphic novels and manga. Furthermore, we are open to receiving all kinds of projects. Our email for submissions is: proyectosplanetacomic@planeta.es


Q10. Tell us about what the creators you scouted through this contest are up to now!


KADOKAWA
Takashi Hijikata, Vertical Scrolling Comic Department

There are two creators who have serialization discussions right now. At the earliest they might start their serialization next spring.



How did you enjoy the sponsor advice? We hope you got to hear a lot of perspectives and advice from industry professionals about what to keep in mind when creating manga, comics, and webtoons.


We are awaiting your International Comic/Manga School Contest 2023 entry that might be the first step to your journey of a professional debut!


Those who helped by way of invaluable advice


SHUEISHA

SHUEISHA is a publisher that publishes manga, fashion magazines, and literary books. They publish a variety of comic magazines from Weekly Shonen Jump and Weekly Young Jump to Ribbon in Japan. As well as being the publisher of the worldwide smash hit, “One Piece,” SHUEISHA also provides manga fans with the Shonen Jump+, Manga Mee, and YoungJump! apps.


KADOKAWA

An all-around entertainment company, KADOKAWA, runs a wide range of businesses in publishing, videos, games, web services, education, merchandising, intangible services, and inbound sales. The company’s free comic site, Comic Walker, features popular KADOKAWA manga. It boasts more than 4,000 titles ranging from mixed-media works to popular isekai comics.


BookLive

Amassing a stock of over 1.4 million books since its establishment in 2011, BookLive has become one of Japan's largest comprehensive e-book stores. Striving for maximum usability for readers, BookLive offers over 10,000 titles available to read for free! The company also produces original ebooks, aiming to create titles that capture the hearts and minds of the smartphone manga generation.


pixiv

A social network for creators that makes getting creative even more fun! With over 71 million users worldwide, more than 100 million illustrations, comics, and novels have been posted. New, fun projects for illustrators, manga artists, and writers pop up every day.


Planeta Cómic

Planeta Cómic (Grupo Planeta) was founded in 1982. We offer a wide range of the world's best shonen manga: Dragon Ball, My Hero Academia, Naruto, One Piece, and Kaiju No. 8, as well as kodomo, seinen, shojo, yuri, and BL manga. As for North American comics, our Star Wars books and independent works deserve special mention.


Mangatari

We are a Manga Artist Entertainment Production company with a vision to create the stage where the next generation of manga artists can be active and accelerate the evolution of Japanese manga. Working closely with manga artists' careers, we push the envelope on manga as an art form. We also deliver manga to publishers through our Team-based Serialization and Comic Production “Manpro” business.


EVER GLORY PUBLISHING CO.,LTD.

Ever Glory Publishing Co., Ltd. has mainly published and distributed educational- and entertainment-oriented children’s books. Founded in June, 1991, it once gained authorizations from SHOGAKUKAN, Kodansha, SHUEISHA, and Akita Shoten to issue Chinese versions of comics in Taiwan. As part of its recent focus on training manga artists and holding original manga contests regularly, the company also welcomes aspiring authors to submit their comics and novels whenever possible. We are looking for shojo manga and BL manga artists!


LINE WEBTOON

LINE WEBTOON is a new global digital comics platform available on both computer and mobile devices. The Traditional Chinese version was released in July 2014 and is dedicated to providing readers with manga content that you won’t want to put down once you start reading! We are currently looking to nurture Taiwanese creators.


SILENT MANGA AUDITION®

One of the biggest international manga competitions held in the world. It is created and organized by COAMIX Inc., a manga publisher founded by iconic creators such as Tetsuo Hara and Tsukasa Hojo. The competition aims to discover, nurture, and publish the next generation of international manga creators.


Minto Studio

Minto Studio is a webtoon specialist. They have built a unique production system with their vast global creator network and ten years of content production knowledge. They produce works in collaboration with several platforms, including Kakao Pikkoma, with whom they have a business alliance.


GAComic

GA Bunko, which has produced numerous light novel masterpieces, has launched a new comic book label, GA Comic! GA Comic focuses on comic book series across a wide range of genres, from otherworldly fantasy to romantic comedy. It has serialized many popular works from Piccoma, other e-bookstores, and manga apps.


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