Comitia!

Feb. 15th, 2010 11:00 am
amae: (Default)
[personal profile] amae
SO glad I have the day off today. I was dying yesterday. ANYWAY. People asked me for a report of this weekend, which I shall do!


So last week we had a random vacation on Thursday, and I decided to take Friday off as well so I could have a SUPER vacation, which was clearly a good idea because it seems I need to get out of Toyama at least once a month otherwise I'll go insane. Anyway. There were two reasons why I went to Tokyo specifically, and one of them was to go to Comitia (as you all know).

The other one was to see my one true love, BIGBANG. You don't know BIGBANG? Well. They're only the cutest/hottest wannabe gangsta band in Korea! I'm pretty sure no one has really realized this because I haven't been posting on lj that often, but for the past 6 months or so I've been kind of kneedeep in Korean pop-culture fangirlism. It...it's a little disgusting. But I figure I'm making up for all my years as a teenager where I couldn't give a fuck about the Backstreet Boys. Or something.

Anyway, I will fanbarf about BIGBANG later. Now I will talk about Comitia, which is why you're all reading this I know.

So it was my third time going to Comitia, and my first time actually selling stuff (whether that be in Japan or in America). It was pretty interesting, because I really did learn a lot. A lot of it was stuff that I think I would have known if I had actually done artist alley in America, but whatever.

First off, you have to realize that if it's your first Comitia and no one really knows you, you probably won't have a lot of people buying your books. There were many people who walked by with an actual list of places they planned to visit and buy from so they were already occupied. It's the same in Comiket, really, but it's a bit easier to catch people's attention if you're drawing a book from a series they already know and like.

That being said, there were many things we could have done to attract people to our table more, and I'm kinda kicking myself for not even realizing it. We barely had any decorations on our table. We didn't have any stands so we could prop up our comic and show people how it looked inside. No signs. And everything was made a little worse because our comics were in black and white (which was unavoidable considering they were copybon). All in all, we could have planned a lot better and I think we hurt from that. I'm sure most of you reading this are kind of smacking your heads saying, "Well, OBVIOUSLY." but what can I say, I don't have that much foresight.

So yeah, not that many people bought our stuff. Which was sad, but whatever! That doesn't mean no one did, and every time a person stopped buy and looked at our things, it was really exciting. Though of course we did get one guy who stopped by and tried to get us to be his English teachers too (:/ My patience for people who expect you to suddenly want to teach them English is getting thinner and thinner).

The girl sitting next to us even had a sparser table, but she was just giving out her comics for free! It was a very short copybon, and it was in pencil, but it was very cute. A lot of people stopped by and took it, especially since it was free, haha. Maybe next time I should do something like that (perhaps with my leftover copies of this comic lol).

I of course got to walk around other people's tables too, which I love doing because there are so many talented people at Comitia. I didn't buy as much this time as I did last time, but it really is like a treasure chest of comics here--I honestly like Comitia more that Comiket in this respect, because finding a good original comic is just more exciting to me. I look forward to participating in Comitia again (though I can't do the next one since I'll be in Korea, lmao--I'm going to shoot for the one at the end of August).

Anyway, our table was really close to the Publisher's corner. In every big Comitia (so basically the ones that happen at Tokyo Big Sight), a bunch of editors from certain magazines come and basically do free comic/portfolio reviews. All you have to do is sign up, wait for a bit, and they look at your stuff. This time they had people from Square-Enix (Shounen GanGan, G Fantasy, etc), JUMP, IKKI, and a lot of others who I wasn't as familiar with there (EDIT: Oh, crap, Ichijinsha was there too but i didn't realize they published Zero Sum! Bah. Could have met with them too..). I wasn't going to go this time because I really didn't think my comic was up to par, but I ended up going and I'm really glad I did! This was my third time doing something like this with a Japanese editor, so while I wasn't as crazy nervous as I was the first two times, I was kind of expecting what they would say--and I turned out a bit wrong.

The first two times I talked with an editor from Young Jump (which was more because my friend arranged the meeting, not because I particularly want to work for them or feel that my work is fit for them because lol no), and the second time was with an editor from Wings, a magazine that I actually do read pretty frequently and believed that my work most fit. For both meetings I gave them A Maiden's Heart to read and their responses were generally the same--they didn't seem too interested in the story, and while they thought the art was good enough, since the story didn't interest them all they could really talk about were pretty vague things. Like, instead of talking about the comic itself, they would talk about
what their readers generally want, and the type of things I should be drawing if I want to try from their magazine (which believe me, was also very enlightening do not get me wrong). But they would never talk too much about the comic in front of them, and it was that indifference that would be the biggest disappointment.

This time around, I gave my comic to the editor (this time for Square-Enix--I read GanGan and F Gantasy out of their magazines), and he spent a good time flipping through it over and over again before putting it down actually telling me things he liked and didn't like about it! It was pretty amazing, because at that point I wasn't expecting that at all, especially since I didn't have much confidence in this comic for a number of reasons. He said he liked the dialogue (this REALLY made me happy because it was all in Japanese and I wasn't able to get it checked), and my paneling and the way I drew expressions was good. But he wanted me to work on my backgrounds (which...yeah. Wow. I really failed on that front with this comic especially), and work on drawing things a bit more detailed. Then he went on to tell me what specific scenes could have been rendered a bit more interestingly (like, there's a part where Viktor throws Ari a pocket watch, and he fumbles a bit before catching it--the guy said I could have had more fun with the way Ari fumbles, stuff like that). He talked a bit about character design (and he noticed some details I really didn't expect him to notice/care about!) and he even told me I should be playing around with the character's hair a bit more since it virtually looks the same in all of the panels, which I never really thought about lol.

But the thing that made me the happiest was when I asked him, "Well, it's a pretty short story and all...was it interesting?" and without skipping a bit he said, "Yes, it was, it was interesting!". I was so happy when I heard that. He then asked me if I was exchange student, and I told him that I was actually teaching English, but I'm pretty serious about this comic thing to which he responded, "Ok, so you'll be here for a while, right? I look forward to seeing what you'll do next". Then he gave me a list of the comic contests Square-Enix will be holding for the next few months, and a shitload of manga manuscript paper and I was off! Later I would be very sad I had so much paper because I also had the lug all the books I didn't sell back with me, and that shit is HEAVY. But. It was a good experience!

The guy said that a good way to practice how to draw backgrounds in comics is to study how other artists do that, so I think I'm going to spend some time doing exactly that. He also said that it's really the combination of tones and backgrounds that can make the atmosphere of a comic, so I'll be working on both of those together.

So that was about it. Overall, it was a very good experience! I'll post my comic here later, though don't expect to be blown away. I was working on it until the day of the event, and it shows. Next time I'm giving myself enough time to finish the pages and send them to a printer so everything comes out the way I want it to come out. Uggghhh.

EDIT: Oh, speaking of which, I forgot to talk about the crazy last minute nightmares that happened right before the event!

So, I had original planned to do this comic completely by hand, including tones. I later had to change my plans to doing tones digitally because I simply didn't have enough time. Cut to the day before the event. I'm STILL not done, and at this rate tones are simply not an option. So I decide to finish inking the pages, scan them in, print them and then photocopy everything so I can make it into a book. But when I print things out...it looks horrible. The quality is way down, and it just doesn't do the actual pages justice. So I decide to use those pages as a last resort if I can resize everything on the copier at Family Mart.

Flash forward to the MORNING OF THE EVENT. We wake up around 6:30, go to Family Mart, and start making copies. Luckily for me, I find out how to make copies the size I want them fairly quickly, but in our sleep-deprived insanity, we actually end up making like...30 copies of the comic where the pages are in Western order instead of Japanese order. AHHHH. So I end up having to staple the pages together so they're in the right order, and somehow while doing that I realize that I didn't print the second to last two pages...or something like that (I honestly have no idea HOW that happened, because I printed the last pages!). So we reprint those, staple everything together, and somehow make it to the event only a few minutes late. Holy crap. This is why you should give yourself plenty of time to do shit. Ahhhh.

Date: 2010-02-15 02:45 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cetriya.livejournal.com
I've had that during critique once in class. I dont mind if I'm told what needs to be fixed but being in a class of silence (or editors that goes on with a list that can be found on the internet) hurts a lot more. it feels like you're not worth the time of day cause you're a lost cause.

sounds pretty similar to what happens at artist alley, original rarely sells unless the people know of you. Fan art is easier to sell. I usually bring about 10-15 comics to a con (easily to fit in a binder)

Date: 2010-02-15 04:27 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sakusha.livejournal.com
Wow, I'm glad you got to have this learning experience! And go Squeenix guy! I'm glad he was nice and helpful. Don't worry about feeling like you should know stuff already - I always run into situations where I feel like everyone else has learned everything before me. It sounds like this was a good experience for you in terms of getting a feel for things. I'm excited to see your comic!!

Date: 2010-02-15 11:49 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] okarakasa.livejournal.com
That sounds like a really good experience! Maybe if I make it in next year I can go with you some time :3

I'm looking forward to seeing the comic!

Date: 2010-02-16 06:40 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mazokuoni.livejournal.com
Like the other posts have said, what an awesome learning experience. Especially with the Square-Enix guy really talking to you! :D I bet you'll do awesome in the future with the things you've learned.

What will you be doing in Korea?

Also, what's the best way to reach you if I have JET questions? I'd love to pick your brain about your experience XD

Date: 2010-02-26 08:44 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] maiteoida.livejournal.com
Ahhhh, sorry for the late reply ;o; If you have JET questions you can ask me here, or mail me at shadyrabbit at gmail dot com~ I'll try to be helpful!!

Oh, and I'm just going to be doing the basic touristy stuff in Korea. Like eating. And stalking boy bands. You know, the usual. Heehee.

Date: 2010-02-19 01:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ty-ping.livejournal.com
SHIT YOU WERE AT COMITA?!? I WAS AT COMITA!! FUCK!

wandered around for about an hour with some friends and then buggered off to make a v-day dinner for the boyfriend.

Date: 2010-02-19 02:00 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ty-ping.livejournal.com
Oh and that totally reminds me...

http://www.meetup.com/Akiba-Beat/

Working on making an "Anime Club" in Tokyo.

Date: 2010-02-20 07:50 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dgm-allenwalker.livejournal.com
I'm moved with this.

I've always wanted to work with a Japanese comic industry since junior high, and it's my long-time future dream ;;

I hope to go to Comitia and present my short story to one of the publishing company (that best fits) ;___________;

AAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH I WANNA GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!

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