Interview with Julia Nascimento About Sequential Art and Monogatari.

I met Julia Nascimento last year when she came to an Art Byte Critique meeting. She showed us her books and her illustrations and I was blown away. One of the things I love about Julia is her vision and her drive to create not just art, but community. She has enriched the Tokyo art community by setting up the Sequential Art Meetup. Many thanks to Julia for taking the time to answer questions about her art and collaborative process with Craig Atkinson for their Monogatari story, “Little Key.”

Julia-Nascimento-artist-illustrator-indie-creatorHow long have your been making sequential art?
I’ve been telling stories visually since I was very young. But it only got serious when I started FE&JUada Comics with Felipe Kolb Bernardes, which is a series about our life as a foreign couple living in Japan.

What do you like about sequential art compared to other forms of expression?
I really enjoy being able to use images and words together, and balancing how I use them depending on which way I want to tell a particular story.

What inspired your story for monogatari?
This time I collaborated with a local writer, Craig Atkinson. He provided the text about a lost key in Shibuya and I created four illustrations for it.
When Erica Ward and I decided the theme for ToCo’s second issue was going to be “monogatari”, we agreed that the focus should be inanimate objects, rather than people. Shibuya always represented a kind of sea of people for me, and I tried to depict people as a form of landscape, once the main subject of the story is a key.

What are you most proud of in your story?
To be honest what I’m most proud of is the fact we were able to put together such an amazing book with thirteen stories! I took the first printing test with me to read during a long overseas flight and it was extra special to read it up in the air. The stories are so different from each other yet they give the reader a great feeling of diversity that Tokyo has.

What was the biggest challenge in making your story?
Working in the same piece with another person is always a challenge, both sides need to be in tune for the partnership to be successful. At first I thought of drawing the story in panels, but the text I received from Craig was nothing close to what I imagined as comics, and I didn’t wanted to force the story into something it was not. So I had to figure out a way to display the text on my illustrations in a meaningful way for the storytelling itself.

Do you have any favorite stories or sequential artists that you recommend to readers?
I do! I love Julia Wertz’s brutally honest comics (plus she does an amazing job drawing interior), Sarah Glidden‘s journalistic watercolor comics, and Carson Ellis‘ whimsical picture books. I’m also a huge fan of Daniel Clowes and Adrien Tomine. Guy Delisle‘s comics diaries abroad are also a delight! As for Japanese authors, I love Yukari Takinami‘s “Rinshi!! Ekoda-chan”, Junji Ito‘s “Uzumaki”, and Katsuhiro Otomo‘s “Akira” was probably my first encounter with manga in my uncle’s storage boxes when I was around five or six years old.

Where can people find out more about your work?
You can find me on Instagram, Tumblr, Bigcartel for my shop, and on Carbonmade for my portfolio. My autobiographical comics FE&JUada is on Instagram, Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter and Bigcartel under @feijuadacomics.

Interview With Jessica Whitfield About Sequential Art and Monogatari

Jessica is one of the collaborating artists in Monogatari. We didn’t have the chance to meet as she couldn’t make it to the release party. Her story about the Romance Car, a train that travels from Tokyo to Hakone, shows a keen observation of Japan with a perfect dash of whimsy. Jessica kindly took the time to reply to my questions about her work.
jessica-whitfile-illustration-sequential-stories-comics-interview-thespendypencil

Q: How long have your been making sequential art?

I’ve been sketching cartoon strips for about 6 months. It started as a diary to try and remember funny things my friends said during the day. Monogatarizine with ToCo is my first published piece!

Q: What do you like about sequential art compared toother forms of expression?

I like that sequential art is very accessible. You don’t have to understand art to get it. It’s also a little nostalgic.

Q: What inspired your story for Monogatari?

I think Japan must be the only country in the world to make people fall in love with trains. Nearly every one I met in Japan would get animated talking about their favourite train line. I worked in a kindergarten so trains were a massive deal for the kids and a great way to make friends! My favourite train in Japan is the romance car; I love the style, the destination (Hakone)and the name of it.

Q: What are you most proud of in your story?

I feel proud that I was able to capture the small things that made me love Tokyo; like the little plant pots outside houses and seasonal flowers.

What was the biggest challenge in making your story?

The hardest aspect was coming up with an original plot! I wanted it to be a love story but not too cliché or soppy.

Q: Do you have any favorite stories or sequential artiststhat you recommend to readers?

I love Dodge Greenley’s instagram comics. Yumi Sakugawa is another inspirational sequential illustrator!

Q: Where can people find out more about your work?

For now, just my instagram: genki_jess

Interview with Tania Vicedo About Sequential Art and Monogatari.

Tania-Vicedo_Artist-profile-pictureI met Tania Vicedo on the day of the Monogatari Release party set up. I love the pared-down style of her images. She really gets to the essence of her subject. I enjoyed speaking with her about her work. She graciously took the time to answer questions about her art and creative process for her story in Monogatari.

Q: How long have your been making sequential art?
I made my first comics when I was a teenager inspired by manga and the cartoons on TV. However by that time I don’t think I finished any of the stories completely.

During my MA Communication Design at Kingston University, London (2014–2016) I got interested again in sequential art specifically in wordless stories. I really enjoyed books by the independent publisher Nobrow. In consequence to that, my final project was a wordless and completely handmade book on the topic of emotions. To see the project please visit this link: https://taniavicedo.net/Emotional-Symmetries-book

After I graduated, I made a short graphic story for the Observer/Cape/Comica graphic short story prize, which got shortlisted and exhibited in Orbital Comics, London. Because of this I decided to make a zine version of this story which I have been bringing with me to several zine and illustration events. Please see the project here: https://taniavicedo.net/In-a-not-so-far-future-zine

Nowadays, even though my main focus is on creating conceptual illustrations, I keep creating sequential art for personal projects or collaborations, such as Monogatari.

Q: What do you like about sequential art compared to other forms of expression?
I like that there is always a narrative to it. It is a medium for telling stories, and it is as diverse as films or books can be.

As I mentioned earlier I am particularly interested in wordless visual stories for several reasons. I like that they are universal, anyone can read the visual language despite of the word language they speak. However the visual language is not a precise one, so anyone will interpret in their own unique way and will perceive the story differently, which in my opinion that makes it a very interesting experience.

Q: What inspired your story for Monogatari?
I was inspired by my neighborhood charming irregular buildings which remained me of the wabi-sabi philosophy, that’s why I decided to make a series of images on this topic.

Wabi-sabi in its origins referred to the solitude felt when living in nature and it was also linked to the tea ceremony. It is also about looking closer, appreciating imperfection and the pass of time.

In my story I made a sequence of images so they are a continuous close up, one vignette leads to the other, so the next vignette is a close up of the previous one (except for the two last ones).

Q: What are you most proud of in your story?

I am happy I was able to tell a story completely without words this time. Also I am happy about how I found this story; during the brainstorming stage I had the ideas for what could be some other stories, but I reached a point where I was drawing a tea cup, and then I drew the crack on it, and then I could see the crack looked like a mountain. From that moment, I was able to build the story quite smoothly. I am happy I could find an idea in the serendipity of the process.

Q: What was the biggest challenge in making your story?

Coming up with a story is always challenging. But it also was working in black and white, as I usually work using colours.

Do you have any favorite stories or sequential artists that you recommend to readers?
I really recommend the work of Marion Fayolle, especially her book ‘In Pieces.’  Her stories are incredibly ingenious and funny.

Also the work by Jon McNaught is very interesting. He creates these quiet, poem like graphic stories which are also very beautiful. I like his book ‘Birchfield Close’.

I would like to recommend also the work of Evan M. Cohen and María Medem. They both create very unique sequential stories which they share on their Instagram accounts.

Q: Where can people find out more about your work?
In my website and social media:

https://taniavicedo.net/
https://www.instagram.com/taniasillustration/
https://www.facebook.com/tanias.illustration/

Tania-Vicedo_monogatari-exhibition

Monogatari: Tokyo Collective’s Second Sequential Art Anthology

Illustrators Julia Nascimento and Erica Ward created ToCo (Tokyo Collective) which produces sequential art anthologies. Julia Nascimento explains, “Erica and I created ToCo to promote collaborative opportunities for local artists and showcase their artwork in storytelling.” The first issue of ToCo, Hajime, came out early Spring 2018. Hajime presents eight different artists’ first impression of Tokyo. I loved the perspective of the artists and their work. I loved Hajime so I was excited to take part in the second issue, Monogatari.

Monogatari is the tale of things. Thirteen artists tell stories of inanimate objects in Tokyo. The variety of art and points of view are impressive.

Release Party: Thanks to Tokyo Chapter and the ToCo team and everyone who came out to support the release of Monogatari. It was great to see so many people looking at and enjoying the work.

Artist Talk: On the last day, artists talked about their work. It was interesting to hear about the what inspired and influenced the artists when creating their stories. The Sequential Art Meetup Group in Tokyo had a meeting after–another chance to meet more artists!

 

 

INTERVIEWS:

I interviewed some of the artists about their creative process and thoughts about sequential art. They will be coming out over the next couple days. I will update the links below when each interview is posted.

Tania Vicedo
Jessica Whitfield

Participating Artists Information
Julia Nascimento http://nsjulia.carbonmade.com
Erica Ward https://ericawardart.com
Tania Vicedo https://taniavicedo.net
Craig Atkinson https://craigatkinson.tokyo/
Carin Ogawa https://www.ogawacarin.com/
Odding Wang http://odding.rocks/
Jess Whitfield  https://www.instagram.com/genki_jess/
Mariko Jesse https://marikojesse.com/
Lori Ono http://loriono.com/
Felipe Kolb Bernardes https://conanfelipe.artstation.com/
Louis-Étienne Vallée https://louisillustration.com/
Chizuko Tanaka http://tanakachizuko.com/
Shingo Nagasaki http://nagasakishingo.com/
Kaori Noda https://nodakaori.tumblr.com/

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