You know the comic that I am working my butt off on? I really, really, really want to push sales. I’m at just around 50, so in an effort to crack the first 100, I’m running a special. ALL orders made today get a free commission (which usually go for $40 on Etsy). That’s right, FREE! I just can’t bear if this doesn’t succeed, so I need everyone’s help!

The only American who worked as a manga assistant in Japan is starting her own self-funded comic, and this is it! Eventually, I want to start my own original manga magazine featuring talent from around the world, and learning the publishing business here is my first step!



☆彡 Click here for a list of all of the posts in this series. *^_^*

Oh my. I’m sitting here, just after midnight, fully aware that it’s my birthday. My 35th birthday, actually. I don’t feel that age at all, or at least not what I imagined that age to be when I was younger (I should write a post about that). ANYWAYS, this post isn’t about that! This post is here because I’ve been fervently working on a manga, and it’s way behind schedule, but I’m sharing the process with you. That’s the way I roll.

First off, making manga is HARD. WORK. I should know, I did it for two years as an assistant, and I’ve been trying to do it for real, at the same pace, as an adult, and found out that there’s no way to put out a quality manga in a month with the page count and art quality that I want, and do it all alone. I’m so sorry everyone for pushing the release date back, BUT you’re going to have it totally made up to you! Trust me. Well, look and see as we go along.

Today I’m writing about a NAME. A name is what they do in Japan while first writing a manga. If you’ve read or seen Bakuman, then you’re familiar with a Name and what it is. It’s basically a rough rough draft, with sloppy pictures, to put together your manga.

My name. 

You can do this a lot of ways. First, I started with a basic timeline to organize my thoughts. Then, I wrote a page-by-page breakdown of what I wanted to go on every page. I wrote general actions, and even some dialogue. Basically, this was all about getting my thoughts together and putting them in order to make sure that they worked. Does that make sense? It does to me, but I might be fooling myself.

My timeline, breakdown, and finally the actual Name on top.

Let me teach you how by actually answering some questions (that I actually get asked):

So, how do I write a Name? 

I’m glad you asked! It’s fairly simple, though it’s not easy. At least not for me. You think hard about characters, dialogue, and panel layout, and then you draw it with simple drawings or stick figures, or whatever level of detail you want. I recommend going really simple, because you’re probably going to change things as you go on.

I can’t draw. Can I write a Name? 

You sure can! Have you heard of Death Note? Bakuman? Hikaru no Go? Those were all written by one person (whose drawings are terrible) and drawn by another. You can definitely write a comic if you can draw stick figures. Maybe you can find someone to partner with you to draw it, or you can submit it to a publisher. They may not listen, but who knows? They just might, if you have a really amazing, original story.

What format do I use?

Whatever is comfortable for you! I used normal old white printer paper, folded in half to look like a book. The proportions are similar to a manga page, and it was something that I already had on hand. I used a regular mechanical pencil with .3 lead, my favorite. Okay, and I used a pen sometimes, when I felt like it. The point is that you can use anything, any format. Some mangaka draw little tiny thumbnails of pages as their names, and write the dialogue on the side. Some put 4 on one page. Some use the whole page (which I have done). Some don’t even use printer/copy paper, they use special notebooks in Japan that look like manga paper, and are made specifically for Names. I used to own one of these, but it never really worked for me for some reason.

What if I don’t know how to draw the layout?

My best advice is to just draw whatever comes to mind, even if it’s bad, and then move on. When you’ve finished the chapter, you’ll have new thoughts about the beginning and be able to change it. I think the beginning of Denkiki went through 5 or 6 revisions before I was happy enough with it to start drawing.

No, I really don’t know how to draw layouts.

You can always use your favorite manga for reference! I am not saying to copy. It wouldn’t be your own original work if you copied it. But look at the kinds of panels they use, and use that as inspiration. I pulled out my favorite mangas (of the same genre) over and over again while drawing.

How long should it take to finish a complete name?

This is going to depend on a lot of things, like the length of your story, your inspiration and ability to concentrate, and how much experience you have. I worked for years in manga, but I am still a bit of a newbie when it comes to writing names. It took me almost a whole week to draw my name and revise it, and come to something that I really like. That’s about 50 hours, since I was working 10 hours a day. That’s a lot, I know. Arina Tanemura claims that she writes all of her names in one day. Konomi-sensei always seemed to be working on next month’s Name in the studio while we were busy with the current month, so maybe he was on the slower side, too.

Happy drawing, guys! No, it really is that simple! It’s not easy, it is hard work, but it will really pay off when you have a completed story in your hands and can’t wait to get down to drawing it!

Let me know if you have any other questions, and in the meantime, help me reach 100 preorders for my manga! I really, really need everyone’s help, and you can even consider it a birthday present to me! You can order here: http://jamieism.storenvy.com/products/13801038-denkiki-issue-1-is-finally-coming-preorder

That comic that I’ve been working on FOREVER? Well, I’m finally taking the leap. I’m scared to death, but I’m going to make the leap without a safety net, really. Harness, pshhh, who needs it?

When things are hard, fall back on what you love. I found that although I’m lacking in sleep, I’m actually feeling a LOT better, if that makes any sense. Or, I could be delirious. Thuy and I are good. I love drawing. Obviously, I need sleep. I’ll go do that (and please order the book while I’m sleeping).

Please go order a copy RIGHT NOW!

There are three options for the comic. You’ll be getting the same story, same content, but either ebook or physical copy (or both), plus little extras that I’ve been dying to make. Here are the options:
1) Ebook only
2) Ebook and physical copy (perfect bound)
3) Commemorative edition (physical book, ebook, signed original postcard, and collectible acrylic charm)

I’ll base the printing quantity on how many orders I get. Whether I continue the comic will also depend on how many orders I get, so please help me spread the word! I promise you won’t be disappointed! For more details, read the link (and don’t forget to order right now!).

I’m really exhausted, because I’ve been up for nearly two days straight with only three hours sleep, I will be updating regularly on my progress, so buy copies, share this post, and stay tuned!!

Blank space.

I keep crying. I feel like I’m on a rickety old roller-coaster, with my feelings going up and down wildly, propelled on a track laid out before me that I can’t control. All the time, there is a fear hanging over me when some part of the foundation crumbles, I will fall to my death.

It’s like, I should be optimistic. But how can I be when a promise doesn’t mean anything anymore?

Two days ago, she said that she’d never leave me. Then yesterday, she wanted to know whether if we ever broke up, we could be friends. Then, again, she said that she’d never leave me.

I am going to have to get another job to make ends meet right now, as I’m just not productive enough. I hate the idea, because out of everything that I want right now in the world, I want to 1) Spend time with my girlfriend (and feel loved), and 2) create stories/comics that people love. I thought that it would be impossible to juggle all three, because she won’t make the time to see me every day if I have such a rigid schedule, but she promised that she would.

Yet, I haven’t even found a job yet, and she’s already saying that she wants to spend days away from me, and I can’t come over.

It’s breaking my heart. I wish that I didn’t have to complain, but I don’t have any other outlet, really. I can’t lose her, not when I’ve fallen for her so badly. Not someone that I care for this much. But I also can’t bear to not see her. Sometimes it feels like it would be easier if I didn’t exist at all. I mean, then nobody could hurt me, and I’d never have to cry like this.

It’s 9am, and I’m sitting on my living room couch, and thinking about how one year has already passed since I moved to Hawaii, and all of the things that I wanted to achieve in that time that kind of got lost in the mire. I don’t know why…. Is it because I have been depressed off and on? Is it becauese I feel like I have remarkably little control over my life? Is it because I’m so blindingly poor that I had to put my rent on credit cards for the last two months and they’re maxed out?

I should focus on the good things. This is my one-year anniversary with Hawaii, after all! It’s longer than I stayed in Aberdeen, and 1/9th of the time that I spent in Tokyo. Gosh, I miss Tokyo, now that you mention it. A LOT.

Is it because I’m in a new relationship? Thuy and I have been going out for three months as of today, but it feels like at least a year and a half. I feel like I know her so intimately, and like I want to spend the rest of my life with her. I love her so, so much. Sometimes I’m afraid, though, that she’ll choose to walk away from me because I love her too much, as if my love could be a heavy, unyielding weight pressed down upon her that she’ll want to run from. So, I think that I should be independent and not clingy. Only to realize that I miss her too much, and am scared to lose her.

I guess that’s how it goes?

I’ve always loved my blog, so it’s going to be my therapy right now. Let’s see how this goes? Thuy is sleeping in my room, and I’m alone on the couch, writing and thinking about so many things. I’m going to work on an art piece for my comic now– the cover. Maybe, maybe I can finish today? If so, that would certainly be reason to celebrate!

It’s scary, I have to admit it. Nothing is safe, nothing is sane. If I don’t make enough to live, then I’ll be kicked out of the room that I’m renting, and then what will happen?

But.. I’ve decided to take a huge gamble! It’s now or never, and I am really tired and stressed-out from waiting for so long for the stars to align (basically for me to win the lottery, lol). Forget that! I’ll make my own destiny!

I’m going to start up my manga production company! What does that mean? That means that I’ll make it my full-time job to draw manga and put it out, and hope really strongly that I don’t crash-and-burn! After my own manga, I will grow to hopefully put out manga by other people, and amazing light novels, and all sorts of fun goods. I’m getting an agent, too, who will help me book conventions to come and speak and meet everyone and spread knowledge about making manga, and living in Japan. 

But, right now, what I need is money! I don’t want to ask for donations or anything; I want to work for it, my very hardest!! (Although, I honestly won’t refuse it if you want to invest in a startup. You can send me donations through Paypal to hinoai@hotmail.com if you’re a giver.) I really want to give people something awesome in return for their money, though! This means that I’m going to open back up commissions! I’m only taking a limited number (enough to earn what I calculated that I need to survive for now), so this is your chance! It’s maybe the only chance that you’ll get for a while to get a custom little portrait from me, so I highly encourage that you take advantage as soon as you can!

You can order them from my Etsy shop NOW, for a limited-time: https://www.etsy.com/shop/JamieismPro

I tried to imitate Grace’s style… did I succeed? It sort of ended up halfway in-between our styles, lol. I’m no master imitator like that guy who did those Sailor Moon portraits, that’s for sure!

Oh, wait, what was I talking about? This is going to sound really advertise-y, but I’m not getting paid for this. I’m writing it because I want to. As in, I really, really loved these books SO much!

One evening, I was especially missing Japan (I do that a lot, especially when I’m stressed-out or upset. I am increasingly thinking that I’ll end up moving back someday, but anyways!), and I was browsing Amazon for some retail therapy. Grace’s book, My Japanese Husband Thinks I’m Crazy, had come up about a million times in the search results, but I always ended up passing it by because I wasn’t married. I didn’t think that out experiences would be all that similar. One night, though, I decided, what the hey, I’d go to her blog that the book was compiled from, and read the comics there. What could I lose but time, anyways, right?

Oh, I used up a lot of time, but it wasn’t a loss at all! I fell in love with her cute, quirky style, the craziness in which she lives her life (we have similar ways of thinking about a lot of things), and the gung-ho positive note with which she wrote. She’s also in-and-out of depression, like me. Her stories made me chuckle, and I related to them SO MUCH, and started to miss Japan 687,5492 times more. Really. (Thanks, Grace) So, I liked her Facebook page, and saw that she was writing a second book. When I saw that she was looking for people to review her new book, I swallowed my fear and sent her an email.

I don’t know why, but I find this sort of email really nervewracking! It’s like, how will fangirling “Hi, I really love your work, you are so talented and I am a huge fan! I related to your experiences a lot, and here is info about me, too, just in case…” come across? She’ll think I’m weird, right? It will seem braggy that I mentioned my stuff, right? But I do that so that people get a sense of who I am….. aaaah! You guys know what I mean, right? Anyways, the email that I got back was long and sweet, and she even knew who I was and had read my blog! AHH! I’m glad that I swallowed my fear.. speaking of which, I really need to write her back now. ^o^;;

So, I read both books, and that was the point of this post, right? They were so, so awesome! She gave me the e-books for free before publication, but right now, EVERYONE can get them for free on Kindle! Go, quickly, before the free promotion ends!


Not that more-than-free is a bad price AT ALL! They’re SO definitely worth it! The print versions are definitely on my Wishlist (which I use as a to-buy list, although you’re welcome to send me a surprise present from it anytime if you want to make my day!) for me to get one day. Unless someone beats me to it! Which reminds me, I want to send Grace a copy of The Princess of Tennis, too. :)

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