19 January 2014

2014 - A year of reaping the fruits

Ok, let's make some New Years resolutions for this year! (It's about time!)

But first, here's an evaluation on last year's resoltion, which was:
This year I will be working on my longest project ever!

Technically, my childrens manga Mjau! is still my longest project as Sword Princess Amaltea that I'm working on now is only at right below 200 pages. During 2013 I managed to make 175 of them, which is a good march but not near the 255 pages of Mjau!
Still, I am working on this new big project, and it will be my longest to date when I'm done with it, so I'll give myself a 4 out of 5 for this. Yaaay!

Now, to this year's resolution:
I will get myself a drivers license!
Yup, that's right. I'm almost 28 years old and still don't know how to drive a car, lol. Honestly, not untill recently have I felt the need to. But since making lot's of manga books and going to conventions and fairs to sell these means having to drag along a lot of books and almost breaking your back, and still not getting all you wanna get with you, have made me determined to do this. I need a drivers license.

But on the other hand, I'm dead scared. I hate the traffic. I'm really scared (to death) of even thinking of sitting behind a steering wheel and having to make that car move.
I'm not kidding you, this is a fear of mine; I will die in a car, probably by ny own hand or when I'm driving.

Any tip on how to overcome this fear is appreciated. Thank you.

A small report on Sword Princess Amaltea:

Things have been a little slow, since I've had other things to take care of, and also been working on an English ebook version of the first volume. Today I got back on track and inked page 42 of 165!
I'll return soon with more on the English ebook soon.

Here's a sketch for the cover design for the Swedish book 2! Yep, Amaltea will get a minor make-over, as you can see.

Thanks for still reading!!

09 January 2014

2013 - in retrospect

Time for some time travel - backwards!
This past year, things I have hoped for for years have been achieved, and I also feel a lot more secure in my position as a comic artist. Not that I doubted my position or potentials before, but today I feel I am truly a part of this all, and can make a difference. And that what I make is appreciated and seen for what it is, most of the time.

Here's a quick look back at 2013!

Milestones of 2013:

  • January began the year with a walk down the memory lane, with me making a new cover for Mjau! for the collected edition (of all 9 chapters into one volume) for Kabusa Böcker.
    At the same time, I had sold the last of my English copies of A Song For Elise, and after asking I got a go-ahead from Tokyopop in Germany (that owns the International rights for the series) to print a new small batch. So I also re-did that cover, and added the short sidestory from the GUYS!-anthology to make a collected edition of A Song For Elise as well!
    And when at it, I also reordered new copies of The Marauders And The Secrets Of The Heart (The Harry Potter doujisnhi I made back in 2009) that also had gone out of print.

  • In January, I also started drawing my contributing manga to this year's Nosebleed Studio anthology, this time with a Swedish theme. The story I made was Hearts of Midsummer, about a young girl named Julia who celebrates the Swedish holiday Midsummers Eve in her childhood village.
    We also tried crowdfunding for the first time, for our book Nosebleed Studio's Swedish Manga Anthology, and we raised more money than we asked for! Yaaay!

  • In February-May I started my work as teacher, at both Serieskolan (Comic Art School) in Malmö and at a drawing course called Rit- och Skisstekning at Malmö University. Maybe it sounds hectic, to have had so much to think about, but actually it was pretty nice - both the fact that I got to teach and get away from my drawing a little, but also the different environments. It was fun! And it also payed for my living just enough so that I didn't have to take from my savings. Yay!

  • In March I finally signed the book deal with Kolik förlag on the Swedish version of Sword Princess Amaltea! This project started back in Fall 2010, and now I finally had a publisher on the hook! Also, the Danish magazine Comic Party would publish the manga regularly. With two editors and a whole bunch of manuscript, preplanning and research done I was ready to take on the biggest and longest project of of my life!
    The layout sketches was allready done in the beginning of the year, so I just had to start drawing.

  • As always, I was away on a couple of events this Spring as well, mostly conventions together with my awesome colleagues in Nosebleed Studio. The biggest one was of course the yearly happening S.I.S. (Stockholm's Intenational Comics Festival), where we released our new anthology. I also sold the new prints of Mjau!, A Song For Elise and the Harry Potter doujinshi, plus this year's Swedish Comic Sin  - the fourth anthology in the series!
    This project has been really a fun way to network and see people evolve, but also letting me act as an editor and produce books from start to finish. Sadly the fifth book will have to wait a little, because of me having too much to do with my new big manga project, and also this last fourth book having been cut in half when people left the project (because of their lack of time and inspiration). Well, that's how it works...

  • During Spring time I also started making youtube videos with me drawing, to both promote the upcoming book and also to try it out. It went well, and I got a taste for making tutorials! Here's one where I ink the cover illustration for Sword Princess Amaltea book 1:

  • My friend Yossra El Said and I also started making podcasts in Swedish, with the catchy name Seriesystrar (Comic Sisters). The idea was to have mostly women talking comics, and focus on constructive critisism, gender and ethnicity issues and the
    comic market internationally and nationally. For all Swedish readers, please check it out! I bet you'll like the show~

  • Summer came, and while drawing like crazy on Sword Princess Amaltea, I also got the chance of a life time: To be one of five Swedish guests at a robot drawing tournament in Japan in late July! Crazy!! It was right in the middle of my freakish deadline (165 pages to be done before August) but I still went. My sister Catarina and three other awesome artists from Sweden - Jesper Nordqvist, Maria Fröhlich and Kei Mak - and I went to this event called Robopic. Payed trip and stay, and what an experience! Not only did we get to draw and compete with 100 Japanese in a Olympic-style drawing tournament, we also got to dine with the famous artists that made up the Jury, such as my idol Hideshi Hino-sensei!!
    And as if that wasn't enought... two of us even made it into the finalists - and I WON! Shock!!
    Sorry for not having made a blog entry about this just yet, I'm still waiting for the robot picture to be sent to us. So soon hopefully...
    I also sent some of my works to Japanese publishers, in hope of getting a meeting there - and I got two! More about that in the upcoming blog entry about the trip...

  • Finally in August I handed in the book for printing, and it would not have been possible if it wasn't for my four awesome assistants Emil Johansson, Catarina Batista, Joakim Waller and Yossra El Said. Their help with book 1 made the crazy plan of 140 pages to be made in 5 months time actually possible! THANK YOU!!!!

  • The book was released right in time for Gothenburg's Book Fair, where I signed books like crazy! Thank you all who came and got yourself a signed copy, you really made the release a success!!

  • Another book that I participated in that was released then was Ordningen upprätthålls alltid by Per Thörn and published by Apart förlag, a comic anthology with more than 20 artists making comic adaptions of Per's short stories, all with connections to a criminal world. A really cool project, made possible by the awesome editor Johan Kimrin! By many reviews titled as "the best comic book printed in Sweden during all of 2013". Check it out!

  • The Fall was mostly spent on teaching at Serieskolan (Comic Art School) and Malmö University's comic course, plus promoting Sword Princess Amaltea, but also on a side project I havn't mentioned much here at the blog. I was part of making an exhibition called Vicky, Jackie, Wendy about girl comic magazines in Sweden from 1950 up until today, in collaboration with librarian Hans Holm and Seriefrämjandet (Swedish Comic Association). The exhibition premiered at Malmö city library in October, as part of the childrens comic festival I Seriernas Värld ("In the world of comics") and I feel it's a very important, fun and interesting exhibition. We've even collected old and new girl comic magazines and displayed them as part of the exhibition.

  • This year, I also got a another award; Nordiska Skolbibliotekarföreningens (Nordic School Library Association) gave Häxfolket written by Jo Salmson (and illustrated by me) their prize for the best childrens book 2013. We were invited, together with the amazing editors for Bonnier Carlsen that worked with us on the four books, to Skolforum (a school and teacher fair) to recieve the prize, and got to say some words on the stage before hundreds of teachers and librarians. Nice!

  • In December, I had finally finished the layout sketches of book 2 of Sword Princess Amaltea, and started drawing and inking the pages. Around X-mas, I was about 15% in, which felt nice! All going according to my plan, and if my editor approves it, the book can be out in the end of the Summer! Looking forward to it!! 

I think that's all. A pretty nice year. Work at Malmö University and Serieskolan is enjoyable on so many levels, and also gives me more energy to work on my own stuff when I'm at home.

Also, books sales have done very well! (I don't often write about book sales, but I think more people should.)
Since 2010, Mjau! have sold in over 10 000 copies so far! Woah! That's a lot, according to people working in the buisness that I have mentioned this to.
Sword Princess Amaltea has also done amazingly! Since the release in September, almost all of the first edition's 1200 books are sold! In less than 4 months! Yay!!

This year has been elevating. I have recieved two awards (I shit you not, it's the first time I win first place in something this big), a book deal for my longest project yet, a trip to Japan where I got to talk to more editors and a bunch of egoboosting feedback through reviews of the new books and through people that I've met this year. Thank you all!

And to compare to last year, I think I made some history in 2013, like the Swede winning a manga award in Japan, and beginning a new Swedish manga series (we're not spoilt with that many of them, heh...)!
But let's say bye bye to 2013, and... 

✰ Hello 2014! Time for some manga power!! ✰