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Shonen Jump Contest Winner Used Only Smartphone to Draw Manga

posted on by Jennifer Sherman

The phenomenon of novels written on cell phones (keitai shōsetsu) originated and took off in Japan in the early 2000s. However, the trend is not limited to novels and other purely literary works. Some artists are now using only their smartphones to draw manga.

One such creator, who used to use his fingers in lieu of even a stylus, is 20-year-old Sō Atsumori. He is the creator of the Anata ga Koi to Iu no nara manga, which earned him an honorable mention in Weekly Shonen Jump's Kentaro Yabuki Manga Prize competition in 2016. The magazine's editorial department who chose the award winners had no idea that Atsumori drew the manga on a smartphone. A casual conversation at a business meeting revealed the truth later.

When Atsumori's editor at Weekly Shonen Jump, Yūta Momiyama, found out the manga was drawn on a smartphone, he was surprised. Momiyama got another shock when Atsumori told him he used his fingers to draw the manga. Momiyama said he could fathom someone creating manga on a tablet with a stylus, but he would not have guessed someone would use only fingers and a smartphone.

The first 28-page chapter of Anata ga Koi to Iu no nara debuted on the Shonen Jump Rookie website in August. The youth romantic comedy is set in a school and centers on encounters between boys and girls. The manga's detailed character facial expressions and backgrounds conceal the series' origin on a cell phone.

Atsumori said he doesn't remember reading manga much as a child, but he started to want to draw manga after seeing the Bakuman. anime about amateur manga creators as a junior high school student. Atsumori compared the desire to wanting to play soccer after watching the soccer anime Captain Tsubasa.

He began drawing manga in earnest in high school. Although he began by working with pen and paper, he started working with his phone after a friend in art club told him people were using smartphones. His friends were using the ibisPaint app, and Atsumori recalled, "There were also kids using pens, but a lot of kids were drawing with their fingers."

Drawing on a smartphone was difficult for Atsumori at first, and his mother soon bought him Wacom's Intuos pen tablet. However, his family was occupying the computer, so Atsumori could spend little time using it to work on manga. He drew a couple of pages on the Intuos, but the device soon began to collect dust. Atsumori again resorted to pen and paper and continued drawing manga through high school.

When Atsumori attended prep school after graduating from high school, he returned to drawing manga on his smartphone. He discovered several of the Weekly Shonen Jump manga creators' manga prizes at 19 years old. As a student who disliked studying and failed college entrance exams, Atsumori used his smartphone to draw manga in his room. Although it was initially frustrating, he decided to give the method of manga creation another try. He devoted two months to drawing manga and becoming the first person to submit manga drawn on a smartphone to a major publisher's competition.

Although Atsumori isn't currently drawing manga on a smartphone, his iPhone does have MediBang Paint installed. He can still use the software as part of his manga creation process.

Atsumori is unsure how much time he spends on drawing manga. However, he has sometimes spent about three or four hours in a day to draw one panel. He noted that the most difficult part of drawing on a smartphone is making straight lines. A benefit of drawing on a smartphone is that people can use it continue their work anywhere.

The rookie manga creator has retired as a cell phone manga artist, but he is continuing to draw manga. He now uses a laptop computer, tablet, and CLIP STUDIO PAINT's software. Atsumori said he can work much faster now.

Thanks to Shonen Jump, more aspiring manga creators may be submitting work completed on smartphones. The magazine released the Jump Paint manga-drawing app in June. The free PC, tablet, and smartphone paint tool allows for manga creation using different types of pens, tones, and fonts. The app is available in nine languages: Japanese, English, Korean, Mandarin, Cantonese, Russian, Spanish, French and Portuguese. The app is cooperating with Shonen Jump Rookie, a webcomic portal for novice artists that makes it easy to upload work. The magazine is holding its own contest to mark both its 50th anniversary and the launch of the app.

Source: ITmedia News (Masumi Murakami)

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