Pictured: Shingu Port, a fifteen minute walk from where I lived.
This is the first post in a series describing the creative process behind my graphic novel Tonoharu. This augural installment deals with the circumstances that allowed work on Tonoharu to begin.
In 2003 I started working as an Assistant Language Teacher (or “ALT”) through a program sponsored by the Japanese government. I knew from the start that it was only going to be a short term thing. There’s a three year cap on how long ALTs are allowed to stay, so it wasn’t something I could parlay into a career even if I wanted to.
But that was fine by me. Actually, I preferred it that way. I figured I’d enjoy working as an ALT, but teaching wasn’t really my calling; I wanted to be a graphic novelist. With an ironclad finish date attached to the ALT gig, I knew there’d be no temptation to stay on indefinitely, to choose financial security over the much less secure pursuit of my dream.
There were a number of reasons that I chose to work as an ALT as opposed to devoting myself to comics straightaway. Befitting a would-be educator, some of my reasons were altruistic. My life has found immeasurable benefit from interaction with people from other cultures, and I hoped that my presence would be similarly beneficial to my students.
But I would be remiss if I didn’t admit that personal gain was an important consideration as well. The salary was good (and tax exempt), and I had it on good authority that the job gave participants a great deal of free time during the day, time that could be spent working on comics.
So the question became, into what comic book project should I devote this wealth of free time? At first I only had the vaguest of notions, a half-finished list of attributes I’d like the comic to have. It wasn’t until I had been in Japan for a month or two that I had a clear sense of the direction I wanted to go in, and did the idea that would become Tonoharu really start to take shape.
I’ll cover that in Creating Tonoharu–#2: The Idea next Friday.
Creating Tonoharu–#1: Laying The Groundwork
Creating Tonoharu–#2: The Idea
Creating Tonoharu #3–Writing the Script
Creating Tonoharu #4–The Design (1/3)
Creating Tonoharu #5–The Design (2/3)
Creating Tonoharu #6–The Design (3/3)
Creating Tonoharu #7–The Drawing
Creating Tonoharu #8–Inking
Creating Tonoharu #9–Computer Stuff
Creating Tonoharu #10–Final Edits