It's occured to me that I started school four days ago and I still haven't posted the pages I promised I'd post when I had access to a scanner again. The reason why is we're currently involved in a project that will keep us all busy for two weeks, and among all the greetings of the new students and info of what's coming it simply slipped my mind. Since I won't be able to work effectively on it until the 12th I've decided to take a leaf from a fellow manga writer's book and keep what pages I've made as a stockpile, and release one page weekly. Expect the first page on monday the 31st.
What's 'La Bohème'?
'La Bohème' is a surreal comedy/drama inspired by my starting art school a year ago. It's a way of learning the comic medium in preparation for my personal style of graphic novel, and also giving me time to develop that style. It'll also help me get a sense for light and shadow, depth, and when not to be completely faithful to those to achieve a certain effect. While I like manga it's not a medium I want to work in for future projects, I want a personal style for those, but it's appropriate for 'La Bohème' while fulfilling my urge to draw manga once. Further on manga is a storyteller's medium in how the art doesn't need to be fantastic beyond comparison (though it helps) for people to appreciate the story, which to a large part is why I'm doing 'La Bohème' as a manga and you'll notice it will start pretty mediocre, graphically speaking, but gradually get batter. Think of 'Hellsing' by Kouta Hirano for a reference, except he was still better than I am currently. I am painting it traditionally, using india ink and water, which will give a very unique graphic feeling, though I've had suggestions to edit the mistakes or edit in the text in a computer, because while it would almost beyond certainty look better done in a computer there is something about using a computer which disagrees with me for the manga. This of course means it'll begin with looking awful, because when I started I hadn't learned how to stretch the paper, and I genuinely didn't have the finances to get the tape needed for the entire summer, but now that I do know how to do it it'll start looking better with a vengeance, and as I learn more and more it'll start looking better graphically as well. All in all I hope for a giving project that people will enjoy as much as I will enjoy making it.
La Bohème. Ra· boēmu. The creative commune for artistic pursuits. The last hope of Akihiko Ueda. Having grown up watching friends and familiars around him "abandon their dreams and grow up losing themselves to fit like little cogs in the societal clockwork", he has never felt the need to do anything. As long as he fit in he didn't need to follow a particular interest, and he would be fine anyway. Having always had an interest in art and artists he's still never nurtured that interest, because he simply didn't feel he needed to, despite him not liking watching the people around him abandon their dreams, and remaining constantly bored. When he fails to enter University he breaks down without understanding why, but he still knows what he needs to do - given a small second chance he needs to take advantage of it and follow his dream. Ambitiously he sends in an application to the La Bohème commune, and against all the odds he is accepted. With the promise of still studying to apply for Uni in one year his protective parents begrudgingly agrees to let him move out and into the commune, which he expects to be like a warm welcome into the ascended lands of poets and artists, only for it to be a wake-up call to the reality artists face, and he's shoved into the less than welcoming arms of Léonie Leitner - a condescending gothic Austrian African-European. Initially trying to deal with his new reality he's had enough after just a few hours, calling his parents to come pick him up, only when he realize Léonie is not just studying artistry, but is a real professional artist and savant he grows more immediately more tolerant of her, and when his father is about to get him he realize for the first time in his life he genuinely needs to do what he wants despite it being harder than just fitting in, and he chooses to stay anyway. From here the series follows the clash between the ambitious but normal Akihiko and the artists of La Bohème, his attempts to have Léonie Leitner become his sempai, his studies for the university, as well as his own artistic evolution, with lots of comedy, drama and of course very dramatized and often epic depictions of the artistic process.
A few things
I will try to maintain what I have always found to be the charm with slice of life mangas without going too much into stereotypes. I aim to give the characters a sense of depth and not just make them funny clowns, and I also aim for it to be very long. I will be taking up a variety of arts and have Akihiko explore them in what ways he can, but this will not be a instruction manual for how to become an artist or to teach about art. It will be a solid story about discovering and staying true to yourself despite what life throws at you, where I aim for the characters and the drama to be the real hook. I'll try to refrain from inserting too much of myself into the characters - while Léonie and Akihiko are largely based on myself they will not become idealized puppets for me to channel myself through, they will be their own characters with a past and depth. I will also try to not resort to cheap clichés. For example, while probably becoming good friends Léonie will not become Akihiko's love interest.
That's about all the promises I want to make, as little more than the beginning is written yet and I will aim to draw and write this to be something I would like to read.
I hope to see you like it and stick with it to watch it grow and take shape.
Also, I'd like to thank and for inspiring me to keep grinding at what I like even though it's difficult and I'm not as good as I feel I should be.