New four-part Interview with Miura on Future of Berserk and Duranki

Walter

Administrator
Staff member
Thank you so much Puella! as I said earlier in the thread, this is a pretty big interview, and it's mostly the info on this page that I was referring to.

Things have details. Clothes also. Since there’s cloth and thread, each material has a different surface. I want them to feel details as well between the lines in manga.
And I fancy that the panels in manga are windows leading to other worlds. As the windows allow us to peep on other worlds, there must be something over there. I also wanted to feel the layers of atmosphere as much as possible.
It's like that because I draw humans. I should depict well what humans would do in this situation to make the story appealing.
These are the highlights for me. I don't think we've ever gotten the philosophy behind his particular style of drawing before, and it's something I've always wanted an answer on. We had previously talked about how he is a perfectionist, and likely he does things to the best of his ability, hence the level of detail. But this interview gives us more specifics about how he wants readers to visualize and realize the world that he's created through the details in the drawings.
 
Thanks so much Puella, that was a fascinating read.

Though there is one bit I am still a little confused on.
You mean the episode in volume 38.

Before the digitalization, I did "pencil copy" for some time. I drew with a pencil, then thickened the lines and after that toned it to finish it. It was when we were in the pirates' story.

Why did you finish your manuscripts with "pencil copy"?

In the hope of increasing my drawing speed. I wanted to draw efficiently as well. I tested it on "Gigantomakhia" and kept it for Berserk. But it didn't help speed up and I couldn't have thick lines like those I did with a pen. It wasn't convenient in terms of lines. After a serious reflection, I decided to change to digitalization instead of going back to the analog pen.
Is "pencil copy" referring to the work process he did before he went digital? Or is it referring to a specific hybrid method he used during the transition to full digital? And is he also saying his current full digital method doesn't allow for thick lines that he used to do, or is he saying his "pencil copy" method didn't allow for thick lines?
 

Aazealh

そうはいかぬ
Staff member
Is "pencil copy" referring to the work process he did before he went digital? Or is it referring to a specific hybrid method he used during the transition to full digital?
It's another technique he tried to save time. It's not a hybrid with digital, just a different process for inking. He details it so I'm not sure what's hard to get.

And is he also saying his current full digital method doesn't allow for thick lines that he used to do, or is he saying his "pencil copy" method didn't allow for thick lines?
Pencil copy didn't allow for thick lines.
 
It's another technique he tried to save time. It's not a hybrid with digital, just a different process for inking. He details it so I'm not sure what's hard to get.

Pencil copy didn't allow for thick lines.
What I was confused about was, if "pencil copy" was referring to the entirety of his pre-digital technique work on the series, or if it was just something that had done for a (relatively) brief amount of time before switching to digital.
And I thought he was saying full digital didn't allow for thick lines because he said "pencil copy" involved being "copied it with a pen for thick lines and then toned it to finish it." Or did what he mean was that when he tested it on "Gigantomakhia", that he did not do the second part of the "pencil copy" technique process of copying it with a pen?
 

Aazealh

そうはいかぬ
Staff member
What I was confused about was, if "pencil copy" was referring to the entirety of his pre-digital technique work on the series, or if it was just something that had done for a (relatively) brief amount of time before switching to digital.
Sorry, I thought it was sufficiently clear. It's a technique he tried to save time before switching to digital, as he says. That does not refer to his traditional work. He even specifies that he first tried it on Gigantomakhia and then used it for Berserk during the sea journey. But after a while he was not satisfied with it, and instead of going back to his former workflow, decided to go digital. I'm just paraphrasing the translation here, but I hope that's enough to help you understand.

And I thought he was saying full digital didn't allow for thick lines because he said "pencil copy" involved being "copied it with a pen for thick lines and then toned it to finish it." Or did what he mean was that when he tested it on "Gigantomakhia", that he did not do the second part of the "pencil copy" technique process of copying it with a pen?
If you read the text, it's literally impossible to think he was referring to digital. He's talking about pencil copy, and while he said he thickened the lines afterwards, he was still unsatisfied with the thickness he could achieve. It just wasn't as good as doing it with a pen the traditional way. That's all. It's pretty straightforward. Although to be fair to Puella, this isn't an easy text to translate. It took a lot of effort.
 

puella

Popopopopopopopo!
Miura's area

- There's another office aside from this one. I do the storyboarding at home because I want to do it alone. I finish my work with my assistants in a busy/noisy environment in this room.

- For Berserk, I mainly draw alone from the characters to the backgrounds and then entrust adding screentones, buildings, etc. to my assistants. For the first and second episodes of “Duranki”, I have done the storyboards and drafts and entrusted the inking to my assistants. My role is, like a drawing director, to modify our work to harmonize the quality at the final step.

- I draw with Comic Studio. This tablet was very recently installed so I even haven't touched it yet.

- I use the PC for my work and for watching Nico Nico vacantly all day long while working.

- I received it when I had a talk with Hara Tetsuo-sensei. My manga is influenced very much by "Hokuto no Ken", which is one of the sources of infection for my disease of "drawing too much". *laughs*

- These are DVDs and Blu-rays of animations that I have collected for a long time. I can also watch them using a streaming service but it's my old habit. So I keep all of them and they continue to take up space. *laughs* I watch them once in a while and the old commercials on them remind me of those days.

The assistants' area

- Three assistants commute to work and one assistant works remote in Sentai. Since we're starting "Duranki", I need more assistants. So I've reformated the studio recently and prepared working desks for 7 assistants. The equipments have been thoroughly installed… But if I can't find anyone, it will be like Hoshi Hyûma's "Lonely Christmas Party"…

** The main character of the animation "巨人の星 (Kyojin no Hoshi)".

- With this remodeling, I've prepared tablets for my assistants.

- These are shelves for materials that I use well. The importance of the paper materials has decreased a lot compared to the past. Actually this remodeling was to make the space where the bookcase was into an area for the assistants. Once it's done, it can still accommodate two more desks.

- I guess my assistant brought this to draw a forest. I myself don't have it. He's enthusiastic for (his work).

- This is a sailing ship that I used as a material at the time of Roderick. I got it through my editor. I can't draw a sailing ship without a model. I wouldn't know at all how to depict the cordage.
 
Thank you Puella! These interviews are all new to me and I find them really encouraging. Most of the interviews with anime/manga authors I've read, they seem completely overwhelmed and burnt out on the projects they work on. I remember reading some interviews with Yoshiyuki Tomino of original Gundam series fame (who is at times unfairly mischracterized for his cynicism) about how overwhelmed he was by the end of Zeta Gundam and how that played a massive part of why it ended the way it did. For Miura who not only is writing and illustrating this series for as long as he has, and to maintain his passion is truly incredible and inspiring.

Anyway thanks again to Puella these interviews are incredibley interesting!
 
Sorry, I thought it was sufficiently clear. It's a technique he tried to save time before switching to digital, as he says. That does not refer to his traditional work. He even specifies that he first tried it on Gigantomakhia and then used it for Berserk during the sea journey. But after a while he was not satisfied with it, and instead of going back to his former workflow, decided to go digital. I'm just paraphrasing the translation here, but I hope that's enough to help you understand.



If you read the text, it's literally impossible to think he was referring to digital. He's talking about pencil copy, and while he said he thickened the lines afterwards, he was still unsatisfied with the thickness he could achieve. It just wasn't as good as doing it with a pen the traditional way. That's all. It's pretty straightforward. Although to be fair to Puella, this isn't an easy text to translate. It took a lot of effort.
I think the one thing that I am still a little confused about is how exactly the "pencil copy" workflow differed from his prior traditional workflow. Because drawing something in pencil then going over it in a pen subsequently I thought was the standard art process for drawing comics/manga.

Did Miura not originally use pencils at all for drawing Berserk? Or did it just have a different ratio of pencil to pen usage than the "pencil copy" method used?
 

Walter

Administrator
Staff member
Did Miura not originally use pencils at all for drawing Berserk? Or did it just have a different ratio of pencil to pen usage than the "pencil copy" method used?
Miura only ever talked about using pens before. Specifically a G-Pen had been mentioned as his primary tool. You can see a bit of his process from the images in the Illustrations File interview, and it's also shown in one of the Nico Nicholson comic-interviews that he uses a G-Pen and maru pen. Here's a little video demonstrating the difference between these tools.
 
Huh, I never realized Miura sketched with a pen as well. I always assumed sketching meant using a pencil by default, since you can’t erase pen strokes.
Does that mean Miura’s original/traditional inking process used like a light box method? Since pen sketches can’t be erased.
 

Walter

Administrator
Staff member
Huh, I never realized Miura sketched with a pen as well. I always assumed sketching meant using a pencil by default, since you can’t erase pen strokes.
Does that mean Miura’s original/traditional inking process used like a light box method? Since pen sketches can’t be erased.
Sketch just means a rough outline, the key page composition. It doesn't imply pen or pencil. As for erasers, I'm no artist but I would think that if he made a mistake significant enough that required erasure, there are likely tricks to work around it. Or just grab a new page.
 
Huh, I never realized Miura sketched with a pen as well. I always assumed sketching meant using a pencil by default, since you can’t erase pen strokes.
Does that mean Miura’s original/traditional inking process used like a light box method? Since pen sketches can’t be erased.
If you're interested in leaning how manga is made, there is a documentary series called "Urasawa Naoki no Manben." Naoki Urasawas visits different mangaka, documents their creative process, then sits down with them and commentates the footage. It's very interesting. There are episodes with Inio Asano, Takao Saito, and Junji Ito among others. It's interesting to see how different each mengaka's process is. Sadly, there is no episode with Miura :(
 
If you're interested in leaning how manga is made, there is a documentary series called "Urasawa Naoki no Manben." Naoki Urasawas visits different mangaka, documents their creative process, then sits down with them and commentates the footage. It's very interesting. There are episodes with Inio Asano, Takao Saito, and Junji Ito among others. It's interesting to see how different each mengaka's process is. Sadly, there is no episode with Miura :(
Actually I have seen multiple parts of that documentary series, and it's part of what confused me in contrast to Miura's interview. As nearly all the mangaka in those videos IIRC, who weren't drawing fully digital, were using some form of pencil for the sketching, paneling/line-art stages of drawing, before using an ink pen for the inking stage.

I always assumed, to use the Illustrations File pages as an example, that the first two featured stages/pages were drawn using a pencil of some sort. But those are actually all drawn in pen then?
 
I always assumed, to use the Illustrations File pages as an example, that the first two featured stages/pages were drawn using a pencil of some sort. But those are actually all drawn in pen then?
The usual manga creation process goes as follows: storyboarding (in manga industry it's called "names"), outlining, rough sketching, inking, and lastly applying screen tones. The thing is that this is not a rule that all mangaka follow. And, from what I understand from reading multiple Miura interview, he changed his style of work during the years. The inking step, as the name suggests, the artist uses ink and various dip pens to draw the finishing lines.

I read the part of the interview where Miura was talking about the "pencil copy" and, to be honest, I'm not 100% sure what he actually means. My assumption is that it's some kind of advanced technique of the inking stage. He mentioned the final lines not being as thick as he would get with a pen, which makes sense when you think about how the art looked during the part with the pirates on the sea.
 
The usual manga creation process goes as follows: storyboarding (in manga industry it's called "names"), outlining, rough sketching, inking, and lastly applying screen tones. The thing is that this is not a rule that all mangaka follow. And, from what I understand from reading multiple Miura interview, he changed his style of work during the years. The inking step, as the name suggests, the artist uses ink and various dip pens to draw the finishing lines.

I read the part of the interview where Miura was talking about the "pencil copy" and, to be honest, I'm not 100% sure what he actually means. My assumption is that it's some kind of advanced technique of the inking stage. He mentioned the final lines not being as thick as he would get with a pen, which makes sense when you think about how the art looked during the part with the pirates on the sea.
Okay so from my understanding then, Miura did use pencils as part of his workflow even parts with the pirates then?

After doing some forum searching, I think I better understand what the "pencil copy" method means now, as it sounds like Miura was referring to it as well during his French magazine interview in April.
Glénat: You've also switched to digital tools along the way.

Kentarō Miura: I've struggled to find a way to compensate for my slowing pace, but I couldn't find a satisfactory solution. For a while, I was only drawing with a pencil before photocopying the pages and these days, I've moved on to digital tools. On one hand, these tools have made my work faster but on the other, I can't help but to focus on every little detail, which means I spend more time trying to find the proper balance in my art. Regarding the story however, I don't see any major change. It still follows the broad outline I had conceived in the beginning.
So, if I am understanding correctly, Miura's original/traditional workflow (before the pirates part of the manga) involved using pencils for storyboarding, outlining, and rough sketching, and then Miura would fully ink said pencil work, and then add tones.
But the "pencil copy" workflow involved only using pencil before photocopying, and then only inked part of the photocopy of the pencil-work for line thickness and then added the toning. So the "pencil copy" method involved using less usage of pens, right?
 
So, if I am understanding correctly, Miura's original/traditional workflow (before the pirates part of the manga) involved using pencils for storyboarding, outlining, and rough sketching, and then Miura would fully ink said pencil work, and then add tones.
But the "pencil copy" workflow involved only using pencil before photocopying, and then only inked part of the photocopy of the pencil-work for line thickness and then added the toning. So the "pencil copy" method involved using less usage of pens, right?
Pretty much. Before he would fully ink his sketched out pencil drawings. With the pencil copy technique he would have to draw much more detailed pencil drawings, but save more time on the inking fraction of the drawing progress. The way it works is due to specific copy machines that allow you to ink drawings through its system, hence why he would have to correct things once he copied. I assume this eventually did not quicken the progress as much as he wanted to, since he had to spend more time on drawing more detailed pencil sketches, he probably also ended up correcting too much due to his perfectionist nature.
 
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