My graphic novel “Videira” has come to its conclusion. I can not believe I’ve finished it. Yesterday on 31, March 2019. Holly crap! It’s been 8 years. 10 chapters. 266 manga pages.
Well, I didn`t draw only this comics exclusively (or graphic novel or manga, whatever you call it). But it still was so much more time than I had initially expected. I remember how I started to write dialogues for the first chapter in my Totoro notebook while I was sitting in the University’s library when I came late for class and the teacher didn`t let me in. LOL. That notebook is very precious to me as I had bought it in Ghibli shop in Kyoto, which the whole another story for another time.
It’s been so long since I’d started to draw the first chapter in 2011. There were a few times when I wanted to drop it or give up on this story entirely but I am so glad that I didn’t.
Firstly, I wanted to have it traditionally published and when I pitched it to only one publisher which existed on the Russian market back in the day. I got a rejection, which drove me into half a year of depression. I shelved this project and began working on other projects. But I was lucky enough to have my manga-drawing buddies and dedicated readers who supported me and genuinely liked this manga. I will be forever grateful to them for being such great support for me and my characters, with kind encouraging words and beautiful fan arts of my characters from Videira. Could you actually imagine that? Such wonderful artists draw portraits of my manga-babies and they were amazing.
I am happy that I have found the strength to continue drawing for myself, even if I knew it would lead to nowhere in terms of desirable career, but it meant so much to me. Regardless of everything going on in my life and the daily job, I was able to finish this story because of only love to my characters and their journey, because of my few but so precious readers out there, waiting for every chapter and cheering me up along the way. I made it for myself, just to know that I can, that I am capable of finishing something bigger than one-shot story. By the way, all one-shots I drew during my university years when I had half a day free time it was easier than with 8 hours a day job + 3 hours to get there and back. +)
“Videira” was the easiest, loveliest and the lightest of all my stories. I don’t know if it transfers to the page or not but it certainly feels like it. Maria, the main character, is such a positive and cheerful girl,
even when she cries. I had a lot of fun with this story as well as a lot of troubles, for example, I had no clue how to draw the freacking crocodiles, but I did it anyway. This manga came from a pure place of joy. I am still sitting here and rereading my readers’ comments and smiling from ear to ear because they liked it and crying at the same time because of how much it meant to me.
I’ve learned a lot. If I were doing it now I would have done many things differently. Especially in regards to the representation of other cultures and people with perspectives different from mine. When I came up with the story idea and started drawing it, I was barely more than a child, I didn’t even consider the possibility of such things. Now, as I am a grown-up person, I see all my mistakes, but it is kinda late to go back and fix everything. I’ll try to avoid the same mistakes in my future works. Hopefully, this experience would help me to become a better author and a better artist.
Even though it’s a little bit sad to say good-bye to these characters whom I had spent that much time with, I am glad to have it finished. And more than anything, I am grateful to the people, my wonderful drawing-buddies, whom I met thanks to this manga. ^_^