What's the difference between webtoons and traditional manga? It's not just how you draw them! Makuya Yamamoto shares the behind the scenes of production and compensation for both
Interview by Chanmei
This time, we spoke with Makuya Yamamoto, who has created both webtoons and traditional manga. We asked them about some interesting differences between the two formats, both in terms of production and compensation, as well as the advantages they've found working in both.
- Makuya Yamamoto
Mangaka. They made their debut on LINE Manga in 2019 with the webtoon series Made in Oretachi. After that, they worked on Seinen wa Yukaku de Koi wo Shiru, a traditional standalone manga published by Mystick, then on the webtoon Tsuiho Heroine in Manga Mee. Idol no Oshi Osame, their latest work, is currently being serialized in the monthly magazine Young King Ours GH.
A webtoon debut with no prior manga experience thanks to social media?!
── What did you do before making your debut as a mangaka?
── How did you get those jobs?
── What led you from there to your first series Made in Oretachi?
── You took on the challenge of creating in a new genre, webtoons, even though you had no previous experience in manga production. Did you have any concerns before doing it?
── Made in Oretachi is a romantic comedy. Did the production company ask you for a specific genre and setting?
── You were given the resources and freedom to create the manga of your dreams for your debut? That's wonderful! Was there anything that you found particularly challenging while working on it?
── Were you moonlighting as a mangaka while also working at your company at the time, or were you already a full-time artist?
── What was your job at the company? Was there ever a time when your previous experience as an employee came in handy?
Behind the scenes of weekly webtoon serialization
── Tell us more about the production framework of your first serialized webtoon Made in Oretachi. First of all, how many assistants did you have?
── I was under the impression that in webtoons, the division of labor is usually allotted to several different people, so that is indeed surprising! How did you meet your assistant?
── You mentioned that you were in charge of everything except coloring. Could you tell us more about each of these tasks?
── The flow of the dialogue in Made in Oretachi is really great. I can imagine that's due to your process of writing dialogue first.
── When creating and serializing your work, did you encounter any practices that are unique to webtoons?
── It's hard to believe that Made in Oretachi is your first series because you used a lot of techniques that are only found in vertical-scrolling manga. How did you learn them?
Taking on traditional manga with the BL "Seinen wa Yukaku de Koi wo Shiru"
── After that, you tackled your first traditional manga, the BL Seinen wa Yukaku de Koi wo Shiru. How did you get into this new genre?
── How did you decide on the theme and setting of your work?
── This title is very different from Made in Oretachi. Wasn't it a big leap for you?
── This daring spirit, or rather, willingness to try anything, appears to be one of your greatest assets. Where does this mindset come from?
The difficulties of switching from vertical to horizontal manga
── What was the biggest obstacle you encountered in the production process moving from webtoons to traditional manga?
── Are there any practices that are specific to traditional manga?
── Were there any other differences in the production of webtoons and traditional manga?
── How much of a difference is there between webtoons and traditional manga when converting the number of panels into pages?
Foreshadowing is harder in webtoons? What webtoons and traditional manga do well and what they could do better
── Then you wrote the webtoon Tsuiho Heroine and now you are working on the serialization of the traditional manga Idol no Oshi Osame. What does each genre do well and what could they do better?
── Do you think that different genres work better in different formats?
── By the way, have you noticed any changes in your fanbase or readership when you changed from webtoon to traditional manga or vice versa?
Differences in editor preferences, compensation, and more
── Our readers may be curious about the differences between editors, who collaborate with authors to create a work. Can you talk a little about that?
── Do you have any advice for people who want to venture into webtoons? Should they go with an IT-based publishing company or a traditional one?
── Is there a difference in compensation between the two genres? For example, in traditional manga, there is a base manuscript fee, and royalties from tankobon and e-books are added to that.
── As a veteran of both webtoons and traditional manga, which did you feel had better compensation, honestly speaking?
The importance of constant input for inspiration and knowing your own weaknesses
── In your opinion, what are the benefits and advantages of having worked in both webtoons and traditional manga?
── It is a great thing to have a constant source of inspiration.
── Some readers of this article may be interested in trying their hands at webtoons or traditional manga but are unsure where to begin. What advice do you have for them?
The next challenge is... self-shipping manga?!
── What kind of challenges would you like to take on in the future?
── Finally, what kind of creator are you aspiring to be in the future?
── Yamamoto's latest work, Idol no Oshi Osame, is currently being serialized on Young King Ours GH! You can also read it in tankobon form and on various e-book services, so check it out!