By Rick Garrick
M’Chigeeng’s Robin Genereux is aiming for a career in manga art after being introduced to the Japanese art form about five to six years ago.
“I was always drawing when I was younger, but I didn’t really start to get into it until my cousin introduced me to manga,” says the 17-year-old Manitoulin Secondary School student. “It was just different and it was fun for me to draw.”
Genereux describes manga as: “just amazing art work.”
“I just loved the way it looked,” Genereux says, “and it wasn’t something at all that you would see around here.”
Genereux began drawing and reading about the art form, which developed in Japan in the late 1800s and now includes a wide range of genres such as action-adventure, romance, sports and games, historical drama, comedy, science fiction and fantasy, mystery, suspense, detective, horror, sexuality and business/commerce, when she was about 12 years old.
“That was when I decided to make graphic novels for my own comics,” Genereux says. “During school I would draw these comics and that is when I decided that is what I want to become.”
Genereux has since developed a variety of manga characters and a number of scripts for future graphic novels.
“First of all it was just an idea; you have to write down all the ideas that you come up with,” Genereux says. “Then comes the character design. After you get the characters all planned out, that’s when you move on to the script if you have an idea of what you want your characters to say.”
Genereux says the script determines what will be in each panel of the graphic novel.
“It is very easy when you know what exactly you want your characters to say,” Genereux says. “But sometimes it is difficult because, first of all, you have to an idea of what you want your story to be. From there you have to plan it all out, but if you don’t have that in mind, then it is hard to figure out what your characters are going to do.”
Genereux says her scripts are action-oriented stories similar to those in the big-name comic books.
“Right now as a side project I have a — it isn’t exactly a comic, it’s almost like a children’s illustrated book, going on for a school project right now,” Genereux says.
Genereux plans to attend Camosun College in Victoria, B.C. to improve her manga art techniques before she completes her graphic novels.
“They focus totally on character design, script writing and the comic itself,” Genereux says. “By the end of the program you are supposed to have a 25-26 page comic done, so that you would get an idea and you would know the process of it all and everything.”
Genereux says her family has always supported her art and her schoolmates have asked her many questions about the manga art form.
“For me, art is kind of like an escape,” Genereux says. “I just feel really happy when I’m doing that. Most of the time when I’m not doing art or I haven’t drawn in a while, I just don’t feel right.”
This past June, Genereux won Best of Show honours and $75 at her school’s 10th annual art show — Artistic Fusion — for her manga art piece: Emergence.