THE BIG INTERVIEW: Introducing Teen Manga Sensation Agata Romańska
With last weekend’s comic mart event in Ennis many people got to see first-hand the amazing talent that is Clare based teenage manga artist Agata Romańska. Agata (16), seven years living in Ireland and still in secondary school spoke with ICN to discuss her hopes for the future and how such a talent has been formed through being self-thought and having a driving passion to succeed.
Agata began by telling me how drawing became the ardour it is, “I’ve been drawing since I could hold a pencil in my hand, but I started concentrating on drawing properly when I was about…12 years old, I think. Before that I would be sketching people, but that wasn’t too often as I was quickly bored with it, I also didn’t care about real practice , until one day I googled ”anime girl” for ideas, I don’t even remember why, as I wasn’t a fan of it before. I found a picture I liked and copied it, and that’s how it all started, I began looking for more and more manga pictures until I started watching anime myself, and spend hours upon hours drawing the characters. I could say drawing became my passion when I was first introduced to manga and anime.”
Princess Chapter One Intro Art
Agata came to prominence in the Irish language anthology book RíRa by been the youngest published creator in that title’s history. Explaining how she came to be on board after catching the eye of Coimici Gael EIC Aidan Courtney Agata said “I met Aidan in the Shannon library, he was a guest for my art class and he talked about comics. Some time later, I was meant to be studying for my Junior Cert. but as I ”love” studying, I decided to draw a comic instead, it was a short one, in which I was complaining how I don’t want to study and a little guardian angel described a very depressing future scenario to motivate me and left me with an eye twitch. I suppose Aidan liked it enough to have it published in RíRa, and that’s how it all happened.”
Princess Interior Art
By viewing art samples of her work you can see an obvious manga influence within but Agata said that at first she didn’t even read manga and she elaborated “I only watched anime, and my first one was ”Sailor Moon”. For some kind of reason later I got interested in anime that is..uh..quite bloody and violent, which was a big change from the cute ”Sailor Moon” warriors. Since then I grew up watching and reading titles such as ”Elfen Lied” and ”Higurashi no Naku Koro ni’.” She continued “When that phase passed (even though I’m still a huge fan of this genre) my taste became more varied and I became a huge fan of ”Death Note” and many other manga books, also, I really enjoy Studio Ghibli’s films, although I can safely say that my anime/manga obsession began with ”Elfen Lied”.
I asked her what it was about the manga style that attracted her to the approach. “I’m not even sure myself…maybe it’s the fact that those few years ago it was a manga picture that made me finally take drawing seriously. There is just something about this style that got me so addicted to it, the way the eyes are drawn, the perspective in the panels, the tones, I’m not able to specify what I love about it, but I know that I’ve tried many art styles before and I always miss manga in the end. I remember when I had to spend days painting for my portfolio, I just couldn’t wait to come back to drawing manga, my hands almost twitched for it.”
An example of some of Agata’s painted work
With regards to current project Agata offered that there was something in the works. She explained that she’s working on two projects. She offered “One is my manga ”Princess” that I’ve been drawing since I was 15. Briefly, the story is about a teenage, school going girl-Shin who has to struggle with a demon that lives in her body. She is a leader of a Cult and jokingly calls herself a Princess. The second project I’m working on is a comic that will be published by Zenpop. We are making a book called ”Chroma” , a comic anthology. Each artist got his own colour palette in which he draws an approx. 20 page comic on whatever theme. My story is called ”Shinigamika” and it’s about a Shinigami (”death god” in Japanese) girl who fights devils and demons.”
With ambitions of being accepted to a course in the Limerick School of Art and Design and being recognised in the future as a known mangaka and have people follow her work just like she follows certain artists and writers, she says that she isn’t sure if her future lies domestically or abroad but is hopeful that her career will be going around her ”Princess” manga. “Sometimes, when daydreaming, I make up scenarios about how I get invited to conventions as a key guest and all of that. My wish can be considered quite vain, but I really hope to be a famous artist some day. Although I will most likely want to move to US after college, it might not even be the case of ”more opportunities” but the fact that I want to see the big world, who knows, maybe I’ll just end up going there for summer holidays instead or something. I just think when the time comes, I will know which option is better.”
I have little doubt that Agata Romańska is a name that will be well-known in the wider comics community in the years to come. Take a look at the above art samples, some dating back to when she was just 14 years old and I think I’ll find you in easy agreement that she has the talent to succeed and the will to be a soaring success.