*****My profile*****

 I’m a professional Japanese manga artist. “Manga” are Japanese comics, and a professional manga artist is called a “Mangaka” in Japanese. Now I’m using Rena Saiya as my brand-new pen name. In Japanese, it’s written as “ 祭矢レナ”.


After several years of career as a manga artist in Japan, I'm expanding abroad as a freelance manga artist. Thanks to the development of Information technology, it's possible to do so with staying in Japan.( As for my ability, please take a look at "My Skills" section below.)


I was drawing manga with several editorial departments at one of the three major publishing companies in Japan. During that time I published 12 comic books. I drew many love story manga for girls, but honestly, this was not the genre I really wanted to be working in. I prefer manga for boys,  fantasy manga, and gag manga.


Since my style is fairly flexible, it’s possible  that I can draw manga in several different genres, though I’m not good at dirty or cruel comics. I prefer comical, actional, moving or enlightening ones. You can see some of my manga samples on these pages though they are only some parts of my flexibility.

Samples of my manga

My past work


Manner Mode


People tend to think that manga artists only draw manga-pictures, but I'd like you to know that almost all Japanese manga artists create stories for their manga. We are professional story creators as well as professional manga-picture drawers. The ability of creating stories is valued in Japanese manga industry because manga which contain attractive stories sell well even when the manga pictures are not so good.


In addition, I have an experience of teaching manga-making at vocational schools and through Skype privately.  Now I'm writing a manga-making book which explains how to create manga in the Japanese style. I want to publish it next year though the publisher has not  been decided  yet.


A central point


Before introducing my skills, I’d like to begin by explaining the difference between Japanese manga artists and illustrators. In many cases, Japanese manga artists both create the manga stories, including the characters' personalities, as well as drawing manga pictures. Illustrators specialize in drawing pictures. So, the point is that many Japanese manga artists have a parallel side as a story teller.



1: Drawing Japanese-style manga

2: Designing characters for games

3: Drawing manga or anime as illustrations

4: Writing instructional manga-drawing books


Below I get into my skills in more detail.

1: Drawing Japanese-style manga


I was drawing love stories for girls at the publisher Shougakukan, though I have a rather wide range of manga style. I can draw manga for boys, adults, or gag-type comics, etc., although I'm not good at extremely sexual or cruel ones.


I feel I can change my drawing style as well to the atmosphere of the creator’s stories or according to the genre. In Japan, manga is used for various serious purposes besides entertainment or diversion, such as for education, product advertising or even within companies for training purposes. I can also draw these types.

2: Designing characters for games

I’m an experienced character designer as well as a story teller. I can design both character appearance and personalities, should it be required, and my experience as a fashion designer is very useful for designing a character's look and style. 


I’m currently a character designer as part of a creative team for an independent game studio in England.

I'm very excited to be working on the "Koe" project!



3: Drawing manga or anime as illustrations


As I mentioned earlier, Japanese manga artists usually create both stories and pictures. This is the main point of distinction with illustrators. However, sometimes we accept jobs as illustrators, though it's difficult to do so when we’re seriously busy drawing manga at a smacking pace. I’ve drawn colored and monochrome illustrations for some young adult fiction.



4: Writing instructional manga-drawing books


This is one of my most unique skills, because I have both experience as a published manga artist and as a manga-drawing teacher. In Japan, there are many manga-drawing books, but they tend to be technical and few of them refer to the story-creating process of manga. This is because there are few writers who can write about it.


This is one reason the key to the popularity of Japanese manga is often overlooked. It comes down to the charm of the stories, including the appeal of the characters' personalities. These are indispensable to creating fine manga. I preach this in my teaching and would like to write about it comprehensively as well in my future manga picture-drawing books. I believe this approach will continue to help spread the appeal of manga abroad. I think my theory can be applied to many manga genres.


I'd like to publish this instructional book in English, French, German and Japanese. I'm now writing it in English, though I have not decided what publishers I will approach yet.


***************************** MY ENGLISH


I was born and raised in Japan, so my native language is Japanese. Since I can speak and write English to some extent, I have written all the English content on this site by myself and there is not a Japanese version of this site.


The reason for this is I want to communicate to a new audience, and address the issue that it’s really rare for a Japanese manga artist to pass the English-level of “pre-grade 1”.


When I was a university student, I majored in psychology but for some reason became interested in English. So I studied it by myself and passed the pre-grade 1 of the EIKEN test in Practical English Proficiency, which is the most widely used English language testing program in Japan. After passing it, I temporarily stopped studying English once I started concentrating on drawing manga. Then, from the beginning of 2013, I resumed studying English and aimed to pass the grade 1, the highest level of the EIKEN test.


Although most Japanese students study English for at least 6 years during their school years, few of them become good at communicating with it (as many across the world have probably experienced!). There are several reasons for this, and I think the biggest one is the lack of opportunities to use it. Generally speaking, we Japanese have no chance to use it in daily life, and it’s almost impossible to master a language without using it. If we want to use it, in many cases we have to spend a lot of time and money to attend some kind of private English school. And English is so vastly different from Japanese that it requires a lot of energy to master it.


This problem applies double to a manga artist and the job applicants. Like a lot of creative artists, a Japanese professional manga artist usually starts developing their craft in their childhood and spent a lot of time and energy on it. This intense focus means they couldn’t afford to do other things which require much energy or focus.


I also have a theory about another hindrance that prevents manga artists in particular from acquiring good English skills. I have heard that people use the left side of their brain to acquire language skills while they use the right side of their brain to draw pictures. One day, I decided to create this web site, so I started to draw pictures while simultaneously trying to write English articles. It felt confusing and disorienting, and my guess is it’s because I had to use both my right and left sides of my brain at the same time. The shifting back and forth from both sides of my brain delayed the work and made it hard to do smoothly. In the end, I got used to it, but it’s not an easy thing to overcome.


I feel it's no wonder that most manga artists struggle to acquire English skills. Fortunately, I was able to pass the pre-1 level before I started drawing manga as an amateur. I’m glad I laid this foundation early on, making it easier to improve my English more from here forward!



*****************************   My teaching theory

When I teach how to draw manga, I tend to emphasize the creation of attractive stories and characters. In some foreign countries, comics are created based on a division of labor, while Japanese manga artists create manga by themselves. Usually they create both the story and picture, and they only hire some assistants when they finish the pictures because it's quite hard to finish dozens of pages in an short period of time.


Since the attractiveness of stories and characters are the whip hand that drives the popularity of manga, the ability to create them is crucial. There are a lot of amateur manga artists who are good at drawing pictures, but only a handful of them are good at creating charming stories and characters.


In addition, many how-to-draw-comics books do not contain guidelines for creating charming stories and characters. I'm writing a manga-creation book and if the occasion arises, I would like to publish a manga-creation book that covers this in English, French, German, and Japanese.


As you may know, the family name comes first in the Japanese language, so 祭矢 is read as “Saiya”. Usually each kanji character has its own meaning, and in this case 祭 means “festival”, and 矢 means “arrow”. And Rena is written as レナ. For the first name I’ve used Japanese katakana (a syllabary with phonetic characters), and not kanji, characters, and which is popular in Japan.