Tani Andrews, the creator of the forthcoming manga Seeds of Doubt, talks about their creative process and how to make the most out of your creativity.
I spotlighted Tani Andrews back in April. Their webcomic Strike L (available to read on WebToon) amazes me with its story and characters. Tani is currently working on their manga Seeds of Doubt, which will debut at MomoCon 2022. Here, they share details about their forthcoming manga, as well as advice on how to persist on your creative path even when you experience discouragement.
The Geekiary: So excited to have you here! Let’s start by introducing yourself!
Tani: Awesome! Well, I’m Tani, a black asexual manga artist from Atlanta, Georgia! I’ve been drawing manga for about seven years. I graduated with an MFA in Sequential Art from SCAD in 2019, and now I’m pursuing a career in manga. I hope to eventually have my stories read and enjoyed all over the world.
TG: I’m looking forward to your manga Seeds of Doubt. When I discovered your webcomic Strike L, I was thoroughly impressed with your storytelling. So I’m definitely keeping an eye on your upcoming and future works. You’ve given a snippet of what Seeds of Doubt is about on Twitter, but I want to provide a space for you to include anything that you’d like your audience to know.
Tani: Of course! Seeds of Doubt is a fun coming of age story about Kyofu and his best friend, Yuuri, learning to overcome anxiety and fear in a literal sense. The plant-like monsters, also known as the kyofun, are usually created from the stress of anxiety and fear of a source. And the only way to defeat it is to heal that source.
It starts off with Kyofu, the first Child of Fear born in 300 years in the city-nation of Valta. In their world people are born under three main Pillars – either a Child of Courage, Knowledge, or Order. However, there is a rare fourth Pillar, – Children of Fear. While Kyofu is the first Child of Fear, not much is known about his Pillar aside from having a connection with the kyofun, so he doesn’t really have a life path or “birth right”. That is, until Yuuri is convinced Kyofu can change his fate, and become a Child of Courage like Yuuri, himself. Thus, this starts their story – Kyofu finds his own way to step into his light, and for Yuuri to learn to lean on others as he becomes a Master of Courage.
Throughout the story, readers will witness how Kyofu and Yuuri deal with each kyofun as they attack Valta, including how they eventually face off with their own kyofun. They will also witness Kyofu and Yuuri’s relationship and how their bond grows over time as they traverse their life paths and the conflicts inflicting their home.
TG: What is your creative process like?
Tani: When I started with Seeds early on, it was only an idea of a “boy of courage” and a “boy of fear.” I then created their character designs and centered the plot around the idea of overcoming fear, where the boy of courage would help the boy of fear using the concept of hope. This later became Yuuri and Kyofu, respectively and I just expanded upon the story.
For my process, I tend to start off traditional, drawing everything by hand, and then scanning everything to ink and tone digitally in clip studio. I often think of the characters and how they would interact with each other, then go back and build a world around them. This is usually how I start most of my concepts.
TG: Are you working or planning on anything else?
Tani: While I am focusing on the first book for Seeds of Doubt, I have other stories I want to do afterwards, including continuing Strike L eventually. Alongside Seeds, I’m creating a story about a girl and an Idol. As of now I only have a concept in mind, but I really want to create this story eventually.
Aside from that, I’m thinking of entering the Silent Manga Audition contest and giving that a shot.
TG: What advice or pointers would you give Queer artists and creatives?
Tani: Have a support system at hand, and keep going. If it wasn’t for my peers I met over my time in art school, I don’t think I would have the strength to press forward with my story. I know it’s hard, but I really appreciate the friends I’ve met who have encouraged me to keep going with this.
Also, trust your gut with what you want. Quite a few people have discouraged me to pursue a manga aesthetic in the industry, however, I feel happiest doing the style I love. If I wasn’t unapologetically manga, I wouldn’t be doing what I love. Now I feel my style has solidified and will only continue to improve.
Manga that Tani Recommends:
You can find more about Black creators and their works on The Geekiary here.
Author: Brahidaliz Martinez
Brahidaliz (pronounced Bra-da-leez) is a 2019 graduate of American University’s MFA in creative writing program. Their cross-genre chapbook, Coquí’s Song, is forthcoming (2023) from Mason Jar Press.
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