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Get Graphic: The Terrifying Tales of Gigi Murakami

Interview by Troy-Jeffrey Allen

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Black Futures Month continues at PREVIEWSworld! Throughout February we're highlighting the creative forces shaping the future of sequential storytelling.

Earlier this month, we highlighted letterer Deron Bennett and the recently released anthology SHOOK! Now we pivot to the world of manga...

If you're a horror manga fan on Instagram then it's likely that you've seen Gigi at some point. Her online presence goes beyond self-promotion, delving into artistic concerns like finding your "voice" and working with ADHD. Always with a smattering of humorous observations about her process. 

In the following interview, Gigi hangs out with PREVIEWSworld to discuss the life of a self-publisher...

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Firstly, what is your name and where do you hail from?

Hello, my name is Gigi Murakami. I’m a horror manga artist and illustrator, hailing from The Bronx but residing in Brooklyn, NY.

How did you get into art? What sparked your initial interest?

I got into art pretty young. I was about 5 or 6 when I started tracing cartoon characters, like Rugrats, out of magazines and then moved on to using references. I’m a huge lover of movies, so the need to draw my favorite characters and create fan stories where my own characters could live within the worlds of my favorite movies is what sparked my interest in getting into art and manga/comics specifically.

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What can you tell us about your book Resenter and Wash and Go? What are they about?

Wash and Go is a one-shot based on my anxieties about getting my hair done at the beautician [laughs]. Resenter is my debut horror manga series and it’s about a young woman named Jackie, who is suddenly murdered one night while at work. She wakes up in this place called the "Death Zone" where she meets a woman named Rhea who allows Jackie to get revenge on her killer from beyond the grave.

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Can you get into your character design process a bit? How do you know when the character has the right look?

Good question. I instinctively lean toward more realistic/simplistic-looking designs for my human characters, so, being self-critical, I always feel like my designs leave little more to be desired sometimes. However, I always strive for readability and balance. For me, as long as the design encompasses that combination and can fit into the character’s personality–that’s when I believe the look is right. 

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What tools do you use to draw?

I work traditionally to draw, so your basic mechanical pencils, lead pencils, and paper. I use traditional Japanese manga supplies such as B4 manga paper, G-pens, maru pens and Nihonji pens, Pentel brush pens, and either Pilot or Deleter 4 black drawing ink. I use my Wacom Intuos and Photoshop for clean-up, coloring, toning, and lettering.

In terms of audience, who is your work for?

My work is for people who enjoy horror, dark, and introspective storytelling and are eager to engage the Black female experience in a novel and interesting way.

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For more from the macabre world of Gigi Murakami be sure to visit her website, Instagram, YouTube, and Patreon.

Keep an eye on PREVIEWSworld.com's TwitterFacebookYouTube, or Instagram for more artist spotlights!

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Troy-Jeffrey Allen is the Consumer Marketing Manager for Diamond Comics Distributors and PREVIEWSworld.com. He is also the writer of comics such as MF DOOM: All Caps, Public Enemy's Apocalypse '91: Revolution Never Sleeps, O.D.B.: Lyrical Ruckus in the City, and the Glyph Award-nominated Fight of the Century.

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