Volume 3 Page 148
Posted October 13, 2017 at 12:01 am

Rather than futilely attempting to draw believable-looking yaoi dōjinshi myself, I called on two wildly talented artist friends of mine, Jo Chen and Tomoko Saito, to draw the assorted books seen here. Thanks much, my wildly talented friends!

Jo Chen’s probably best known over here for her beautiful color artwork on many American comics covers, but is a much bigger deal in manga circles for the successful series In These Words—which, not coincidentally, is a manga series that started off life as a yaoi dōjinshi. Why, that’s not unlike how Empowered came to be, in a way! She did the main page at left, the one in the upper right, and several of the cutoff images around the periphery; besides her distinctive art style, the tipoff would be the word balloons featuring only Chinese-language characters.

Tomoko Saito’s been mentioned here a few times before, as she provided the translations and Japanese kanji used for Ninjette’s esoteric and goofy ninjutsu techniques. Back in my days of more mainstream comics work, she lettered quite a few of my books, including much of Dirty Pair and all of the Gen13 Bootleg miniseries Grunge! The Movie. More recently she was the letterer and retouch artist for the hugely demanding Dark Horse translation of Hiroaki Samura’s manga Blade of The Immortal. She also knows her way around a dōjinshi, to put it mildly, and was able to draw in a wonderfully varying array of art styles for this faux fanwork. Everything else on this page was drawn by Tomoko, with the giveaway being the distinctive Japanese-language mix of complex, multistroke Chinese characters—kanji, in Japanese—and simpler phonetic kana characters.

While I probably should’ve tried to draw a few yaoi images myself, the truth is that nowadays I have limited interest in drawing, period, and no interest whatsoever in trying to draw like someone else. I learned a great deal back in the day from direct imitations and emulations of manga artists and their art techniques, but presently the idea of faking another artist’s oeuvre holds little appeal.

-Adam Warren


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