Interview: Saturday AM AWAKENS to manga in Chile

I'm never surprised by the talent I see around the world from new, fresh artistic voices. Why should I be? I started MyFutprint for that very reason! I was sick and tired of listening to my other corporate associates try and tell me that content was one size fits all endeavor --usually from the same countries, one gender and usually starring 1 ethnicity. I knew this was B.S. and now my company stands at the forefront of shining a light on some of the world's best amateur talent!

Our flagship brands Saturday AM, Afternoon Web-X and WEL/RED are leading the charge with great creators with highly advanced technical skill like Beverly Toole and Wally Nguyen from those who works is so precise that it looks as if it is from Japan like Whyt Manga.

Which brings us to Chile's KOTI SAAVEDRA

While I'm never surprised at the quality of the talent I am often bemused at how amateur creators are so amazing that they are instantly people that appear as professionals who would work for a Disney or even Image Comics. Koti's AWAKEN is such a unique manga webcomic that it brings a powerful visual design that is wholly unique and pages that are so crisp they appear like Japanese animation cells.

We wanted to speak to this amazingly talented young women and understand what makes her tick (perhaps the World Cup??;) and what's next for her. Check Saturday AM issue 11 for the full interview.

-Frederick L. Jones

Publisher, Saturday AM

Saturday AM: What is the manga/anime scene like in Chile?

Koti Saavedra: To be honest, I'm only entering this scene in my country! I used to think there wasn't much of a market or interest in Chile for comics or manga, that's one of the reasons why I started my webcomic in English and not Spanish. But now...I'm starting to see there is a lot of interest from people and from artists as well. I recently went to an important convention and I was surprised to see how many artists had oriental influence on their work and even more surprised to see the high quality of the material they were producing. It was a nice surprise because I think manga and anime are a good place to learn from as an artist, art wise and content wise. 

Saturday AM: How did you get started as an artist? Self taught or school?

Koti Saavedra: I've been drawing since I could pick up a pen, but the moment I really started thinking about being an artist was in high school. I used to sit on the back and draw nonstop during classes haha. After that, I actually went to an art school for 2 years. I learnt a lot of basics, from painting to sculpting, all of them traditionally, but after those couple of years, I started studying animation and that's where I think I learned the most and finally found my path as an artist, to tell stories.

Saturday AM: What made you decide to start a webcomic? Do you follow any other webcomics?

Koti Saavedra: I had the idea for Awaken rolling around in my head for a lot of years, but I used to be a bit paranoid about posting my art on the internet, even more my stories, until a dear friend of mine convinced me to join deviantART. And so I did! I posted a lot of pictures of my characters and at some point people began asking who they were and if they had a story behind them. And they had! So... one thing led to another I guess haha. I also realized there was no point in having a story if I didn't have anyone to tell it to, so I flipped my mind from paranoia to share it all.

Aahh shame on me! I'm not really a good reader, and I follow a lot of webcomics sporadically. Lately, the ones that have piqued my curiosity the most are Chilean ones: Terra Incognita, Bichos Raros and Neurial.

To read the FULL INTERVIEW with KOTI SAAVEDRA -- Get Saturday AM #11

Interview in Espanol

Scroll down to the bottom for a gallery of AWAKEN art

Scroll down to the bottom for a gallery of AWAKEN art

Saturday AM: ¿Cúal es la escena en relación al manga/anime en Chile?

Koti Saavedra: Para ser honesta, estoy recién entrando a esta escena en mi país! Solía pensar que no había mucho mercado ni interés para los cómics o el manga, esa es una de las razones por la que comencé mi webcómic en Inglés y no en Español. Pero ahora... estoy empezando a ver que hay mucho interés de la gente y de los artistas también. Hace poco estuve en una convención importante y me sorprendí al ver la gran cantidad de artistas con influencia oriental en su trabajo y aún más, la alta calidad del material que estaban produciendo. Fue una agradable sorpresa, porque pienso que el manga y anime son un buen lugar de aprendizaje, tanto en calidad artística como en contenido. 
Saturday AM: ¿Cómo empezaste como artista? ¿Autodidacta o estudios?

Koti Saavedra: He dibujado desde que tengo memoria, pero el momento en que realmente empecé a pensar sobre seguir una carrera artística fue en preparatoria. Era de esas que se sentaba al fondo y dibujaba sin parar durante las clases jaja. Después de eso, fui a una escuela de arte por 2 años. Aprendí todo lo básico, desde pintura a escultura, todo tradicional; pero, luego de ese par de años,  me cambié a estudiar animación y creo que ahí es donde más aprendí y finalmente encontré mi camino como artista, contar historias.
Saturday AM: ¿Qué te hizo decidir empezar un webcómic? ¿Sigues algún otro webcómic?

Koti Saavedra: Tenía la idea de Awaken dándome vueltas en la cabeza por años, pero era un poco paranoica sobre publicar mi arte en internet, mucho más mis historias, hasta que un querido amigo mío me convenció de unirme a deviantART. ¡Y lo hice! Publiqué muchos dibujos de mis personajes y en algún punto la gente comenzó a preguntar quiénes eran y si tenían una historia por detrás. ¡Y la tenían! Así que... una cosa llevo a la otra, supongo jaja. Además de eso, me di cuenta que no valía la pena tener historias si no tenía a nadie a quien contárselas, así que cambié mi forma de pensar de paranoica a compartirlo todo. 
¡Ahh qué vergüenza!  No soy muy buena para leer y sigo muchos webcomics esporádicamente. Últimamente, los que más han llamado mi atención son Chilenos: Terra Incognita, Bichos Raros y Neurial.

To read the FULL INTERVIEW with KOTI SAAVEDRA -- Get Saturday AM #11

This interview was conducted by Kasey Michael.