Saturday AM Annual Artist Profile: Tapiwasikota_art (Tapiwa)

The fateful day has arrived, Saturday Annual 2024 is AVAILABLE NOW! Perfectly timed to present our final two artists’ profiles. we’re highlighting the gifted Tapiwasikota_art. He, like the other #summerofmanga alumni, is bringing the heat in this year’s Annual. His series “Ghost Slayer Rex” was a great hit in the 2022 Summer of Manga, Issue 151 with such a unique art style and premise. Also, be on the lookout for his up and coming project Dimensions KAINO  – available Sept 22-25 #comicconafrica2023. We were fortunate to chat with Tapiwas about his journey and his experience working with Saturday AM senior David Yoon and his series Spoon. Here’s what he had to say:

How was your experience crafting content for this year’s edition of the Saturday AM Annual? Were there any moments that stood out to you?

“It was a bit intimidating working on a story and character with a fan base you aren’t entirely familiar with. Because there are expectations from fans and you wanna do the IP justice. But ultimately I enjoyed it. It’s so long ago, I can’t recall one specific moment because I’m always making comics it tends to feel like business as usual, do your best and have fun but be professional. The likes”

What message or emotion do you hope readers will take away from your contribution to the Annual?

“I’m tempted to say “There’s a message somewhere in there about a being cursed against your will, and going on a journey representing. How Sometimes life can break us, it’s unfair but it would best for you and for everyone if you took the responsibility to fix it, along the way you will meet those like you who don’t want to fix it, and as a result cause suffering to others.

But I wasn’t thinking that deeply at the time, nor did I ask if that was the meaning behind Spoon as a whole.thenleast I can say is hope you had fun and enjoy the stay at the unnamed little town, even though they didn’t have vegan food”

Can you share any behind-the-scenes moments or challenges you faced while developing your story?

“When writing stories , I like to let the story evolve with the art. Sometimes the way something is drawn inspires me to re-write certain aspects of the story. There is a lot of improvising in my works. When working with people on the other hand, it’s a different process, because you have to be a bit more specific and have everything down from the beginning, it wasn’t a challenge per say. But it was definitely a process that’s gonna take some getting used to.”

For those who worked on preexisting Saturday am titles How did you balance paying homage to the original character’s essence while also imprinting your unique style and voice?

“When working on Spoon, I had the Samurai Jack approach that Gennedy Tartakovsky had when making episodes “What ever you got, put it in the pot”. So having a protagonist who travels from town to town, felt like that was what was being asked of me, and see what works.

I didn’t want to go to crazy because source material has to be respected. So I chose a European style town (the the concept art side of me speaking) with the hopes to respect the fantasy aspect of the story, whilst making a town that can exist in any time period. So I hope I represented the character well… And if you are a fan of Charles Read, the OG.”

Are there particular artists or illustrators, whether from Saturday AM or elsewhere, that have influenced your work?

“In Saturday AM. I’m a huge fan of Jey Odin. His style to me looks like the best blend of Cartoon Network and Shounen Jump. Which you can probably tell from my work I’m into that stuff.

As for the elsewhere for simplification sake , Samurai Jack, Scott Pilgrim, Spiderverse, Persona aaaan The amazing world of Gumball. I could go on for ages , my references can even be as obscure as that one episode of Looney Tunes with the swimming ducks that changed how I draw trees.”

An amazing interview with Tapiwa! Thanks so much for speaking with us! Super excited to see his rendition of the the Spoon series. What are you waiting for?? Grab yourself a copy of  Saturday AM Annual 2024, OUT NOW!


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