Shilin is a premium artist for MangaMagazine. She writes and illustrates the fantasy epic, Carciphona.
Hi Shilin. Thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule for this interview!
Hello ^^ Thank you for the opportunity!
For some time now, a lot of readers have been looking forward to Carciphona becoming a premium title. How has the experience been this first weeks?
It was great! I saw a quick increase of readership, fans and comments in comparison to my previous feature status. I am very grateful as my biggest goal is always to bring Carciphona to a wider public. Thank you guys so much again for the privilege (:
Among the series here at MangaMagazine, Carciphona is the only title that uses 2-page spreads all the time. To clarify, these are 2 separate pages set side by side and not one giant landscape page. This set up cleverly mimics a real book reading experience. Can you tell us more about this unique presentation?
When I began drawing the series, I did not have any plans to print as I see it to be impossible and impractical, so this stunt was to entertain my own fantasies about seeing Carciphona in print ;;; Later I felt that it helped the flow of the story by minimizing interruptions, such as page turns, and draw out the breath of story sequences!
Some words in the story look foreign to English. For example, the main character’s name Veloce, is pronounced as VEL-los, and the title itself – Carciphona. Where did the inspiration come from?
I named a lot of my characters based purely on the aesthetics of the letters of their names in a sequence, and since I am a great fan of European heritage, I went for spellings that resembled that of French and German, but still pronounceable in English. Sometimes, when I can, I make use of etymology. For example “Carciphona” came from Latin carcino- (cancer, which is similar to the incurable illness in the story where a soul is infected by demon spirits) and -phone (sound, which is the most common way to identify these infected souls, by the song of their souls). “Auresque”, the name of Veloce’s mother, came from aurora and the suffix -esque.
I also made some use of my Chinese descent to name people of an ancient culture in the story, such as Weirin, Sangyun Rae, and Rosien Keur. Their names were made in Chinese first (Sangyun Rae: “苍云 泪”, tears of white clouds; Rosien Keur: “堕星 河”, river of falling stars; Weirin: “薇莲”, name of 2 flowers) and then their pronunciation is mimicked in English with visually European spelling.
Do you think this has anything to do with your love of with music and talent in playing instruments?
My love for western, classical music most likely facilitated my interest in European heritage of many aspects. Naming is just one of the outlets of this fascination of mine; architecture and furnishing, world structure, culture of Carciphona are all heavily based on western ways.
Aside from being musically inclined, you also design and maintain your own website, and do freelance illustrations. That is a lot of career options to choose from! What attracted you to telling stories with pictures and words that made you decide to give it a try?
I’ve always loved making up stories, I’m sure a lot of children did regardless of how much they actually invested in it, but the idea that I could create something of this magnitude where I can choose how everything will be was extremely attractive, enough for me to have invested a huge part of my time to this story over the span of my life. Story telling–the genuine act, as opposed to the business solution of creating something to cater to an audience–is a subjective act where I can pour all my thoughts into and express all that makes me who I am without intervention of objectivity. It is capable keeping me healthy and thinking. To me, other career options are not even close in terms of being things I want to do for my life, but most of the time I must consider them to ease worries of the elder generation and provide them with peace of mind.
The interior pages and most especially the chapter covers carry a lot of detail. How do you manage this level of detail in your work? Are there stylistic decisions you strictly follow?
My own obsession over details contributed a lot to that look in my illustrations and my comic pages. There aren’t really any rules I follow to achieve certain looks as I rely almost entirely on instincts due to lack of education, but I do work on large canvases for illustrations at 50-100% zoom for details, and I consciously pay attention to details beyond foreground characters for manga pages in order to establish solid environments for readers to truly be in engulfed in.
There is also a lot of variety on character costumes and locations. What are your inspirations for these?
A lot of setting is heavily based on Renaissance/Baroque or later European culture as I mentioned before. Things I’ve seen and things I’ve dreamed contribute greatly to the creation of these settings.
We enjoy reading the carefree assassin named Blackbird in your story. She has a playful demeanor towards Veloce and we would like to know if we will ever see a different side to Blackbird’s personality later?
She is certainly much more than just fun and games, but that side is not for just anybody (: I, having spent the past many years doing so, will continue to spend the next many years wishing everyday that I could just share the entire back stories of all the main characters at once, sadly I cannot. However you will get a big glimpse into her background in the next volume!
Thanks Shilin! More power to Carciphona!
And more power to Powil and MM! Thanks again!