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Preparing Yourself When Planning On Trying Out Hiking

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piatra mountain hikeFor much too long of a time, I have been stuck in the same daily routine for years on end. Unfortunately, I work a full time job at an office and I also have children that need to be taken care of. They aren’t gonna raise themselves, you know. I do not have a whole lot of free time to myself these days. At one point in time, I just burned out. So it got me thinking… and it didn’t take me long to decide that I was going to have to do something completely different with my life than what I was doing now. I do not like it when life gets all monotonous and every single day looks like the day before it. Before you know it, you will be addicted to the complacency that goes with this. Sometimes you really need to start pushing your own limits in order to achieve something you had never thought would be possible to achieve.

OutdoorsIn the past few years of regularly doing 50+ hour work weeks, I had decided that I needed to work less and get more exercise. And when I say exercise, I do mean exercise. So a few walks around the block every month are not going to cut it. I needed more than that. Besides… the block I go around has always been the same for many years as well, just like my job. I just did not want to do it anymore. I have done it for well over ten years now. It’s all been the same. Where has time gone? That lifestyle is out the window now, because it simply is not good enough. For this reason, I have decided that I need to go out on a hiking trip. I am going into the mountains and look for a good trail where I can really let myself go. I have seen the great outdoors in many movies, magazines and internet images. And I had always wanted to go there in person. I have a few friends that frequently go out on outdoorsy kind of trips. They stay in a cabin and go fishing and everything.

But a guy can not simply go out into the mountains and start that hike just like that. You have got to come well prepared. If you are not going to prepare, don’t even bother going. The first thing you need is a pair of excellent hiking shoes. If you do not have good support for your feet, you are nowhere. Boots are the most essential thing that you need to be taking with you on your trip. Don’t just buy any pair of shoes. This is not a matter of seconds. Take your time to prepare. Take your time to review a number of boots and then buy the ones that you think are the best for you. You are going to be tremendously sorry if you do not do this. You have to know what you’re doing when you are going hiking.

outdoors with donnaI have researched my preparations for about a whole week. Don’t plan the trip before you have done all the research. In the end, it does not really matter which brand of hiking boots you go for. What matters is that you go with a pair that has received darn good reviews on Amazon. The ones I’ve got now are awesome. They are Hi-Tecs. I would not trade them for the world. Most of the brands out there produce good quality hiking boots. But since it is so easy to get boots with a good review on the Internet, I usually just order them online. There is this website called the Boot Bomb (check it out at http://bootbomb.com/) that can assist you in finding the best boots for you. The website has many boot comparisons and you will learn a lot from it.

I was warned up front about the possibility of developing plantar fasciitis. I have never suffered from this before. However, I am told that it is a very painful condition that can royally screw up the quality of your life. In order to prevent it, it is very important that you buy high quality boots that will support your feet and prevent this affliction all together.

When the moment arrived that I got a few weeks off from work, I travelled to the trail that I had selected and went on my first hike. This trail was advertised as being 10 days long for an average hiker. It took me 11 days, so I’d say the advertisement was spot on. I was not in the best shape when I started, so I don’t mind that it took me a day extra. This hiking trip has done lots to increase my condition. I feel much better already. A few walks around the block can not possibly hold a candle to this experience. I am planning on nailing this trail the next time I take it. I’m gonna do it in 9 days this time! But the most important thing is that I managed to finish the whole trail. I absolutely loved being smack dab in the middle of nature. There were birds everywhere and frequently other kinds of forest critters would scurry off into the bushes when I came too near. I really love the feeling of becoming completely saturated with the fresh air that mother nature has to offer. It is like nature becomes a part of your very essence.

outdoor with shannonEvery single evening, I would set up camp and I would fall asleep like a rock. I would need 10 hour sleeping bouts, otherwise I would simply not be well rested enough. Don’t laugh at me. If you would have been hiking the whole day as well, you would need a lot of sleep too. Normally, I sleep 8, just like any other fellow human being out there. But that is just an average amount of sleep, good enough to recharge you after a normal day. But a hike day does not count as a normal day. The rockier the path is that you are trying to travel, the more tired you are going to be when the day comes to an end. But just resting often is not going to cut it. You have got to make sure to bring healthy foods with you as well. If you do not bring good nutrients with you, you will regret it.

I chose a pretty long trail for myself. The great thing about it is that you get a change of scenery pretty much every day. You are walking through a dense forest one day. And the next day, you are following a river stream out in the meadows. And that’s why I love hiking so much. I’m glad to have found this new hobby. I am planning on doing it a lot more in the near future. With all the walking I’m about to do, I’ll have to find a good way to avoid plantar fasciitis, though. Have you ever had it? I don’t recommend it. It’s incredibly painful!

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Nov 12, 2014

My Fit Dad Is My Greatest Idol

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middle ageI consider myself to be one of the luckiest girls alive today, because I have such an awesome dad. My old man has been going to the gym and working out for pretty much his whole life. He loves the healthy lifestyle. Sometimes I tend to get a bit jealous of him because he has so much discipline. I can’t believe he is able to keep this up for all those years. My dad has been a teach his whole life. I’m not saying at which high school because I want to keep some privacy if that is okay with all my readers.

He was an English teacher and for decades he has passed on his knowledge of our language to teens. Naturally, some of his students did not like him much, but most loved him, in fact. Generally speaking, he was a very popular guy at this high school. He was really good at teaching, in my opinion. But not only was he a great teacher, he was extremely fit throughout his whole life. Just like that one guy from the Bulk Board.

Back in the days when he was still raising me, he used to talk about how he used to be chubby when he was a teenager. My dad and my mom had me when they were both in their thirties. Even back then, he was already in better shape than I have ever been in my entire life. I do not think I have ever seen him out of shape… apart from some of the early teen pictures that he has shown me on occasions.

more weight liftingHe only has a few pictures of himself as a chubby kid, as he did not like being photographed all that often. He looks so much better now that he is slim… it’s like a change of day and night. I can totally understand why he made the decision to lose a lot of weight at that time. I think he was something like 75 pounds over weight and he really needed to shed a few of those pounds. From looking at my dad, you can’t see that he has ever been fat. He has a few stretch marks, but he doesn’t have any skin flabs or anything.

All my life, I have struggled with weight related problems myself as well. Having such a fit dad certainly helped. He has taught me much about how to get in shape and stay in shape. It’s too bad he ever allowed me to become the fat girl that I was in my teens. Sometimes I get angry at my dad because I feel he let me get fat. But every time I do, he politely points out that I have been shoving all those calories down my own mouth all by myself. When I was a kid, I was such a fussy eather. Every single time my mom and dad tried feeding me something healthy, I would whine like a little kid (and I was) that I would rather have candy.

muscle massLooking back on it, it really kind of was my fault. However, small girls grow into big girls eventually. And rest assured that I have taken full responsibility for my physique since then. One day, I asked my dad for good advice on how to get in shape. He explained me in details how I needed to exercise and what kind of diet I should adhere to. The days of pigging out on slim jims and ho hos are long behind me. And I have completely sworn off any kind of soda pop, because these kinds of drinks will kill you.

I am currently eating nothing but healthy stuff and I could not be happier because of it. A long time ago, I had developed an addiction to pizzas, cheese burgers, bacon burgers and whatnot. I can not believe why I ever liked that stuff. It is chock full of preservatives, chemical, refined sugars, all the wrong carbs, etc. I can not count how many pizzas I have had in the past. These days, I prefer to stick to salads. I am currently married to a guy that I love to death, but he is not eating healthy enough. He’s a bit of a lazy bones and he loves eating spicy junk foods.

But I am not going to sit back and let this all happen. He wants me to do all the cooking, so he’s going to have to eat whatever I shove in front of him. Not too long from now, I am going to encourage him to visit the gym. The same one my dad frequents. He needs to do some lifting and get in good shape, just like a real man. My husband has been a couch potatoe for far too long. I really love him. But eventually he’s going to get too fat and I will lose my interest in him. I’m going to be shoving lots of vegetables into him from now on.

power liftingMy dad is currently well into his sixties. But he is a charismatic man and I truly believe he will be able to set my husband straight. He’s a really tough guy and you should not want to mess with him. He’s one of those guys that simply never quits. Because of his increasing age, he was getting a bit more irritable as the years were passing him by. He even suffered from mild depression for a while. He did some research into this problem, because he wanted to fix it. It wasn’t long before he found out that his lowered testosterone levels were to blame for it. Eventually, all men are going to have to deal with this same problem. Your male sex hormone levels are never going to go higher than they were when you were in your teens. They’re always going to go lower. My dad knew this, so he did some research on the web to learn more about these so called testosterone boosters (such as Testofuel) that had been hitting the market as of late. He ordered a few online to see if he could find out which ones were the best ones. And soon enough, his test levels started going up again. He was feeling better and doing better at the gym. I did not expect this stuff to actually work, but it sure did!

Not only can this stuff help you stay in good shape… it can also help you stay in a good mood, and last but not least… it can keep you good in the sack!

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Oct 29, 2014

Babies & Food – How To Deal With Them

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baby blue eyesIf you are a woman that has had children, will probably understand all I am saying here. At some point in your life, you are totally looking forward to becoming pregnant with a little boy or girl. And before you know it… you’ve got yourself knocked up. And then in the blink of an eye, you are having the baby that you’ve been dreaming about for all these years. And only a few seconds later, you find out that your little baby requires a whole bunch of attention and care, because otherwise the crying simply will not stop. Time moves really fast when you are having fun. But sometimes, it is hard to be a mommy. Rest assured that time will slow down once things get hard. At the very beginning, having a baby and having to take care of him can be quite overwhelming for some people. It certainly was for me. Your life will be totally turned upside down. But you can’t allow yourself to give up. Mothers can sometimes have serious psychological impacts from having a baby. And these kinds of psycholocal problems can blow the changing of diapers completely out of the water.

blanket babySometimes, you are going to get royally pissed with one of your kids, no matter how much you love him. I am pretty sure that all you mommies out there have often been in the situation where you needed to get some healthy food inside your baby and he simply did not want it. I am sure that in some cases you needed to just walk away from the situation for a few minutes, because babies and kids alike can go against the grain pretty intensively. But walking away when a baby has a bowl of food in front of him is actually not a good idea, as I have learned the hard way. They will quickly turn it into a big big mess by pushing the bowl onto the floor and getting it all over the rug. This is just one example of the type of baby stuff that has angered me at times. But I have learned quickly that it is best not to become angry too much, because it does not help the situation one bit. It has only made me feel guilty afterwards. There is no sense in becoming angry at a baby or a toddler for that matter, for the same reason that it makes no sense to become angry at a cat or a dog. You just have to find a constructive way of dealing with stuff like this.

cute babySo I had a big long think about why my baby would be constantly throwing food on the ground instead of eating it like a normal child. I always took it for granted that store bought food would be good enough for any baby so I would just go ahead and feed him that. But then I went on to do some research and I quickly figured out that there are lots of parents who create their own baby food in the convenience of their own home. It seemed like such a good idea at the time. It made for a good opportunity for me to try out some new stuff. I wanted to see if my baby would be interested in some fresh fruits and veggies that I had bought at the local super market. I figured there would be one big favorite in there. But you can’t be mashing up all those foods all by yourself all the time. I needed to get a food maker to help me puree all that stuff. I did not want to go through the effort of having to figure out which one was best myself, so I just went with the highest rated one that I could find on Amazon.

eating babyAnd guess what… it has worked very well! My babies have pretty specific tastes, apparently. They don’t want any of the jarred stuff from the store. They have to have their baby food home made and fresh and full of healthy nutrients. I don’t really mind though. I prepare this food for the coming weeks and I simply freeze all the rest for future use. Sometimes I prepare food for a week, other times for two weeks. You are freezing it, so you can potentially prepare food for up to four weeks or even more. Just so long as you label all the containers by day. This is a very simple way of feeding those children without having to lose all your precious time on it. I absolutely love it when I come up with solutions that require me to not have to think about anything at all anymore. It is so liberating! But a food processor alone is not going to get you all your time back. You can not afford to take out that thing every single day and make fresh food. You do need to freeze it in or the whole automation of the process will go to waste.

My own babies really love all sorts of fresh veggies. Think of tomatoes and carrots and whatnot. But they also love apples, pears, bananas and other fruits. Everybody’s children are different and I am sure that yours will have other preferences. Not that it really matters. The most important thing is that you get a variety of vegetables in your homemade baby food, because this is the only way to ensure your baby will get a complete set of nutrients. Every fruit and vegetable has its own set of nutrients, but no single fruit or veggie is going to have to have all of the nutrients required to raise a healthy child. So my advice is to mix up as many as you possibly can in that food.

When you feed your babies lots of healthy stuff, you can expect them to grow up fairly quickly. So you will soon require a bigger crib. I would always recommend a convertible crib, because you can resize those to match your baby’s length. This is so handy because now you don’t have to buy a new crib every single time your baby has a growth spurt! A convertible is a good, cheap solution to your growing baby’s sleeping needs.

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Oct 16, 2014

Halloween

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The Origin of Halloween

halloween1In recent years, Halloween has become a tradition which is celebrated all over the world. Every year on October 31st, children and grownups alike dress up as monsters.

Its origins goes back as far back as Roman time, back then they would hold a special feast for Pomona, the goddess of plenty, on October 31st. Later an ancient order of Celtic Priests in Britain, also known as Druids, adapted the feast as a way to honor Samhain, lord of the Dead.

The Druids chose October 31st as a day of sacrifice to their God, because they strongly believed that the night before the first day of November, Samhain called together all wicked souls and spirits who had been condemned to live in the bodies of animals and the Druids hoped that the sacrifices made would protect them from these wicked souls and spirits, whom they feared. The Druids also believed that cats were holy animals, or rather people who had been punished for their evil deeds by being turned into a cat. This might explain why cats have in later years become commonly associated with not only Halloween, but also witches who are in a sense “evil doers”.

The name “Halloween” was not used to describe the holiday until the 16th century, when the Catholic Church decided that it would be celebrated as a “Christian” feast in an attempt to make October 31st into a holy evening. Before this, it had been known as All Hallows Eve which subsequently was abbreviated as “Halloween”.

Trick or Treat and Jack-o’-lanterns

halloween2The origin of the Halloween custom Trick or Treating and carving out pumpkins (Jack-o’-lanterns) is a different story though, which comes from Ireland.

In the olden days, Irish farmers would go from house to house and beg for food in the name of their God. The food was to be used in a village celebration of Halloween. The famers would wish good luck on everyone who donated food and threaten anyone who didn’t, telling them “You treat me, or else I will trick you!”. The tradition most likely immigrated to the United States with the Irish immigrates in the 19th century and the term “Trick or Treat” was first used in 1935.

“Jack-o’-lanterns” was originally a term used for night watchmen, or a man with a lantern. Irish folklore tells the story about a man named Stingy Jack, a man who liked to drink and play tricks on everyone. He tricked the Devil to climb into a tree and then placed crosses all around the tree’s trunk, successfully trapping the Devil in the tree. Jack made a deal with the Devil, he would remove the crosses and let the Devil down if he promised not to take Jack’s soul when he died. The Devil complied and the deal was sealed.

halloween3Years later when Jack died, he was denied access to Heaven because of his deal with the Devil, but he was unable to go to hell because the Devil had promised not to take Jack’s soul. Jack was now dammed to walk to earth with no resting place in sight. In the dark, he would light his way with a hollowed out turnip that was light by an ember from the flames of hell.

On Halloween, the Irish would put hollowed out turnips, potatoes, beets and other vegetables with a lit candle in them outside their houses and farms, to ward off evil spirits and keep Jack away from their homes. When the Irish immigrated to America, they found that pumpkins were bigger and better to carve out and use as lanterns, so they became the traditional jack-o’-lantern.

Halloween in Japan

Halloween was not celebrated in Japan until recent years, the only similar holiday celebrated was O-Bon. O-Bon is a Japanese Buddhist event which is celebrated in either July or August and is meant to honor the memory of dead relatives by placing food and water in front of a picture of the deceased. This holiday is not unlike the Mexican Day of the Dead.

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Sep 13, 2014

Yonkoma Manga

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yonkomaWhat is yonkoma manga? Mangaka.co.uk gives you the skinny on this classic form of comic strip.

You may think you don’t know yonkoma, or 4-koma, manga but really you do: they are short, four-panel comics, not unlike Peanuts or Doonesbury serialized from American newspapers. The four frames are usually of equal size and run from top-to-bottom or sometimes right-to-left. Unlike ordinary manga, they are very rarely sequential; each one typically contains an entire story or gag, from the set-up to a climax and conclusion. They are frequently written according to kishotenketsu, which describes the structure of many Chinese and Japanese narratives: If you break the word down, the first Chinese character, kiku, refers to the introduction; the next character, shoku, means “development“; the third, tenku, adds a plot twist ; and the last, kekku, suggests some conclusion.

Compared to longer manga, yonkoma are simply drawn and most often touch on light or funny topics. Some yonkoma take on serious subject matters but almost always handle them in a humourous way. They appear in almost all types of publications in Japan, from newspapers and graphic novels to gaming and manga magazines, including Manga Life, Manga House and Manga Time. All tolled, there are approximately 35 series, plus related games, contests and crosswords.

Mangaka Rakuten Kitazawa, who wrote under the name Yasuji Kitazawa, penned the first yonkoma comic strip—Jiji Manga— in 1902, having previously worked for Puck magazine cartoonist Frank Arthur Nankivell. He was also influenced by American cartoonist Frederick Burr Opper and, in 1905, Rakuten launched Tokyo Puck magazine, inspired by the American title. He is considered one of the founding fathers of manga, having trained many young illustrators and animators in his time. Rakuten was one of young Osamu Tezuka’s favourite mangaka.

In 1946, Machiko Hasegawa created Sazae-San, a famous story of a young woman by the same name. During its lengthy run, the series saw Sazae-San pass through many chapters in life—and shift from wearing Japanese to western clothing. During the post-war period, she is happy about every meal she aquires; then she worries about finding a husband; later still, she marries, has children and faces other common joys and tribulations. The series ended in 1974 but the TV anime, which began in 1969, is still on the air today. Collections of the strip are marketed as Japan’s best-loved comic for 50 years and nearly everyone in Japan is familiar with it.

Another popular series is called OL shinkaron by Akizuki Risu. This comic follows Japan’s corporate “office ladies,“ who typically have university degrees but do menial work and so dream of finding husbands instead. Hisaichi Ishii and Sensha Yohida are also popular yonkoma.

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Sep 12, 2014

The Origins Of Anime

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seawarrior2Some 900 years ago, Japanese artists were creating “moving pictures“ on scroll paintings that influenced ukiyo-e woodblock artists, mangaka and, ultimately, the nation’s first animators.

Long before the advent of film or cartoons, narrative picture scrolls frequently showed movement and action. The scrolls by Shigisan Engi Emaki from the mid 12th century offers an especially dynamic example: making use of simple lines, the scrolls show the buddhist priest Myoren set a magic pot flying through the air to transport rice up a mountain. Yet another 12th century example, the Bandainagon Ekotoba scrolls, show a famous shrine’s main gate in flames. The scene draws you in—almost as powerfully as film—thanks to the exaggerated expressions on the faces of some 100 people fleeing the scene and the motion within the picture from right to left.

majutsuBy the mid 18th century, Japanese artists found another way to add movement to their stories: They began telling narratives using images cut from paper. These early paper dolls—of animals, people and objects—were attached to a storyteller’s fingers or bamboo sticks and moved in front of a light source so that they cast shadows and danced. Ukiyo-e-artist Katsushika Hokusai—most famous for his woodblock print, The Great Wave off Kanagawa—also published 15 volumes of sketches during the Edo period. Many of his 4,000 sketches depict people and animals in motion. Suzume Odori-zu, or Dancing Sparrows, shows a series of images of a dancing man, much like individual frames from a flip book. Bureiko-zu, or Informal Party, and Yari no keiko-zu, or Spear Throwing Practice, also delineate human movement in fine detail.

The oldest known actual anime, a two minute clip showing a samurai testing his sword, dates from 1917. The first feature length anime, Divine Sea Warriors by Momotaro, premiered in 1944. By the 1960s, Osamu Tezuka helped to advance the field, adapting Disney animation techniques—much simplified so as to control costs and the number of frames needed. The hallmark large eyes so common in manga and animation came about largely as a result of Tezuka’s interest in such American cartoon characters as Betty Boop, Mickey Mouse and Bambi.

modernDuring the 1970s, Japanese manga and anime enjoyed a huge boost in popularity. By the 80s, it had begun to conquer international markets. According to Tow Ubukata, speaking at the Leipziger fair in September 2007, entertainment companies in Japan now make 80 billion euro a year from manga/anime conversions. Unlike most American and European cartoons, modern Japanese anime target audiences across a broad range of interests and ages. The majority of Japanese production companies are based in Tokyo, especially in the Suginami and Nerima quarters.

Among the most famous is Studio Ghibli, founded in 1985 and based in Tokyo’s Kichijoji quarter. Animes from Studio Ghibli often focus on character development; the protagonists typically undergo some process of self discovery. The subject matter extends from technological progress to environmental change. And there are rarely simple plots or happy endings. Studio Ghibli has produced a huge number of hits, including Princess Mononoke, My Neighbor Totoro and Chihiros Journey. They also have the distinction of having produced the first Academy Award-winning anime: Spirited Away won an Oscar for Best Animated Feature in 2002, a new milestone in the history of anime.

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Sep 11, 2014

Artist Of The Month: Chloe Citrine

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Interview with Chloe

chloeMangaka.co.uk: If you were an animal, you would be…

Chloe: …undoubtedly, a cat.

Mangaka.co.uk: If you were a superhero, what would be your special power?

Chloe: …Flying. Failing that, ninja jumping.

Mangaka.co.uk: I would like to be reincarnated as…

Chloe: myself! Then I could not make the mistakes I have made and redo all the fun stuff I have done~!

Mangaka.co.uk: What would you do on a perfect day?

Chloe: Ride my bike to the shops, buy lots of goodies, then spend the rest of the afternoon in a cute café talking with my nearest and dearest about comic goodness.

Mangaka.co.uk: What can you not live without?

Chloe: I cannot live without my dear little cat, Bunny.

Mangaka.co.uk: From where do you get your inspiration?

Chloe: Looking and aborbing. The more you have seen, the more you are able to draw!

Mangaka.co.uk: Why do you draw?

Chloe: I have to get my brain junk out somewhere.

Mangaka.co.uk: What’s the secret to improving?

Chloe: Asking others. It sometimes takes another person’s eye to be able to see what you need to work on.

Mangaka.co.uk: Where are you ten years from now?

Chloe: In a bigger house with a better computer, a bigger graphics tablet and loads of pets!

Mangaka.co.uk: What’s your favourite work/project/character of your own creation?

Chloe: It’s always hard to choose a favourite character or project of mine as I try to give them all the same amount of favouritism… at a push, I always seem to go for Mr Sherbet from my manga Rainbow Carousel.

tableMangaka.co.uk: Favourite work/project/character of someone else’s creation?

Chloe: I adore Eyeshield 21 by Riichiro Inagaki and illustrated by Yusuke Murata. I never thought I’d ever cite a sports manga as a favourite, let alone one about a sport such as American football, but this manga has really captured my heart with its underlying themes of believing in your friends and never losing sight of your dreams.

Mangaka.co.uk: Who is your favourite artist/mangaka?

Chloe: Takeshi Obata (of Death Note, Hikaru no Go and Bakuman) is a fantastic artist – all his characters and their actions, no matter how subtle, are always so well realised. And he can make relatively undynamic things, such as writing in a notepad and playing Go, seem full of action.

Mangaka.co.uk: What are your current projects/most recent successes?

Chloe: My most recently released work is the short story Death’s Apprentice, printed as part of the Sweatdrop anthology Drop Dead Monstrous. I’m also continuing work on Rainbow Carousel as well as drafting out plans for a few other future projects…

Mangaka.co.uk: Must-have drawing supplies?

Chloe: My drawing tablet! A lot of people find them difficult to use but I took to it immediately and now couldn’t live without it!

Mangaka.co.uk: Colour or black and white?

Chloe: If there can be colour, I’ll put it everywhere!

Mangaka.co.uk: CG or hand drawn?

Chloe: CG without a doubt. When drawing with pencil I get frustrated by the lack of an undo tool.

Mangaka.co.uk: What would be your dream project?

Chloe: To draw a huge epic sports manga and get it serialised!

Mangaka.co.uk: What are your favourite manga/anime?

Chloe: Despite my girly artwork, I adore shonen manga. I love Naruto, Bleach, Eyeshield 21, Bakuman and D. Grayman

Mangaka.co.uk: Any manga must-haves?

Chloe: Great characters. Fantastic artwork and a fantastic plot will be appreciated, but well-rounded, realistic, relatable characters are what make a manga loved.

rainbowMangaka.co.uk: Tell us about Rainbow Carousel at drunkduck.com!

Chloe: Rainbow Carousel started out as an idea for a Rising Stars of Manga competition entry. When I began rounding out the characters I liked them far too much to contain them within only 20 pages! After a few false starts I began posting my pages up on DrunkDuck.com and was astounded by the great community there. With their kind support as a platform, I applied to join Sweatdrop and have now done enough pages of RC for it to be released in book format! The story is an intertwined drama involving a large cast of characters and their interactions with the travelling alternative musical stage, the Rainbow Carousel.

Mangaka.co.uk: When did you first discover manga?

Chloe: I discovered the manga style through computer games when I was very young. I would copy illustrations from the game manuals and gaming magazines, as well as designing my own characters based on the games I liked best. At the age of twelve I discovered the nearby comic shop in Liverpool and thusly, any money I had was swiftly passed into their hands!

Mangaka.co.uk: What’s the most exciting thing on the UK manga scene at present?

Chloe: I’d say the creation of other small-press groups such as IndieManga making their mark on the scene and publishers such as Itch Studios coming along too. It’s great to see people actually getting their work out there in print and selling it at events and workshops! This is exactly how Sweatdrop grew up and it’s really exciting to see people breaking their way onto the UK small-press stage! It’s awesome to be at the beginning of these new developments in the UK manga scene!

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Sep 10, 2014