We interviewed Liam Gray and Mangaka Ody. Their passion for manga is inspirational!
This team posted a manga on ART street that is full of potential, and definitely worth checking. Liam Gray, a MediBang ambassador, is the writer/editor. Mangaka Ody is the artist. Let's find out how they create such amazing content!
How do they create a good co-work environment?
Liam: Ody and I met on ART Street while I was on the hunt for professional mangaka.
I hoped to produce a mecha series in the vein of Go Nagai’s Mazinkaiser, but I struggled finding anyone capable of handling it. This led me, quite by coincidence, to Ody.
Ody’s passion and drive is something I saw great value in. I knew, with the proper guidance and experience, I could help him achieve his dreams of becoming one of the best mangaka in the world. The rest is history.
Ody: I was looking for a writer at the time Liam contacted me. I’d been contacted before by other writers, but their ideas were cringey and bad.
Liam presented the most professional script I had ever seen. I really liked the backstory. That is when I knew Liam was passionate about his work and that he was someone I needed to collaborate with.
Liam: I am the writer, the editor, and the pretty one. My job was to come up with the concepts, characters, plot direction, and dialogue. In addition to making sure Ody does not work himself into an early grave, it falls to me to advertise and market our work.
If Ody is Ippo Makunouchi, I guess I'm a bit like Genji Kamogawa. For our younger audiences - if Ody’s Mob, I guess I'm the Reigen Arataka; that might be better comparison.
Ody: I'm the artist. I designed each character. At the start, we storyboard the whole thing. Then comes the inking. Due to the fast-approaching deadline, I had to improvise and work quickly because it was my responsibility to finish production. So, I did two or three pages each day.
Ody: Ah, shit. lol
Liam: Yes, Ody and I have disagreements. It’s pretty common when you work close together with someone every day.
But we're friends first, and we agree on the fundamentals. We never let our disagreements get in the way of getting things done. Some of our best ideas have come out of creative compromise!
Ody: A disagreement is sort of like an obstacle that makes you think; it forces you to come up with creative solutions that are better than your initial thoughts. A team without disagreements is a team that doesn't communicate.
Liam: Put your artist first. Communication and honesty are essential. These guys are our prize fighters; don't waste their talent on losing battles, half-baked projects, or demand efforts that put them at risk of injury.
The best results come from creative collaboration. Being a successful team leader means understanding the strengths and weaknesses of your artist. You need to know the toll it takes on them.
Always make sure they eat, sleep, and keep healthy. A happy workplace is a productive one.
Ody: Communication. Understanding that two brains is better than one, and that someone else’s input is important to listen to. When two unique imaginations are combined then great things happen!
Liam: It's not all that hard anymore.
At the start he was drawing so much he messed up his hand and ended up in a wrist brace. So we explored less physically intensive inking techniques; like those are often used in western comics. That was probably the hardest part but after a couple of days he mastered it. The kid really is a manga genius!
As for how often we talk, nearly all day. If Ody isn't listening to music we are typically chatting back and forth as we work. Lots of comic and manga artists struggle with loneliness and mental health problems due to the isolation of a hikikomori lifestyle. I've seen this over and over. I wanted to make sure the Conquest Studio is a fun and friendly place.
We're not just work partners—we are friends—and I think that is something key in having a happy and productive workplace.
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