Digital manga store MangaMon, together with Jurnal Otaku Indonesia, held an event called Creator Brand to spread inspirations from creators and actors of creative industry in Indonesia to people who are interested in participating in the industry.
In the event held on 10 December 2017, comic artist Sweta Kartika and cosplayer Clarissa Punipun shared their experiences and stories about how they started their journeys in their respective careers until they achieved success in Indonesian creative industry.
The Journey of a Comic Artist is Not Always Smooth
Sweta can be said to have been a lucky person when it comes to working in the creative industry, particularly as a comic artist. Sweta was born in a family that supports him to be a comic artist; possess the talent in drawing, and was also not held back by financial difficulties. Despite those advantages, though, his path in the career was not as smooth as one might expect. Sweta had experienced failures before, due to not anticipating some conditions in the system.
Back in middle school, Sweta won the first place in a comic contest held by a magazine named Hoplaa. The works of all the winners were to be featured in the magazine one-by-one, but but starting from the lowest-ranked winner, which meant Sweta’s comic would have been featured the last. Unfortunately, exactly one week before his comic was supposed to be featured, Hoplaa ceased its publication. Thus, Sweta’s work failed to get be publicised. He admitted that he was so disappointed by the incident and stopped creating comics, until he became a student in ITB (Bandung Institute of Technology), Bandung.
As a college student, Sweta again tried to participate in a comic competition. Alas, his efforts resulted in failure again due to his own negligence. The regulation of the competition demanded that submitted works must be consisted of 36 pages, plus one cover page that’s counted separately. However, Sweta created a comic titled Jump Street, which consisted of 36 pages including the cover page. His oversight of this small detail had made Jump Street doomed to fail since the selection stage. Even though, compared to the first winner of the competition, Sweta’s work would have been able to compete against it. Hence, it was already two times that Sweta failed because of some external conditions
Becoming a Comic Artist is Not Just About Creating Comics
Next, Sweta explained that another important thing in making comics is not only how to attract readers, but the comic artist also needs to understand about branding. Sweta illustrated that creating the comic is only 50% of the process. The next step is to make the work marketable so that it can reach the readers. When reaching that stage, it could be said that the process of has reached 100%.
About branding, Sweta explained the need to learn to create a personal image of the creator and the work to be made. For instance, if you want to create a comic with themed on gaming, then try to talk or discuss a lot about games in every social media to reach and gather readers that also enjoy games. It also builds a suitable market as intended to be the target of the produced work. Usually, mainstream topics are most likely to be noticed and gain interest and also have a wider market compared to works which only follow the creator’s idealism.
Then, we can also understand the importance of the creator’s personal branding, as this would be closely connected with the public or readers’ trust to the creator. It’s not impossible that readers would leave a comic artist who behaves badly in social media or even in the real world despite having great arts. Because of that, he suggested to avoid various kinds of conflicts or commonly known as “drama” in social media.
Standing as a Comic Artist
Last but not least, Sweta told how he “beaten” his lacks in the trade that he used to have through various means. Although he already had the skill to draw clearly by mastering drawing anatomy, he still used to have difficulties in looking for the appropriate market for his works. Because of that, he entered advertising business to study more about how to market a product. Aside from that, Sweta also became a novel illustrator and focused on improving his skills in drawing backgrounds which he admitted by that time he was not really good at.
In 2011, Sweta finally published his first professional comic titled The Dreamcatchers. It was his starting point in entering the Indonesian creative industry, which made him a comic artist as he is now.
There were several other things that Sweta discussed in the event, including about intellectual property which he mentioned a little, and will be explored in more detail in a separate interview.
Next page: Clarissa Punipun’s journey in cosplay