Friday, July 7, 2023

Author and Illustrator promotes new graphic novel series in Windham

By R.D. Frum

Graphic novel author and illustrator Seny may not exactly be famous yet, but she’s hoping to change that as more readers explore her graphic novel series which combines inspired storytelling with her passion for art. On Saturday, July 1, Seny met readers and discussed her graphic novels at a book-signing event at Sherman’s Maine Coast Book Shop in Windham.

Graphic novelist and illustrator Seny was at
Sherman's Maine Cost Book Shop in Windham
on Saturday, July 1 to promote 'Saigami
Volume 2,' a continuation of her fantasy
manga-inspired series. 
Born and raised in Hungary, Seny now lives in Maine. She was in Windham to promote Saigami Volume 2, a fantasy manga-inspired series that continues from where Saigami Volume One left off. The main characters are thrust into an action-packed turn of events where they must face challenges and endure a series of tests in order to be able to fit into a group with the Saigami people, who command the elements with varied powers.

“Manga and graphic novels have been a passion of mine ever since middle school.” Seny said. “I personally started doing comics and graphic novels because I started writing my own novels as a kid and I found that describing certain things was hard so I thought surely drawing them will be easier,” Seny says.

“This is somewhat true because I find that I really like drawing environments, expression, and all those things rather than just describing them but also, it's a lot more work and it's definitely more time consuming than writing.”

Saigami Volume One took Seny around six months to complete from the moment of the contract signing. Seny joined Saturday AM Publishing at the beginning of 2014 where the story was running in magazine issues biweekly. Seny said Saigami Volume One would’ve taken longer if she hadn’t completed 70 percent of the illustrations already.

Then there was a previous Saigami Volume One version that was self-published and then in 2020 Quarto Publishing gave the series a soft tribute and so it was recreated with name changes and several scene additions. Saigami Volume Two took about eight months to finish with multiple new scenes.

Seny’s inspiration came from wanting to draw something she would have loved to read herself in middle grade. “As I got older and a little bit more refined in taste and storytelling, I rebooted the whole story and while still trying to accommodate something that I wish my younger self could have read, but also making sure that it's a good enough story that can be pitched to publishers and it can be a good story for people to read,” Seny says.

However, writing and illustrating graphic novels does have its obstacles.

“I would say the most challenging part was trying to find a middle ground between what my publisher thought should be done with the story and what my vision is like with the story and the characters,” Seny said. “For me, as someone who was raised in a very conservative environment and later got out from that...I wanted to incorporate that in the story to focus on that and hopefully inspire young readers. My publisher had other ideas, focusing more on just the hype and the action aspects, so there’d be a little bit less depth. Apart from that, the rest is pretty much just an endurance game, because drawing all those pages is a lot of work.”

Seny said that there is not much of a scene for comics back in Hungary.

“I started to pitch for publishers, and I was lucky enough that I got my first publication at the age of 19 while I was there in university,” she said. “But that was also pretty much a reality check for me, that my home, Hungary, is so small that there's no way of making a living for comics there. So that's when I started to try and self-publish online on various platforms.”

Seny created a YouTube channel (@saigmaiproject) to teach others how to draw comics and other various things, and that’s how she was led to the publishing company Saturday AM.

Currently, Seny is focusing on promoting Saigami Volume 2, but she does have a couple ideas for future projects.

“My wife and I are actually working on a story together. It's set in Maine,” Seny says. “So we are very hopeful that can be a series we get to work on, even just as a single graphic novel.”

Seny is also working on adapting a novel series into graphic novel volumes.

“Apart from that, of course, if Sagami has more volumes that is something that would be great, but I also have another series that I would like to work on in the future, which is about women's volleyball, which is very close to me,” she said.

Saigami Volume 2 is now available at Sherman’s Maine Coast Book Shop in Windham. <

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