Spotlight

Action, Sci Fi and Drama! O Sarilho

Shizamura lives in Portugal, by the sea. She makes comics and talks to computers. She is the creator of O Sarilho.

Synopsis: O Sarilho is an action sci-fi story about future Romans who go on a mission to retrieve the remains of an ancient satellite, but end up finding something else…

A story about conflict, cooperation and facing the unknown.

Is your comic available in any other languages? If so, what language(s)?
Yes! My comic’s originally in portuguese, but I translate it to english.

Did you go to school for either art or writing? If so, what school?
No, not really. I studied computers-

What is the main genre of your comic? What appeals to you about that genre?
O Sarilho is an action sci-fi! While I love action, I’m much more enamorated with sci-fi. I really like the way it opens the door into new plausible societies and the what-ifs it can entail. What if time-travelling was possible and it was a tourist fad? What if there’s no longer a significant difference between human and their tools? What if a computer could reverse the heat death of the universe?

Are there any other genres that apply to your comic?
I usually describe O Sarilho as being an action sci-fi and I think that has something to do with just how much time I have spent drawing action scenes. But I’m super interested in the way characters react to their environments and evolve over time, so this story, at least to me, feels a little like a character study. I suppose I can fit that under Drama, no?

What was your inspiration for the story?
Direct influences to my work were The Gods Themselves, by Asimov, and The Clone Wars (the 3D animated one). As soon as I devoured those two things I was ready.

Do you have any favorite artists or writers who influenced your style?
I have read many, many sci-fi books. And I can’t deny that I have read a lot of manga when I was younger *waves at Goku*.

I’ve been deply moved by the underlying kindness that transpires in anything ever written by Carl Sagan. I remember reading the last few pages of Contact and being absolutely stunned at what sci-fi could be. Nothing could have prepared me for that joy. I am also a huge fan of Anne Lecke’s sci-fi stories, for she has such a good grasp on character voices and motivations, and creates very compelling worlds and cultures. And I’m always ready for imaginary cultures.

But for O Sarilho in particular, I’m gonna have to add that I watched and read everything ever related to A Space Odyssey about a million times and also at some point I binged 6 seasons of The Clone Wars and decided I really really had to draw some almost indistinguishable solders.

How long does it take you to complete one page?
Depending on the background complexity, it takes between 4 to 6 hours. I like to spend extra time painting the backgrounds because it’s a very pleasant task and I really like painting (especially if buildings). I get carried away a lot of times, but it’s only because I’m having so much fun.

What is your process like for creating comic pages from start to finish? What tools do you use?
I make one page at a time, although I try to keep scenes together and finish them as tightly as possible.

I do everything digitally and I work mostly with Paint Tool SAI. I use Photoshop only for some final color touches and for text.

For each page, I select what text (or lack of thereof) I want to show. Then I move into panelling, which is the most intense task ever, because it involves making a lot of decisions: I gotta think more or less about how I want show the characters, how I am gonna position the text, which panel should be the most important, and how they are supposed to be read. After that comes sketching, which also involves decision-making about perspectives and details. And from here on, it’s a breeze: inking, painting the backgrounds and then painting the characters. While those tasks take more time, they’re much easier to do and I can just engage into auto-mode while doing them.

Is your comic a finished work? If no, how long do you think you think it’s going to be when it’s complete? Is there a definitive ending or will you just keep going for as long as possible?
Oh, this is a long way from being done… I’d say we’re around one fourth of the way through.

How long did it take you to plan the comic before even beginning to physically create it?
A surprisingly short time, considering my past projects. If I remember correctly, my first sketches that could be remotely considered Sarilho-related are from 2015. Still, I did most of the groundwork on concepts, character arts, plot and worldbuilding in 2016, which is the year the comic was launched. So I’m gonna say it took me less than a year. But you must keep in mind that I still work on the story, worldbuilding and everything else constantly. I write the chapters as I need them, and I write the scenes as I need them. A lot can change within a year (which is usually how long it takes me to complete a chapter).

What was the biggest hurdle you faced during the course of making of your comic? If you could go back in time to the point where you just started making it and give yourself a pep talk, what would you say?
Hahaha! Tough one! I guess I’m gonna go with: hey, you can’t even believe how much easier this is gonna become over the years. And how much better you’re gonna get at it. You just need to keep going, everyday, and find that balance between challenging yourself with new things while also becoming an expert with the tools you have.

Things take time, and work takes work. But those are not bad things.

A lot of times this work will feel lonely and ungrateful, but keep your hopes up because there are many wonderful people out there for you to meet.

What is your favorite part about working on your comic?
Can I say two?
I really enjoy making it. I’m really happy when I am creating, in any stage of the process. Even when it’s frustrating.

And also all the wonderful people I met 🙂

What is the most difficult part about working on your comic? How do you overcome it?
Like I said before, it’s not so much that things are difficult, but more that they are laborious. Projects take a lot of time to get done. And spreading the word about your personal projects also takes time and effort. I am still not very good or comfortable at this, but I’m trying! It’s just another thing that needs to be worked.

Do you have a favorite character to write for? If so, why? Tell us more about them!
I don’t know if this is gonna be a surprise or not, but I had a blast writing Maurício, a character who shows up for two scenes in chapter 3. I had so much fun writing him because he has such a particular voice. I guess he’s gonna have to show up again!

Which character gives you the most difficulty to write for?
I decided that,from a point on, my main character would be a very, very closed person. That makes him very hard to write and I have to come up with ways to show what his thoughts or thought processes are, because he just isn’t going to bring them up.

Do you have a favorite character to draw?
I draw Nikita a lot, but my favourite one to draw is Fausta. I really like her face and hair.

Which character gives you the most difficulty to draw?
I remember saying I didn’t have any character that was particularly difficult to draw, and then I had to draw Shizuka in three consecutive pages and got proven wrong very fast.

Where can we find you?
My house is my comic’s site: https://www.sarilho.net/en/. I share comics and art, but I don’t write that much. I’m a lot more active on twitter, @shizamura! You can occasionally find me on Instagram, @shizamura as well.

Anything else you want the people to know about yourself or your comic?
This comic has been a lot of work, but also a source of great joys. I met a lot of great people! I still have a long way to go and a lot to learn, but it’s been a pleasant ride thus far

Have you read O Sarilho yet? Let us know what you think in the comments! Or, hey, go to the creator’s site and show some love ?

Want your webcomic to be featured here? Drop me a line!