Webtoonist interview - Gajae <Miss. Guillotine>

임하빈 | 2019-12-13 12:44

Webtoonist Interview

vol. 16

[Miss. Guillotine]

Gajae | Lezhin

Today, we are interviewing author Gajae of the story based on an unique magical girl .

Hi Mr. Gajae, how are you? nice to meet you. 


1. Introduction & Debut


 Q. Please briefly introduce yourself.

A. Hello. My name is Gajae, known as the author of of Lezhin Comics. Other webtoon works include and .

Q. How were you like in school? ^^

A. I was a student who liked to see and draw pictures from an early age. I liked reading stories based on boy cartoon including and . I especially liked Togasi, so I liked , , , and also liked because I was interested in story based on magical girls as well. Ah! Come to think of it, they were a couple. ^^ In my case, my family didn't particularly oppose me. My parents wanted me to do what I liked to do. That's why I usually made a decision on my own. I went to Chungkang College of Cultural industries on the year of 2013 and currently on a leave absence.

Q. How did you make your debut?

A. I participated in the College Cartoon Competition and dropped out of the 16th round. I was coincidently contacted by Lezhin Comics and serialized the work I drew for College Cartoon Competition. After debuting in 2013, I started drawing in earnest. It was very difficult because it was my first time drawing continuously. My parents even suggested me to do other things. They are negative about doing works that I like. They are negative about doing work without having fun and work with pain. They ask me sometimes now and then.

 Q. Your parents are very worried. I can feel their love. ^^

A. I think it's good to be doing what I want to do. It's definitely fun.

Q. This is a question I always ask in Webtoon guide interviews. How did you create the penname as Gajae?

A. I like to draw characters. One day, I drew a character of myself and it looked like a crawfish (Gajae). I liked it after I finished drawing and thought I should use this character from now on. So my penname became Gajae.

Q. Gajae character is very cute. Gajae character on the congratulatory message for completion or resting is very cute. I heard this is the personification of Gajae. What does this mean? ^^ ;;

A. Yes, it is. The fin tail is connected on the head ~ I went around with a ponytail at the time, and it looked like a fin when I finished drawing a character. As I mentioned above, it's my favorite character.

Q. You received a congratulatory message for taking a break. I have never seen anything like this. How did you get it? Haha.

A. Ah! That? I actually asked around to the various artists. It was my first time taking a break and felt empty. And I always thought I wanted to receive a congratulatory message ever since I debuted. I contacted others thinking 'What would receiving congratulatory message feel like?’ with a vague expectation. I asked them, ‘I know this is impure, but can you send me a congratulatory message?' Fortunately, many artists were happy with it. I was happy. I really appreciate it. They are so kind.



Q. How did you plan the work, Miss. Guillotine? 

A. I was initially designing another 12 short episodes, but I was having a hard time because it wasn't working out. The story was not fun as I read over. I'm actually glad.. ^^ ... I had a dream that a magical girl was strangled to death. Miss. The scene of strangling on the window of the first episode in Miss. guillotine was real in my dream ~~ 

Q. Oh ... I think it’s because of stress. It’s no joke.

A. Since then, the story suddenly progressed fat. I wrote a draft of and I suggested it to Mr. Stego because I thought this might create a fun work if I collaborate it with him. Fortunately, he gladly accepted it. 

Q. Oh… Do you usually dream a lot?

A. I do have a lot of dreams. I especially have a lot of dreams of not being able to fly…

Q. It's amazing how artists can meet other artists and create genius works. How did you meet Mr. Stego?

A. I have known Stego before and was an assistant to my former works. I was in a hurry seeking a painter, so I asked him for a collaboration. He gladly accepted my offer. I'm still grateful for that.

Q. You are also known to draw well. The color of and the short episodes of were great. Did you have any chance to participate as an author?

A. Actually, I was going to go back to school when I was planning . I didn't have much time left when I tried to go back to school, but I didn't want to take a break from my work ... So I asked my colleague, Stego, who was helping me at the time. However, I've been more attracted to the profession of writing recently and seriously thinking of starting a career as a professional writer. 

Q. What has changed since you participated as a writer? What are the advantages and disadvantages?

A. First of all, the time to consider the work has changed a lot. If you work alone with painting, continuity, and the story, you either get distracted with only one work and cannot care much on either side. But now I can put more time on continuity and story. And most of all, I'm so happy that the continuity that I drew can out as a picture of other people (with the better quality!!!). And my desire to write stories grow bigger when I look at the artist's drawing style because they are highly inspirational to my imagination. I usually like to receive pictures and it's more rewarding to see the scenes through the hands of my favorite artists who make outputs with beautiful pictures. At first, it was a collaboration that started with time trouble, but I want to continue to collaborate with other artists. I don’t see any disadvantages since there are so many advantages currently.

Q. I'm curious how you are working together. What are the way of working, tools, and contact methods for collaboration?

A. I send the page format continuity first, and the artist works all the cuts on the page. Since Stego uses Clip Studio, I send continuity as a Clip Studio format. I open the received page file in Photoshop and re-edit it in scrolling format. It is easy to work in a scroll down since he works with large files. I used to mix Manga Studios, SAI, Photoshops, etc. but I usually use Clip Studio as the main program. We contact each other mainly through messenger.


Q. What kind of equipment do you use?

A. I am using a 22 inch Cintiq. But I've been feeling a little uncomfortable lately. When I draw on Cintiq, it creates a square shape around where the pen is because my hand is holding the pen. I'm seriously thinking about switching to Intuos lately.

Q. How do you coordinate opinions?

A. Stego gives me feedbacks when I send a continuity every time such as 'This episode is good', 'Why don’t you put ~ story if this happens?' Then I accept what I want to accept and give back what I want to comment on. About editing, I scroll down and give feedbacks and if there is a part I cannot change at all, I tell him right away. It seems like we take work very clerical, demanding and accepting. The first reader to see my picture is an artist, so I try to create content that an artist is satisfied with.


Q. 'Miss. Guillotine ’s color sense is very unusual. This color arrangement close to the primary or fluorescent colors reminds us of pop art, a representative art form of postmodernism. It seems like you did that with an intention. Were you intentionally drawing with a sense of pop art? 

A. Actually, there is a feeling of drawing intentionally from the beginning, but I chose the combination of "black and white + primary colors" because it is effective in completing the work in a short time. I sometimes painted only full color cuts in the very beginning but now I leave the part entirely to the artist. I used red on black and white in a work called and it was quite effective and efficient. I didn’t intentionally use a specific color in any work or trend. Maybe I can't remember. In my case, I try to use the color that suits the character or the situation. So I sometimes designate certain colors on continuity. Colors like hot pink, ultramarine and opera have been my favorite colors since childhood. ^^ I think I just like painting my favorite colors.

Q. How did you name the Miss. Guillotines? The naming sense is not bad. Is there a reason for 7 people? Is it symbolizing rainbow?

A. I always loved story based on transforming magical girl so much that I wanted to draw it for a long time. So at the time of planning , about 11 people were going to appear. But 11 people was too many and the scale of the comics became too big. We concluded with seven people designed until then. I once did a series in Best Challenge, and it was also the story based on magical girl.

Q. Oh? is that so? How long did that go?

A. I didn’t do long on Naver's Best Challenge. I made it to episode 14 and stopped the series.

Q. Why?

A. I had to go back to school ... ^^ Finally, I threw all of the attributes into the excitement of drawing a magical girl and put a lot of effort when setting the character.

 Q. You must have been happy ~

A. Yes ~ I felt good. I had to figure out the way of killing them while drawing and setting. I always first thought 'I wish the magical girl with this attribute should die like this,’ before starting to draw. Names were created based on their power. This was one of the happiest moments while working on . Even my younger brother said, 'You know, the one who has the attribute of water should fall into a barrel of oil and dies. What do you think? ' I thought that idea was great and actually used it. Haha.

 Q. What a cruel sibling ^^;;

A. But recently my brother came out on leave and told me, 'You used my idea. Shouldn't you pay me?’ I just laughed and told him to stop joking around.


Q. Guillotine is the main character and the character who undergoes the most dramatic changes. How do you prepare and make the details of the story to create Guillotine's state of mind and complete criminal composition?

A. I think the crime composition starts from the thought, 'I wish this magical girl should die like this'. I build my story from there on. Guillotine is directly or indirectly involved. The most important thing in Guillotine's state of mind is the possibility of forgiveness. Guillotine's anger and revenge will disappear of burn over time, depending on what the opponent has done. Early Guillotine is very fiery and merciless. And all the magical girls who were first hit were those who did something directly to Guillotine. I think the possibility of forgiveness is there for Guillotine. Could Guillotine's anger and revenge be disappeared? Therefore, present Guillotine is lukewarm. Guillotine haven’t found her answer yet. If Guillotine finds her true answer on forgiveness and revenge, she will again become merciless or merciful. And I write detailed stories when creating continuity. Shin, Kyung-hee was an extra character but I needed a character that gives a pressure to beauty as the story progressed. As I was writing, her character was too good to disappear. I created details of her little by little and changed the character. Therefore, Shin, Kyung-hee started to stand out and became the big part of the story. ^^

Q. What do you want students to feel when they see ?

A. The work is still ongoing, and I don't give an interpretation of my work. If you have seen and felt something, that would be the right answer. It's all in the eye of the viewer because everyone is different. I'm careful to tell you something heavy with my mouth.


3. Strange story of 11th Avenue


 Q. The character ‘Naejanggun (intestines soldier)’ appears in the Strange story of 11th Avenue. Intestines appear quite often and it was also shown often in the short story as well. It seems like you have a close attachment to the intestines. Are there any specific reasons? 

A. I liked it at the time. I can only say that. At that time, I enjoyed using the intestines as an aesthetic material, so it appeared in my work a lot. I liked using it as a cult humor element or as an aesthetic element.

Q. Do you like cruel things? Like the intestines?

A. Ah! No. I think it's okay except for the actual picture. The illustration is fine. I like works with cartoon materials like Junji Ito and Franken Fran. Stego is ok with real photos. I personally like the formative aesthetic of intestines. Isn't the pinkish color pretty?

 Q. That.. that’s a bit scary. Mr. Gajae.

A. I like works or things with a lot of cult feeling. These things are mainly used as humor elements. A person I knew previously urged (?) me to watch a knee surgery video and a jaw surgery video, but I couldn’t see it until the end. It’s hard for me to see cruel things in real photos. I just like the ones that are not realistic. I really like the stories of B-class movies and horror movies. I’m trying hard to see various realistic pictures nowadays.

Q. This seems like the parody that gradually transforms existing real and fictional characters in the same way as Poe being a woman, Assistant Watson, the vampire who loves Poe, and Count Mademoiselle Agatha Christie, the client. You can see the same variation in Miss. Guillotine. Is there a reason for this?

A. I added it because I thought I would be more attached to it. It doesn't mean much. I love mysterious humors that come out of the twist. I originally wanted to draw a gag cartoon.

Q. Where did you get the motive which had storyline of resetting memories and deleting them little by little over time?

A. I got it from Alphonse Daudet's I personaly like the last scene because it was very impressive.

 Q. What is about?

A. is a sad story about a person who eventually dies from using his brain for the ones he loves. Finally, the main character who was trying to buy the shoes which the lover who died in an accident wanted to buy with the last piece of gold on his nails was touching. 

Q. It's not a common work. I think you really like horror. Have you read them a lot?

A. Ah! I read a lot of horror short stories in middle school. I saw a lot of scary short stories at that time. I didn't see horror movies because they were real photos, but I saw a lot of horror fictions. I also search for many horror articles on the Internet.

Q. The unfortunate love story of the vampire, who repeats endlessly by giving up his own memory in order to keep Alexander Poe from dying, is the main skeleton. And I think the stories that witches and kings work for each other's love have been tangled up around them creates a very interesting composition. Who is your favorite character?

A. Agatha and Marie Rogêt. I liked it because I had fun drawing them. I like unusual shaped characters.

Q. You like repeated stories, don’t you?

A. Yes, these stories are called stories based on LOOP. I especially like stories based on LOOP. And I think I like the main character suffering.

  Q. Ah... I'm a bit scared --;; There are webtoons that re-use Agatha Christie's main character 'Detective Poirot,’ like Strange story of 11th Avenue. Have you seen ‘Detective Poe’ by Mr. Godongdong, the one we interviewed at Webtoon Guide?

A. No. 11th Avenue is from American artist Edgar Allan Poe, not Agatha Christie's Poirot!

Q. Are there additional episodes or devices you borrowed from Poe? 

A. I typically borrowed episodes of The Black Cat by Edgar Allan Poe. In addition, I mainly used the names of characters in the episodes. I got Marie Rogêt from , and many other things besides Poe. I have a dim memory because I used a lot from episodes. I also borrowed a lot of motifs from fairy tales and used them on other episodes. There’s no big reason, but if I thought I would be more fun to draw if I put a lot of things I like.

Q. I feel a lot of implications in the dialogue 'Ah Love Is Hard' in the last scene of their past episodes. I feel your intention, but it seems like it’s a bit of a grotesque love. What would be your definition of love?

A. I think it’s when you are doing something that you normally don’t do. I think it's hard because you are doing something you are not used to.

Q. Many people are waiting for Strange story of 11th Avenue. When are you going start again? In the previous review, you said as early as a year or 2 years at least. Since that was 2014, can we see the Strange story of 11th Avenue again this year? ^^

 A. I wanted to work Strange story of 11th Avenue Season 2 seriously after graduation, but I'm not sure because the graduation is getting late. I think I can start again by the end of next year. In fact, I was very satisfied with the ending of season 1 that I'm worried that some people will be disappointed when season 2 comes out. Of course, that’s why I'm thinking about it more.

Q. What are your special feelings about Strange story of 11th Avenue?

A. I really enjoyed this work because I drew a lot of my favorite things. I felt a lot of immaturity because it was my first work but I even like that immaturity. I sometimes read it from beginning to the end nonstop when I have early morning sentiments. I really thank this work for making my debut.


4. Instant Glass


Q. The pictures in Instant Glass seem to be colored for viewing 3D photos. Did you actually paint with that intention? Or did you use that color to express the colorful and intricate nuances of a teenage girl?

A. I didn't have any intentions at that time and drew according to my mood. I think it would be fun to draw with this technique. I also intended to draw certain way that fits with the content.

Q. It has a very high-quality degree of completion for a piece with your desire to create a collection of short horror stories. You said that it's fun to draw deformed beings. Do you have any particular type of attraction or representative character among the deformed beings? ^^

A. My favorite creature is Ballerina from , and a nurse character from . In the comic book, I like the heterogeneous beings that Riichi Ueshiba drew in . I like the basic form being human. It’s even better if it's in a feminine form. I love the monster character with a human base. Isn't human based creature creepier?

Q. Oh My ... Mr.Gajae. ^^ ;; The scene that expresses the inferiority in the Black Swan of art classroom looks very realistic. People who have drew could definitely feel the desperation. Have you ever thought that way? ^^

A. No... Black Swan in the art classroom expresses what I felt after watching . That’s why I put in the title. I might have thought about it in middle school unconsciously... I don’t think I have never noticed it.

Picture. The dialogue that was inspired from Black Swan. This got lots of attentions because it was horrible.

Q. How did you feel when there were many reactions saying that this dialogue was scary?

A. I was proud of myself because my purpose was to draw horror comics. I have wrote explanations on Ruliweb as a comment. I argued that I did not seriously draw that, and I draw gag comics!! Ha ha ha...

Q. Grotesque feeling in works such as Making Vegetable Juice, 100% Confession, and 120 Days of Sodom and Salo really stand out because of your unique story and color. Which one is your favorite piece in collection of short stories?

A. My favorites are Vanishing Twin and 100% Confession. I am working on another piece with the same name as Vanishing Twin because I was very satisfied with the work.

Q. It feels like you have a little unique sense of humor, especially in the work like 120 Days of Sodom and Salo. Where were you affected from?

A. I really liked Japanese writer, Daijiro Morohoshi and his Alive Neck of Shiori and Shimiko series. It was a grotesque comic but it was really funny. I think I was still thirsty for class B elements when I was drawing Salo Sodom.

Q. I was very impressed with the short story called Fantastic Migration Planning. It felt like a time paradox or a popular drama called Signal from tvN that just ended. How was it made?

A. I suddenly wanted to draw while sleeping so I turned on the computer in the early morning and started to draw. I didn't know it at the time, but I think I created this short story under Interstellar influence. Personally, I want to do works related to the universe. But I don’t think I have enough capacity to do it. The short stories on T-story are mostly drawn when I suddenly want to draw during sleep.

5. Ending


Q. Are there any beliefs of philosophy to your work? If any, what would they be?

A. Try to put your favorite things in the comic as much as possible. And have fun not torture while doing work.

Q. I heard you like Clichés. Like when it’s obvious later on but the next episode is unpredictable or something like Strange story of 11th Avenue. Have you ever thought about trying a traditional genre?

A. I love the traditional genre, but I think it's hard for me to make it attractive. I am satisfied with reading other people's works instead.

Q. Please say a word to people who want to be webtoon artists.

A. If you keep working, you will be able to fulfill your dream someday. I hope that the work that you started because you liked it does not torture you in the future. If the process of making your dreams makes you suffer then it's not a dream. Enjoy! I cheer for you! 

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