Mangaka Spotlight: Lizbeth Jimenez

(Just to note, this is an older piece, but every word still rings true. Please, check out Sacred: the Manga and support this talented mangaka!)

Mejic. Demerians. A mystical world tucked away just beyond our eyes. Welcome to Grandome, home to Lord Cecero Alumrion and his spirited (and often mischievous) assortment of friends. Grandome is a unique world, teeming with secrets and populated with a host of fascinating characters, and today, I have the pleasure of introducing you to the brilliant artistic mind behind its creation, Lizbeth Jimenez. Although the following interview was conducted via the internet, I had the honor of meeting Lizbeth in person in the Artist Alley during Zekaicon 2011. She is a kind, passionate, and talented young woman who shows a true appreciation for her fans and a genuine love of her craft. So, please, pull up a seat, grab a cup of tea, and take this very special opportunity to get to know more about Lizbeth and her ongoing manga series, Sacred.

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How long have you been drawing?

According to my mother, I’ve been drawing since before I learned to walk! But I can clearly remember always being the “artist of the class” and being asked to paint the backdrops for our plays. I’ve always spent hours designing characters and creating elaborate worlds for them. LOL

When did you decide that this was the career that you wanted to pursue?

Visual art and writing have always been my passion and great joy, so it was only natural that I would want to make art my career. And when I discovered manga…OMG…I discovered an entirely new and beautiful way of combining the two art forms I love: drawing and writing!

Are there any specific mangaka that helped inspire you to follow this path?

In the beginning, Akira Toriyama (mangaka behind the “Dragon Ball” series) was my inspiration for becoming a mangaka. His detailed, beautiful panel work and battle scenes were breathtaking to me! But as I got older, I began to gravitate towards mangaka who created darker, more psychological stories, like Takaya Miou and most of all, the great Asumiko Nakamura!

With Sacred, you have created a fascinating world of mejic and mayhem. Where did you find the inspiration to bring Grandome and its residents to life?

My CRAZY, beautiful family and friends! LOL They totally inspired me to create a cast of people who are super close and out of their minds! LOL I grew up surrounded by stories from my family’s homeland, and our spirituality and respect (and sometimes fear) for the occult definitely inspired Sacred. And once I learned about the folklore of other countries and found similarities…it got me thinking “what if there really is some truth to all of this?”

What do you like to do when you’re not working with Cecero and his companions? Or maybe I should ask if there is ever a time when you’re not working. You seem to be a very busy lady.

My…it’s so hard to answer because when I’m working on Sacred, it’s always for fun! I dedicate hours to it because I love doing it, so it never quite feels like work! But when I’m not working on it, I’m reading a boatload of manga, painting, writing music, spending time with my fiancé and family, and being an overall goofball with them XD LOL

How do you overcome the rough patches, when you’re feeling overwhelmed or motivation is lacking? (Aka … Do you have a special trick for overcoming art/writer’s block? lol)

Honestly, right now many of my loved ones are very ill and it becomes close to impossible to work because I’m so worried and stressed. But prayer, spending time with family, music, and sharing Sacred at anime conventions are the things I turn to for inspiration and peace of mind. They remind me to keep moving forward.

But in terms of overcoming writer’s block, I’ve never experienced it because I’ve never stop exposing myself to new things; I’m always looking at artwork, I’m always learning about other cultures, and I watch documentaries etc. An artist must always expose themselves to new material in order to keep creating!

(This is valuable insight here, future artists/writers. Take note. ^_^)

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How does it feel to see Sacred in print and have people out there who have fallen in love with your story and characters?

My goodness…it’s a feeling that human language has yet to create a word for! LOL To think that so many people worldwide are supporting a series that I’ve created using every ounce of love I have to offer … to know that a story I created almost 12 years ago is being appreciated … it’s both exciting and humbling. It’s very fulfilling and makes me feel like I’m doing exactly what I was born to do. My readers are so kind and loving, and I try to show them just how much their support means to me.

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Your characters are so much fun (I have a soft spot for Hea. Joseph and Skylar.); if you could spend a day hanging out with just one of them, who would you choose?

OMG Thank you for loving those two! They both have such a special place in my heart! But if I had to choose one person to spend the day with, I’d have to say Cecero. He’s gentle, artistic, and (please forgive me!!) totally my type. LOL I’m pretty sure that most people who write stories have little crushes on one or more of their characters. XD

(So, I’m not the only one? Yay! Lol Any other writers want to put in their two cents on the matter?)

Do you have a favorite manga/anime series?

Of COURSE!! Favorite anime would have to be Ouran Host Club, Attack on Titans, FREE! Iwatobi Swim Club, and Utena. Favorite manga would be J no Subete, Copernicus no Koyuu, and the Doukyuusei series by Asumiko Nakamura, Shitsuren Chocolatier and The Cornered Mouse Dreams of Cheese series by Setona Mizushiro, and finally, Ouran Host Club by Bisco Hatori. (Yes! It’s THAT good that it made two lists. LOL)

If you could be transported into the world of any book, movie, manga, anime, or video game (have to cover all the bases), which one would you choose?

 Holy crap!! LOL Honestly, my favorite stories have some pretty busted worlds! (I.e The Walking Dead! LOL ) I don’t think I’d wanna be a part of any of their worlds … except for the Ouran Host Club world because it’s SAFE, and doesn’t have zombies or any form of dark, twisted plot lines! XD

(Her answer reminded me: You are now in the world of the last anime you watched, which one is it… Of course, I saw this on Facebook right after watching Shingeki no Kyojin. >.<)

What do you think is the best advice for everyone out there who dreams of sharing their own stories with the world one day?

 JUST DO IT! 😀 If you have a story to tell, be brave and share it. We, as artists, had the urge to share our work but so few of us actually do. There is a niche for everyone in this world, we just need to find it 🙂

(More great advice! Keep taking those notes. ^_^)

Finally, what is your vision for the future of Sacred?

Lizbeth: If the good Spirit permits it, I pray that people of the world will continue to support my beloved story; maybe my story will one day inspire others to become authors, maybe one day I’ll learn that a manga I adore was written by one of my readers, and then I can say “I actually gave back to the world!” And I have a secret dream of seeing my characters moving on a tv screen. XD I’ve ALWAYS dreamed of composing the music for Sacred’s anime (please don’t think I’m weird! LOL).

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Speaking as someone who has read the first four volumes of Sacred, (Twice, which is something I rarely do with any series. Hint hint, Readers. ^_^) I will happily second Lizbeth’s desire to see Cecero, Sheko, Skylar, and all of the denizens of Grandome come alive on the screen. The visual beauty of the artwork and lively story in this manga series would, in my humble opinion, translate well to anime. Sacred utilizes an enticing mixture of comedy, action, drama, and maturity that keeps readers engaged from cover to cover.

It is my highest recommendation that everyone makes it a point to stop by http://sacredthemanga.com, where you can learn more about the series, watch the Sacred television commercial, and read the first 38(!) pages of volume one. (There is also a 12 page preview for the upcoming volume four.) After that, you can visit the shop and order your very own copies of volumes 1-3, along with some of the merchandise featuring Lizbeth’s breathtaking artwork. (Personally, I have a poster and two buttons … so far.)

Lizbeth Jimenez is truly an example of the incredible things that can be done with dedication, hard work, and passion, so we in the anime community should make it a point to show her our support. Visit http://sacredthemanga.com today and experience the mejic of Sacred for yourself.

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