The illustrator from Singapore, Rachta Lin he had what anyone would consider a successful career. She was an art director in a multinational company and worked with high profile clients such as UOB, air Y Toyota. But ever since he was young, he only wanted to do one thing: be a manga artist.
Rachta, a big fan of anime and manga, always enjoyed drawing her favorite characters. But because of the need to be practical she went to work in a company. Finally, in 2015, Rachta took the leap and quit her job to become a full-time illustrator. His art has earned him a legion of fans and commissions from various companies including DC Comics and Blizzard.
Seven years later, after honing her skills with a well-known Japanese manga publisher and submitting her work to various competitions, Rachta has achieved her dream of publishing her own manga series. The centre MSNews sat down with Rachta to find out why she decided to leave her job at the company, how she makes a living from art, and how she ended up publishing an entire manga series in English.
«Like many artists, Rachta, now in her 30s, discovered her love for drawing when she was very young. It was while watching anime on TV, specifically the magical girl series “Himitsu no Akko-chan” (Secrets of Akko-chan)”, that her love for drawing was awakened. As a fan of anime and manga, Rachta’s childhood favorite was “Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon”, “Cardcaptor Sakura”, “Mobile Suit Gundam” and “Slam Dunk”, among others.».
«Her love for anime led her to dream of becoming a manga artist, how impractical it seemed to someone who didn’t even live in Japan and didn’t speak the language. Surprisingly, however, her father supported her from the start. “In some ways, she’s always been very supportive of me,” she said, considering herself lucky. Despite everything, people told him: “You are not in Japan, what are you going to do here? How are you going to draw manga and make money?” The comments bothered her and she decided on a more practical career path.».
«Although she graduated from college with a degree in visual arts, she began working in corporate graphic design and rose to become an art director. Despite being traditionally successful and “very happy,” Rachta always had the feeling that something was wrong. “I remember sitting down and thinking: If I only had one year left to live, what would I do?” His answer was obvious: he would quit his job and pull for the remaining year, just to see how far he could go. With that, he found out that this was what he really was. After years of putting her dreams aside for practical reasons, she was finally ready to face her life’s goal of becoming an artist, even if it meant losing the stability her business career had given her.».
«Although things were scary at first, she had a supportive manager who encouraged her to attend conventions to express herself, as he was familiar with the convention and events industry. Since he was handling all the logistics, Rachta was able to focus on one drawing despite his worries and anxieties. “Will people like my art? Will I be able to feed myself? How much sacrifice would I have to make to follow my heart? At these conventions she was able to sell and even give away works of art, earning her a loyal fan base over the years, many of whom would travel miles to meet her.».
«Meanwhile, he also attends to customer requests, with Blizzard, Wizards of the Coast – which publishes Magic: The Gathering, a card game that Rachta plays enthusiastically – and DC Comics as customers over the years. Since his first event, he has participated in more than 70 exhibitions worldwide, touring the United States, Canada, Japan, South Korea and Singapore. In the seven years since she took the leap of faith, she hasn’t looked back, and can now proudly say that she now earns more than she did before she left her last job.».
«But when the COVID-19 pandemic hit and lockdowns hit in April 2020, it was an uncertain time for Rachta, as much of her travel was restricted and conventions were cancelled. Fortunately, before the lockdowns began, there was one place he could visit in March: Japan. And this time he wasn’t going to attend a conference, but instead he was going to meet a manga editor from Shueisha, the publishing giant behind big hits like “One Piece,” “Naruto,” and “Kimetsu or Yaiba.”».
«Despite the language barrier, the editor was happy and willing to work with Rachta, and they kept in touch afterwards. This was a huge milestone, as the manga industry in Japan is extremely competitive, and it’s not every day that a publisher agrees to stay in touch. And shortly after he returned from Japan, every country, including Singapore, went into lockdown. Now she had to think about how she could earn money without traveling to conventions. But, through her representative, her loyal fans, who had hoped to meet her at the now-cancelled conventions, contacted her and asked for commissions, which she is still grateful for.».
«The months of the pandemic also served to reflect and, finally, he did what he had been putting off for years: creating his own manga. Since she was young, Rachta always had a notebook full of story ideas. But as someone who “can’t do more than one thing at a time”, he was never able to limit himself to writing and drawing manga while working. Finally, without all the traveling he usually does, he was able to sit down and really work on his craft, now with the help of a respected manga publisher in Japan.».
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