Interview- Lara Yokoshima

Lara ist eine mexikanische Zeichnerin, daher ist das Originalinterview in englisch geführt worden und anschließend wurde es von mir übersetzt. Da ich nicht sonderlich sicher in Übersetzungen bin, besteht die Möglichkeit hier auch das englische Original zu lesen.


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Nickname: Lara Yokoshima
Born in: Mexico
Birthdate: June 28, 1981
Influences: Sawauchi Sachiyo, Tetsuya Nomura.
Manga Idols: Shushushu Sakurai, Takehiko Inoue, Yasuhiro Nightow. 

Born and raised in the country named Mexico, Lara is trying to become a professional western yaoi mangaka; she has published a few works here and there, but expects to do full manga yaoi stories soon for the western culture.

"I started liking the anime style when I was about 12. I am a videogame fanatic, so that was also one of the main reasons I began emulating the Japanese comic style. My first encounter with yaoi was at the age of 17, and from that point, my love for the genre grew uncontrollably. My actual plans now are publishing yaoi stories for my fans and yaoi lovers in the western side of the world, to share and to teach the love for this amazing manga genre that is actually very misunderstood." 


Lara loves to draw, play videogames and of course, read yaoi in her free time. Some of her hobbies are collecting figurines, art books, yaoi manga and tuning her car when she's got the chance (and money)


The German readers don’t know you yet, so please tell something about you.
I am a Mexican woman, born and raised in the southeastern side of Mexico and proud of it. I love drawing as you might know since now I dedicate part of my free time to produce English yaoi manga, but I also have other hobbies like playing videogames, listening to music and collecting figurines and art books from my favorite anime and/or videogames. I also enjoy building small plastic model kits, and I am a complete car fanatic (my own car is my tuning project!).
Why are you drawing? What is the reason and how did you start?
It all began when I was very little and I was able to grab a pencil with my hand. I’ve been drawing since I can remember thanks to my parents encouraging me, and I enjoy illustrating what I like, not what people tell me to do.
At first I imitated drawing my favorite things, like cartoons or my dinosaur addiction. Then I had my first encounter with anime approximately at the age of 12, with Dragon Ball, Captain Tsubasa and Saint Seiya. In Mexico, they released all this anime before it reached the U.S. so many of us were able to enjoy it years before. I started copying Toriyama Akira’s style; later, the Final Fantasy games also served as inspiration, and little by little, I developed my own style which took me a lot of years to make it look like it is right now… and is my favorite so far.

Do you have idols and people you admire? What are your favorite comics?
I do have a lot of idols! My first one was Nomura Tetsuya-sensei, who is the character designer for most new Final Fantasy games. I loved Final Fantasy VII (it was actually the videogame that got me all addicted to yaoi) and so I tried to imitate the style. I also enjoy the realistic art of Takehiko Inoue, and of course, Yasuhiro Nightow for creating Trigun and Gungrave stories.
Later, when I started drawing yaoi, I discovered several yaoi artists, such as Sakurai Shushushu, Sawauchi Sachiyo and Honma Akira. Shushushu is my favorite yaoi artist, and I hope I can meet her someday and tell her how much I admire her (and make her autograph my Takarara Corporation issue :D). Wolfina is also one of my idols, she is the most amazing illustrator and I absolutely enjoy her Devil May Cry fanart. I also admire non-manga artists, like painter Yoshitaka Amano.
My favorite manga of all times is Trigun and Vagabond, but right now I am a Death Note fanatic like many. My favorite RPG videogame is Final Fantasy VII (still waiting for a remake), and also Devil May Cry (who doesn’t like a smart-mouthed, white haired, sexy demon slayer like Dante??); by the way, Sephiroth is the best villain ever in my opinion.

What artworks and genres do you like?
I like any piece of art that has a very special style; could be anything actually, but something in it has to impress me from the moment I see it. I very much enjoy art that has a bit of eroticism and sensuality in it, because that is what I try to portray also in my own art.
My favorite genres for anime, manga or videogames are action, adventure and also a bit of thrill and suspense; if I can slash the male characters in it, the better *laughs*. I also like dark themed stories, but not the ones with vampires, those are so overrated.
I also enjoy racing themed anime or videogames, I am a fan of the Initial D series and I love the Need for Speed saga as well.

What mangas and works have you published so far?
The first manga I ever published was actually in my own country, but due to many economic and communication issues, I ended my relations with that publisher. After that, I didn’t seek publishing my work immediately after… it was later, when I joined a yaoi gallery community that an editor from DramaQueen found me, and promised to publish my works. Finally, I started producing manga for DramaQueen’s magazine project, and it’s being published as we speak.

You are drawing a manga for Rush (Drama Queen). Why Yaoi? What’s so fascinating about this genre?
Many people ask me the same thing. Why yaoi? What is so interesting about it? I must say that the first thing that caught my attention was not the yaoi genre itself, but the bishonen, the amazingly gorgeous looking boys that appear in many anime and videogames. Girls enjoy good looking boys, and what’s better than that? Having two good looking boys sharing a relationship.
I believe that, apart from all the perversity in all of us, yaoi is a genre that attracts women living in a society where men have certain oppression towards them. Mexico is one of the countries that suffer from machismo, where women’s opinions are not taken seriously most of the time. Japan is even worse I believe, since Japanese men think women are just sexual objects more than intelligent beings. But that is something common in most societies ruled by men.
So yaoi is Japanese women’s alternative to escape that scenario, to believe that every man has still the ability to display feelings very similar to a woman. The fact that a young man shows affection towards another one is one of the purest ways to demonstrate that, because it doesn’t matter they are from the same sex, they are still able to have feelings for each other, and that is very attractive. Sum that up with the delicious eroticism of some manga, and you got an excellent quality yaoi story. Sure, there are many yaoi manga that are just made for the sake of sexual thirst, but even those have a little plot that excites you.

What are people saying, when looking at your drawings? Do you also have negative experiences, when showing it?
I really don’t get any negative feedback when showing my art to people, because I explain what I do and why I do it before showing it. Of course, I get a lot of questions after, but the people I have shown my art are smart human beings whom I trust. I choose the people I want to show my art, because I know not all are open-minded and willing to understand.
I have had bad experiences, not because of the kind of art I do, but mostly because of the negative feelings that people have towards me. Envy and stupidity are not good things to mix up, especially if they are directed to me; but I feel flattered in a way, because I know I make people mad because of my skills.

Are you interested in doing other mangas or illustrations beside Yaoi/ Shonen-Ai?
Of course! But for the moment I am just interested in doing yaoi/shonen-ai stories. I am working on a story that is nothing like the one I am doing for Rush right now; it is not graphic at all, and it even has a shojo feeling to it. Still, it’s got the shonen-ai factor and a bit of drama to it.
But I love shonen and sci-fi stories, with lots of technology and that kind of things, so I might do a futuristic story that has no boy’s love at all.

Are there other plans on comics and mangas you want to realize or are there still some projects you took part in?
I do have a lot of manga projects that I want to commence in the near future. I am anxious to draw one of my most precious stories, Project: Unigenitus, because that’s the one that made my name a bit known in the internet yaoi community. I am very fond of it, that’s why I am practicing with the manga I am doing right now so when I finally decide to work on it, it will look amazing. It must look amazing.
I got like 2 or 3 other projects in my mind; all of them are my own. I don’t want to do collaborations anymore since I have noticed at least 2 times that I can’t work with other people. It is difficult to work with another person, because everyone is an individual with his/her own ideas… and I am sometimes not very easy to deal with.
Rush is the only publishing project I am in right now, but if there is another proposal, I will see if I join or not depending on what they can offer. I would love it if someone created an English yaoi doujinshi anthology and invited several artists to draw their favorite anime/videogame series, not really expecting monetary reward, but just to do what we love and show it to the world.

How long does it take you to draw one page or an illustration?
Usually it takes 3-4 hours to finish one illustration or manga page. But it all depends in the complexity of it. Sometimes it takes me one or two days to finish one illustration. But when I am working fast with no interruptions, 3 to 4 hours is the time I need to finish one.

The American publisher is different from German ones? How do you work with them? 
Well, I don’t really know how European publishers work, but I can tell you that every publisher works differently. When I worked with the Mexican publisher, I hated it; even though I worked fast and delivered the comic before the deadline (they even were in a rush), they still were slow to reply to my emails and overall communicate with me. Thank god they paid me, because I insisted a lot, since I didn’t sign any contracts with them.
With DramaQueen is another story. We all get fair contracts, with the possibility to work for other publishers if we want to. The editor in chief is very kind and patient, not only with me, but with all the other artists as well. They enjoy what they do, which is also very important. We all love our jobs, so we try hard to meet the deadlines and deliver. They even adapt deadlines so we can all work peacefully and don’t over stress ourselves.

I am very happy to be working with them, and so far I got no complains. I feel very comfortable working with DramaQueen, and they give me a lot of freedom when developing my story.

Could you describe a usual way from the scribble to the finished page?
The process I follow is mostly the same as any mangaka from Japan. 
After meditating a lot on a story, I first work on a rough script, which my editor revises and corrects; when it’s approved, I write more detailed scripts that I use as a guidelines when I start sketching the pages, which also the editor checks before I do anything permanent. Sometimes my editor suggests changes on a few panels, or even an entire page. It is important that the artist is very open to the editor’s input, since many of us got our little ego; the artist must be able to accept the criticism in a good way, because who knows… it might help you even get better without you knowing!
When it’s all good to go, I digitally ink the rough pages directly on my computer using a wacom tablet. I use special programs to do so, that make the lines look just like traditional inks. Later, I apply digital screen tones with another program and add final touches to it. The editor usually applies the text based on my script, and adapts the pages for printing.

What are you doing in your free time?
If I am not drawing, I just like to chat with my friends while browsing the internet. If I have a new videogame, I play it in my free time. Sometimes I have new manga to read, or I just go out have a little ride on my car to relax. I go to the movies with my friends on the weekends, or just hang out and have a good time. I am not a sleeping person, so I must keep my mind busy if I don’t want to bore myself to death.

Do you only draw, or are there other things you love to do for example writing?
The only writing I do is when I have to script my stories nowadays. I did a lot of writing before, that’s why in my Aphrodisiac website I got some novels, most of them unfinished. “The Twins” is the only novel I actually finished, and you can read its 19 chapters in my website.
Apart from drawing, I enjoy building scale models from planes. I like the challenge of it, since some of the pieces are tiny and you need a lot of patience and skills to finish one and make it look good. I got a lot of models waiting in my closet to be build though, because they take a lot of time and concentration, and I got more important stuff to finish (like my manga).

What are your plans for the future?
For the near future, I would like to finish “Master!” and start with my new story, which goes by the name of “Awakening”. I already proposed it to my editor and she agreed on publishing as well, so I will be publishing two stories in Rush magazine.
I would also like to go to the next YaoiCon held in San Francisco and meet new people; also, buy a lot of merchandise *laughs*.
In a long time, I would like to publish more manga not only in North America, but more internationally; exporting my stories to Central and South America, Europe and even Japan would be certainly a challenge, but I am sure it can be done.
I want to do a lot of traveling as well. Visit a lot of countries, and perhaps get inspiration for new stories. And I would definitely go visit Japan, the country that exported all the ideology and comics that made me start my own stories! I must go check it out.

Would you like to say something to the German readers?
Please buy my stories! Support me! *laughs*
Ok, but seriously, I would really, really love it if you could check my published works, even though they are in English right now, but you can buy them online from DramaQueen’s site. In Rush magazine, there is plenty of talent for you to enjoy as well, I am sure it will not disappoint you. Also, please visit my website for more art of mine, and if you like what you see, don’t forget to write me! I love reading fan e-mails.



I hope this interview gets you more interested in what I am doing as an artist, and what is being done in America to publish original manga; and I can tell you for sure… dreams do come true!


Thank you very much for this interesting interview and the best wishes for the future!


Die im Zusammenhang mit diesem Artikel verwendeten Bilder und Coverscans unterliegen dem Copyright von Lara Yokoshima.


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