Interview with DarkSena creator of “Switched Lives” – All Ages of Geek Tapas Reviews
Hello, All Ages of Geek family! It’s time for another interview for our Tapas Creator Interview series. We have the pleasure of welcoming the highly-skilled and experienced artist, DarkSena, who has been crafting intricate illustrations since 2006. Join us as we delve into DarkSena’s artistic evolution, discuss their penchant for detail, and uncover the story behind their latest creation, the enthralling Boys Love comic, “Switched Lives.”
A note from DarkSena Creator of Boys Love “Switched Lives”
My name is DarkSena, I’m an artist active since 2006. My major are single highly aesthetic detailed illustrations. I classify myself as a detail-fetishist and most of my art is done traditionally. Since 2009 I published a few One Shots in books and anthologies. Since 2022 I started working on my first independent BL comic called “Switched Lives”.
What initially sparked your passion for creating comics, and how did that desire evolve into the work you produce today?
I grew up watching animes and this made me slip into mangas and I simply fell in love with how much details is possible to be done with ink and screentones only. I deviated from using the screentones in my own own, however I still enjoy monochromatic comics the most.
Can you walk us through your journey as a comic creator, starting from the moment you first decided to explore this medium?
The year was 2008, a friend of mine asked for help to do the screentones and shading for her DJ and I offered my help and ever since then I felt like creating short stories would be great so I kept taking part in various books. I never felt like I could devote myself to a longer project, however this changed last year and I came to a breaking point that I really desire to put a story which has been for a long time on my mind on the paper. So ever since then I devoted myself to this.
Your work touches on various themes and subjects. How do you choose which stories to tell, and what do you hope your readers take away from them?
Before I started creating my own stories I was an avid reader of BL. A thing which came up on my mind back then that so many stories were terribly shallow and were not able to create a realistic relationship. I enjoy adult slow-burn romance the most because if the reader can see the relationship evolving over time it makes them bond with the characters. That’s what I want my readers to take from a story.
What led you to choose Tapas as the platform for sharing your comics, and what aspects of the site do you find most appealing for your work?
A fellow creator friend was posting his comic on Tapas and I felt like it was a good choice for me. The system of posting, editing and scheduling is very simple and user friendly.
Tapas has its own unique features and community. Are there any aspects of the platform that you feel could be improved, or perhaps have been challenging to navigate?
I feel like many awesome authors who are starting new on Tapas run under the radar forever. I’d say this needs to get improved so not only the most popular titles get featured but also the small artists with small audience get more opportunities to shine.
In your opinion, what distinguishes independent comics from mainstream comics, and why do you think the indie scene is important for the overall comic industry?
In general it seems that mainstream comics seem to have the same style, same fonts, same way they’re presented. Independent artists tend to be much more unique in not only the way the comics look like but also the way they’re formatted and written. To me personally the independent artists make the comic scene much more vibrant.
As a comic creator, what are some unique storytelling techniques you’ve developed to set your work apart from others in the genre?
I wouldn’t call my storytelling as unique, it’s more my art style which can be called different and can be very easily recognized.
Apart from your comics, what other avenues do you explore to engage with your audience, such as social media, live events, or merchandise?
On social media I do use mostly DeviantART and Instagram to post my illustrations. I also do attend occasionally events which are related to manga/anime and comic pop-culture around Europe. It’s a nice experience to be able to meet people who follow your art and of course attract new faces who might enjoy what you are creating.
Creating comics can be both rewarding and challenging. Can you share some of the struggles you’ve faced along the way, and how you’ve overcome them?
The time might be tight, it’s basically a never-ending work which you really love, but at the same time it can get really stressful. As creators we do need feedback from the readers and support, of course. Any kind word towards your praising your work can be so spirit-lifting and keeps you motivated creating. As an artist we do work many hours a day and we tend to be very prone to burnouts. I do recommend taking daily walks in the nature and overall exercise helps a lot, not only physically but also mentally.
Are there any comic creators, artists, or writers who have been particularly influential or inspiring to you? How have they shaped your creative journey?
In my first steps I really adored CLAMP, they definitely were one of big influences and they made me love details and desire to be able to draw highly aesthetic drawings.
For aspiring comic creators, what are some practical tips and advice you would give to help them find their own voice and style?
Everything does evolve over time and everything needs it’s time. No one goes pro overnight so just keep practicing and drawing what they love and don’t let themselves by anybody. There are always going to be negative voices to tell you to stop doing creating so stay strong and do what you love!
Can you tell us about your creative process, from brainstorming ideas to the final execution of your comics? How do you stay motivated and consistent throughout?
Brainstorming is probably the hardest for me personally because it includes the idea and the paneling which is a pain to do. Once I brainstormed everything then the final execution is so much easier. I usually stay motivated because I’m eager to see the final page of the comic finished 🙂 It’s crucial for me to keep the quality consistent throughout the entire comic so I don’t mind giving the chapter extra hours to keep them nice and polished.
How do you balance the creative and business aspects of being an independent comic creator, such as promoting your work and managing finances?
Promoting your work is a problematic work for many. I do usually promote within my social media, sometimes I get opportunities of a shout-out from a colleague or some other sources. Right now I do finance my comic myself because I’m not in the position where I’m able to produce a good income. Part of the expenses can be definitely covered by selling the comic merchandise.
Funding creative projects can be challenging for many artists. What strategies have you employed to fund your comics, and are there any resources you’d recommend to other creators?
Right at the moment I have got enough finances to fund my comic because I didn’t pursue to live of my comic content. It’s really hard fund yourself if you have got no financial reserves at all. What a could recommend to other creators is to keep definitely a side job if you’re launching your comic, if you’re going to be successful then you can easily quit there and devote yourself only to the comic but it’s always good to have a plan B in life 🙂
How do you stay updated on the latest trends and developments in the comic industry, and how do you integrate this knowledge into your work?
I might me a little bit outdated trend-wise. I’ve never gone with the trends neither in my art or comic. I usually always go the way which my heart tells me.
In what ways do you believe the comic industry is evolving, and what opportunities do you see for independent creators in the future?
When I started drawing comics these were exclusively printed in books and now we got the comics in digital form. Webcomics seem to be kinda replacing a big chunk of classical books, but I guess it’s never gonna replace the physical copies. I’d like to see a future where independent creators get more time in the bright spotlight and get more recognition by the platform because also we are a big part of the platform and make it the way it is 🙂
Collaboration can be an essential part of the creative process. Have you worked with other creators or artists on projects, and if so, how have those experiences shaped your work?
Yes, as I mentioned before I did screentoning for fellow artist before, however I’m more a lone-wolf and prefer very much to work on my own.
What are some personal or professional goals you have for your comic career, and how do you plan to achieve them in the coming years?
My goal is to keep working on my comic and eventually finish drawing it and don’t drop it in the middle because of frustration. One of the things I really desire to the future is to publish in a physical copy another story of mine, but that might happen in a few more years from now.
As a creator, how do you measure success, and what achievements are you most proud of so far?
The biggest success for me to have dedicated readers who enjoy your story and always come back. I’m proud of the fact that I’m still actively every day working working on my comic even through all the burnouts I had during the process. I’m always giving my 101 percent.
https://tapas.io/series/switched_lives/info (link to the comic on Tapas)
We’ve had an extraordinary time today, discovering the world of DarkSena and their artistic prowess, as well as their BL comic, “Switched Lives.” A huge thank you to DarkSena for giving us a glimpse into their creative process, artistic philosophy, and the motivation driving their stunning artwork. To our All Ages of Geek family, don’t miss out on DarkSena’s visually striking creations and their “Switched Lives” comic on Tapas. Here at All Ages of Geek, we take pride in showcasing the wide array of talents and narratives that enrich the art and comic landscape. Stay geeky and curious, and I’ll see you all next time!
About Stec Studio, All Ages of Geek and “I Married a Monster on a Hill”
Stec Studio is a New Jersey-based company founded and run by by the Stec Sisters. We specialize in producing interactive comics and novels based on All Ages of Geek media, as well as creating a fully open world Boys Love Universe called BLU Media. This universe is being built from various media forms, including readable media, games, and animations.
Our main series, I Married a Monster on a Hill, is a WEBTOON that tells the story of a retired knight who falls in love with a half-monster. We are also developing an in-production visual novel called I Married a Monster on a Hill: Dates, along with an upcoming Wattpad Exclusive set in the same Universe. At Stec Studio, our goal is to create content that gives people hope and light, and we hope our stories can provide joy and entertainment to all who experience them.