Ravaging Times

August 25, 2010

Chen Mou Interview, post chapter 318 release

Filed under: Ravages of Time — Tags: — merc @ 1:11 pm

Release Date: ~August 20, 2010
Interviewer: Dexter

Q: Do you use any reference when designing the look of new characters?
A: Actually, for some characters I already know what they look like; it’s just a matter of drawing them. For some others I may be influenced by people I see in magazines.

Q: Are there characters or scenes that are the most difficult for you to draw?
A: Some characters are really annoying to draw, such as Ji Ling. When I’m drawing them I fantasize about how quickly I can get rid of them so as to lessen the workload. (laugh)

Q: The scenes where Cheng Pu overcomes Yu Ji‘s opium(-assisted) hypnosis are not shown in the book. Can you explain that for us?
A: Hypnosis actually does not affect really intelligent people. So it’s difficult for hypnosis to work on those at Cheng Pu’s level.

Q: Why introduce an original character like Yuan Fang in the ranks of Eight Geniuses?
A: When I first started to craft the story I wanted to place a really skilled person in Yuan Shao‘s camp. I never managed to find one, so I created the character Yuan Fang; it’s also for the Battle of Guandu that we’re seeing now.

Q: Then will there be a stage for Yuan Fang after the Battle of Guandu?
A: According to my current plans, the character Yuan Fang will disappear after the Battle of Guandu.

Q: San Chuan – claimed to be the strongest of the Handicapped Warriors – has disappeared since the assassination of Liu Chong. Will he appear again in the future?
A: Yes he will. He is Sima Yi‘s bodyguard. But he’s also difficult to draw, so he doesn’t show up much. (laugh)

Q: There’s no white in Pang Tong‘s right eye. Is that handicap in the character design?
A: Originally I wanted something in his design that’s scary to look at, not really thinking about whether he can see with his right eye or not. It’s just for an atmosphere.

Q: Are there characters or segments that had to be abandoned (or glossed over) due to your release schedule?
A: Many, actually. Every segment involves so many people, but it’s impossible to introduce them all because I have a story to tell.

Q: Are the black pages written after the chapters are collected into book format? Or were they already planned while the chapter is first released? And why did you use this visualization?
A: It’s half and half. Sometimes I already know the poem or mood to express on the black page(s) before starting a chapter. Sometimes for (relatively) less important segments I’ll add the words after they’re done. The point of the black pages is to give readers time to think (about what they’ve read) before going into the next chapter.

Q: If you really do reach the finale of Ravages, what’s the first thing you’re going to do?
A: Oh! By then I should already be hospitalized from the fatigue. (laugh)

Q: Is there some famous figure in Taiwan that you would like to talk to, or exchange ideas/experience with?
A: I really admire master Zheng Wen. I’m usually too busy to meet him when I’m in Taiwan for work, but we’re actually very good friends.

Q: Which military adviser are you most afraid to fight against in real life?
A: Fourth Genius Guo Jia, because he’s very decisive. That kind of people can do great things by making really hard decisions. Historically he has used many brilliant strategies, some of which have even surpassed the later ones. That’s why he is the most powerful of the Eight Geniuses.

Q: When you were in elementary school, what did you write down for your dream (job)?
A: My dream (job) used to be to work at an amusement park or oversee a library, because I felt it would be a fun job to be mostly only responsible for fixing machines.

Q: Are you used to working in a quiet environment? Or do you listen to music? What kind of music do you listen to?
A: When I’m really busy or in a tight spot (important point?) I’ll go to the conference room to think. In general I’m able to create regardless of music or chichat around me. I used to listen to heavy metal, but now I’ve started to listen to more relaxing music.

Q: If you’re cast away on a deserted island, what three things will you bring with you?
A: My survival skill is very low. [The three things] should be a gun, dagger, and poison to finish me off quickly. (laugh)

Q: How do you feel the Taiwan and Hong Kong readers are different from each other?
A: Readers from Taiwan seem to be more mature. They don’t ask me which general is stronger than which; their questions are about deeper subjects.

Q: Characters like Lü Bu, Sun Ce and Yuan Shu all asked about “Heaven’s Way” prior to their death. What is “Heaven’s Way” in your mind?
A: No one can actually reach that state of being. You have to witness it yourself. Everyone is looking for “Heaven’s Way”, but it’s impossible to find the correct answer.

Q: Do you have other stories planned aside from Ravages?
A: Whenever I have time I think about drawing stories like those in B movies; monsters, zombies, aliens, etc. I like them all. I’ll imagine the scenes in my head, but they must all be lame like in B movies; cars that don’t start, female lead in skimpy clothing, or have the military be behind the conspiracy, etc. Only that kind of formulaic segments feel right (fits his taste?).

Q: How has your view on the career of a manhua-artist changed before and after you made your switch?
A: The advertising job I had before was very demanding, so when I first changed career to become a manhua-artist the difference in workload freed me to stay at home to focus on the creation. When I decided to switch I told myself that at worst I’ll just return to advertising.

Q: What do you do for fun when you’re on actual vacation (no drawing)?
A: I used to play “Call of Duty” and got slaughtered online. Now I play with my one-year-old son, and be my wife’s slave!

Q: What do you think about the Three Kingdoms exhibit at the Historical Museum?
A: Nowadays I get a headache whenever someone mentions “Three Kingdoms”, (laugh) like I’m at work. Since the job itself allows for so much freedom, I have to force myself to face the subject of Three Kingdoms and my own work standard, which put even more pressure on me.

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