Get to know: Fred Tornager

JSM: Tell us a bit about yourself and what you’re currently doing?

Fred: I’m a manga artist who makes a living as an illustrator and colourist. Currently, I’m researching Norse mythology for my Saturday Brunch series, Gunhild. I’ve also got a danish graphic novel which I’m illustrating, and a pitch for a mini action-comedy series that I’m polishing. Follow my work on my Instagram; @fred_tornager.

JSM: What are your main inspirations and who are some artists you look up to?

Fred: When it comes to world-building, comedy and action I believe Eiichiro Oda is king, and while his world-building inspires my own, my comedic writing is more influenced by danish film director and comedy genius; Anders Thomas Jensen. With regards to action; I believe early Naruto has been my ideal since childhood.

JSM: How to get noticed by manga publishers when you're starting out?

Fred: Look out for when they’re searching for fresh meat. Competitions and events like Summer Of Manga are perfect to showcase your skills.

JSM: What do you consider the greatest contribution to your growth as an artist?

Fred: My peers from comic school, the competition I felt working alongside them, and witnessing their greatness, propelled my growth and maxed out my motivation to always do better.

JSM: Tell me about the most difficult project you’ve worked on and how you managed to finish it?

Fred: This summer, my first publication on the danish market came out; a graphic novel called, Min Nat Med Dig. I made the first half while on an internship, afterwards, I had to put it on pause, while I was working on my graduation comic. Picking it up half a year later was tough. Drawing the detailed environment, where the story took place, which was Copenhagen, was a hurdle, and colouring the darn thing was a nightmare, as I just hadn’t worked with colour enough, to get a sense for it. I managed to finish it with perseverance and a lot of good advice from my comic savvy colleagues.

JSM: In stressful situations, how do you find ways to persevere?

Fred: Planning’s always good. I’m not the best planner, but even just a general plan for which days I’m gonna do things will go a long way to assure me that I’ll be able to get it done.

JSM: Are you currently trying to learn any specific skill, and how do you go about learning it?

Fred: I want to create environments rich in detail and personality, and I want to develop my own colouring style. I try to be mindful whenever I work on backgrounds and when I colour I find colour palettes I enjoy and apply however I find most appealing while trying to keep the basics of colour theory in mind.

JSM: What’s been the most useful or educational resource you’ve made use of in your career?

Fred: Referencing reality, I take notice of the way things and people look and how they work and act. That sort of practice helps me create more interesting and believable characters and environments.

JSM: What is your dream project and can you tell us a little more about it?

Fred: I have lots. Gunhild is my most current one. For years I’ve wanted to make a shonen manga that took place in a world of Norse mythology, and just this year I created the general story. Now I’m working on it for Saturday Brunch and I’m way excited to tell this epic mythical story and develop its main character, Gunhild.