Interview with CG Cornett: The Woman Behind the Words.
I've interviewed anime voice actors, manga artists in the industry but never a letterer. I would like to introduce Coco Cornett, the woman behind such novels as Moon & Blood Volume: 1 by Nao Yazawa, Hide and Seek by Reibun Ike, Nine to Five Bride by Rin Natsumi and The River's Current by Jun Kajimoto. As Coco has been in the industry for a mere five years, she has accomplished a great deal during her working life and has a portfolio of work that will impress readers. Lets see what the manga and lettering industry is all about, shall we...
SandraReviewer: What got you into the freelance lettering industry?
Coco: Ironically, I came across an ad banner that was advertising Digital Manga Guild on some anime site or Google search. When I saw I thought, "I've been lettering my doujinshi collection for Photoshop practice. I wonder if I could letter manga and get paid doing it." Plus I'm also that reader who edits her paperback collection as she reads.
SandraReviewer: What do you actually do, what is the process. Could you take us through how you letter a manga?
Coco: It can be a long process. The longest I've worked on lettering 1 page was 11 hours and 14 hours to letter a 2-page Character Introduction/Story So Far spread. As for the steps I go through: (I use Photoshop Actions to make a LOT of the steps shorter)
1. Convert all image files to PSDs
2. Change PSDs Color Mode to Grayscale
3. Clean out Japanese text/SFX/aside lettering
4. Redraw/clone background where JP text/SFX/aside lettering
5. Add in translated script
6. Format English text to their appropriate font style
7. Proofread and make changes like, shorten a line if the bubble is REALLY small
8. Finalize and export
SandraReviewer: Go through a typical day for you while at work?
Coco: Haha... which work?! Seriously, a typical day of work for me is going to my main job, come home and eat dinner, and then letter for a couple hours before bed. When lettering, I do most of the work on weekends since I can letter a good 12-14 hours Saturday/Sunday.
SandraReviewer: What kind of jobs did you do before becoming a freelance manga letterer?
Coco: I'm kind of a Jane of all trades.
McLane Company intern for their server team and then their graphic design team; intern programmer for a startup IT company; Substitute teacher; vendor; and online course technologist. Of course, I'm still an online course technologist and vendor.
SandraReviewer: What for you has been the most rewarding aspect of the job?
Coco: I get to work on manga that I never thought would see the light of day in English. Some of the titles I've worked on, I grew to love in the end. *cough* Aria *cough*
SandraReviewer: Do you spend time reading manga you haven’t lettered for. Tell me which series or standalone novel touched you in a special way?
Coco: Of course. I read a LOT! One that touched me in a special way... I can't just list one and ironically they're mostly shojo!
1. Skip Beat! Kyoko's story is very relatable and lovable for any woman/young woman. She goes through the trials of life through her experiences in the entertainment industry. I've re-read what's available at least 3 times.
2. I'd say Hana-kimi next. Mostly because Mizuki is a girl attending and living at a boys only high school.
3. Can I choose a creative team of creators? Guilt|Pleasure! As an adult I came across In These Words and then I wanted more. Out of all their works, I haven't read one yet that I didn't enjoy, but I do adore the Katsuya/David prequels.
4. Red River/Anatolia Story. I wish more of Chie Shinohara's titles would get picked up in English, but I think they're considered too risky because of their age. Yuri's travels through Ancient Middle East/Egypt is such a joy to read and re-read. I love history and especially adore the setting of Red River.
SandraReviewer: I have noticed on your site that you have lettered for Harlequin and DMG and done your fair share of yaoi – do you wish you lettered more yaoi titles (for obvious reasons) J ?
Coco: TOTALLY! I did work on 2 BL titles this year and they were such sweet, fluffy stories. It was a nice change of pace from all the Harlequin I'd been working on.
SandraReviewer: What kind of experiences had you have with the public and the media. Do you get praise and asked for advice similar to manga artists?
Coco: Surprisingly, I have been asked for advice a few times, which was why I created my panel & workshop I present at local conventions (mostly at AnimeFest). Last year at AnimeFest, I actually was praised by some of the voice actor guests I got to chat with during their autograph sessions and I even passed out business cards. I was internally fangirling over the experience.
SandraReviewer: What do you do when you aren't working?
Coco: LOL. Vegetate. Seriously, I catch up on TV shows, Anime, manga, comics, and books; play video games, be a couch potato, or do work around the house.
SandraReviewer: Lastly, what book are you reading at the moment?
Coco: I've kinda been on a German manga binge, so I'm right now reading Die rothaarige Schneeprinzessin (Snow White with the Red Hair) by Sorata Akizuki. I only have volumes 1-2, but Tokyopop Germany's released up to volume 14 with 15 coming out in August. I adore this series and hope it gets an English license especially after the success of the anime.
Titles Coco has lettered:
Conventions Coco is attending:
Titles lettered by CG Cornett:
Moon & Blood Vol:1 by Nao Yazawa
Crimson Scroll: A Strange Tale of Old Kyoto Vol.1 by Kaori Touma
Good Enough For Me by Eri Kougami
Hide and Seek by Reibun Ike
The River's Current by Jun Kajimoto
Where it Rains by Fuuri Misasagi
The Royal Wedding Night by Junko Murata
Nine to Five Bride by Rin Natsumi
The Perfect Lover by Rin Ogata
Mistletoe Over Manhattan by Natsue Ogoshi