Author and illustrator Ha Il-kwon (Naver Webtoon)
When asked about the famous line in the drama “The Sound of Magic” -- “Do you believe in magic?” -- the webtoon author and illustrator Ha Il-kwon replied with a brief answer: “I want to believe in magic.”
“I think the question, which is continuously repeated throughout the webtoon, was my personal question to the readers, asking if they still have childhood innocence and dreams in their hearts,” Ha said in an email interview with The Korea Herald.
Ha believed that the question posed by mysterious magician Ri-eul will determine how readers view the webtoon, whether as a stunning fantasy or a mere cartoon.
The word “dream,” the author said, holds immeasurable possibilities and resonates in many people’s hearts. That is why his previous works were mainly about dreams and hope, including “The Sound of Magic” (2010), “God of Bath” (2012) and “Sambong Barber Shop” (2012-13).
With its successful adaptation into a Netflix musical drama, Naver Webtoon’s “The Sound of Magic” has surprised both local and global readers with a unique storyline that is unlike the usual Netflix Korean drama offerings.
“I think many of my readers were interested in the monochrome style and limited use of colors. I have drawn ‘The Sound of Magic’ in this style to separate reality and fantasy, maximizing the effect of the scenes with magic,” Ha said.
An imaginary scene of teenage girl Yoon Ah-yi chasing money is presented in color in the webtoon “The Sound of Magic.” (Naver Webtoon)
The 42-year-old webtoon creator was satisfied with how his work was reproduced with amazing visual effects and the actors’ splendid performances.
“Since ‘The Sound of Magic’ was my first webtoon to be adapted into a drama series, it holds a great meaning for me. I think the audience had a lot of things to enjoy while watching the series as well,” he said.
Ha took inspiration for the webtoon from the globally renowned show “Cirque du Soleil.”
“I wanted to draw and create an imaginary world in reality after watching the show. Though the project at pre-production stage was all about the circus, I chose to deliver my message and stories with magic,” Ha said.
Ha was pleasantly surprised that many readers, especially international fans, were able to empathize with his story.
In response to the increasing popularity of webtoons in the showbiz industry, Ha said he hopes to show his gratitude with more entertaining works.
“I have been taking a break for two years after finishing my latest project ‘Sperman.’ I will be serializing another webtoon, if I am ready. But it’s difficult for me to say anything about my next work since nothing has been decided yet,” Ha said.
Ha’s “Duty After Work” (2013), one of his favorites, will be released as a Tving drama series, he revealed.
The original webtoon of “The Sound of Magic” is available in six different languages, including English, Thai, Spanish and French. Additional translations in Japanese, Indonesian and German are underway.
By Lee Si-jin (firstname.lastname@example.org