Interview and Organization by Ichibo Harada @HEW
This may seem sudden, but why exactly is it that you draw?
Drawing isn't all fun and games. Sometimes you feel like you're not improving at all no matter how much you try, and if you look on social networking sites, there are many amateur artists with really impressive talent... Many people probably find themselves struggling with thoughts like "Why do I feel this down, when I'm doing what I love?"
COMP Inc., a company that develops and sells perfectly nutritionally balanced foods, is collaborating with the company that runs the illustration communication service pixiv, on a campaign to support illustrators.
A system for sponsoring illustrators and their work
──Today I'll be interviewing Suzuki, the founder of COMP, and Furukawa from pixiv. First, could you please tell me about the goal of this campaign?
Until this point, pixiv has focused exclusively on providing a platform for artists to share their work, so there haven't been many instances where we've been able to actually reach out to them and commission illustrations. Through this campaign, we'd also like to encourage artists whose illustration style is outside of the mainstream to join pixiv, which is why we felt that in addition to improving the commendation feature, it was also necessary to create other chances for the artists.
── So there are opportunities for a wide variety of artists?
── Suzuki, have you always been interested in illustrated artwork?
── That sounds like the choice of a true manga fan!
Suzuki: I was especially surprised to see Satchel, who did the character design for DDLC, (abbreviation for the visual novel "Doki Doki Literature Club") on the list. I really loved DDLC... (laughs)
COMP is a line of food products that support people's dreams
── What kinds of products are a part of COMP's "total balance nutritious food" line? It's a little unexpected for a company that produces food products to be sponsoring illustrators...
── Two categories?
Furukawa: Suzuki, didn't you say you once got so focused on an experiment you were working on that you passed out?
Suzuki: Yes! (laughs) I guess you could say that I'm also one of those people who loses themselves completely in their work and hobbies. Before founding this company, I was an organic chemistry researcher, and I was completely obsessed with my work. I find science absolutely fascinating. Isn't it insane to think that we have the power to manipulate particles too small to see with the naked eye and rearrange them however we want?! (Goes off on a rant...)
── Suzuki's passion has kicked into max force...!
── COMP must be a pretty impressive company, if it was founded by a person with that much drive...!
── In the past, COMP has done a lot to support people's dreams, including serving as a sponsor for the 2019 "Freestyle Football Okinawa Open" and the "Wheelchair Tennis Global Challenge." Did you have any memorable experiences with these sponsorships?
Is the catch-phrase "Drawing is fun!" really true?
── Where did the theme of creating a collaboration between past and present artwork for the "#I've never stopped drawing 'till now!" campaign come from? I found it interesting how this theme points the spotlight not just on the fun aspects of drawing, but also the difficulties illustrators struggle with behind the scenes.
── I can see how it must be difficult to work in a field where you're constantly surrounded by people who are more talented than you.
The Covid-19 pandemic has brought artists from around the world together
── What was your impression after viewing all of the submitted pieces of artwork?
── The artists must've been enthusiastic about this opportunity to show how much effort they've put in to improving their skill, right?
── There certainly is a wide variety of art styles represented among the participating artists!
── Did COMP have any restrictions about what artists you wanted to include?
Furukawa: COMP's request to include artists from various countries was most fortunate. We at pixiv agree that the illustration industry doesn't live only in Japan, but all around the world.
Suzuki: Especially given the current situation, I think it was really fortunate that we were able to work together with artists from around the world. Covid-19 infection numbers continue to rise, and each nation is struggling with various social and political issues that fuel additional conflict, so I think it's really wonderful that amongst such chaos and discord we were able to provide the chance for people from all over the globe to work together to create something beautiful.
An illustration that is the culmination of years of grueling effort
── Were there any other unexpected results of this campaign that you were happy about?
Suzuki: She sounds a lot like me when I was younger!