Article by Ichibo Harada @HEW
Drawing in between a busy parenting schedule
── First of all, congratulations on your victory! How did you feel when you got the news?
── I heard that you have kids. Finding the time to work on your illustration must've been quite hard.
── Do you manage to keep drawing despite your busy schedule?
── At some point, your kids will realize their mother is really talented at drawing, won't they?
Drawing the harder parts first to make retakes easier
── You mentioned earlier that the award-winning work took you about three weeks. What did your schedule look like for each part of the process? For example, how many days did the sketch take?
── I watched the making-of video of one of your works on the official Copic YouTube channel. You seem to draw very fast, so I thought you had the final result already in mind before starting to draw.
── Don't you decide on a few key colors at first?
── When using Copics, some illustrators prepare an extra sheet of paper to test the gradation and other aspects of the markers as they go.
I don't do that either... I can't be bothered with tests, that's just how I am. (laughs) So, speaking honestly, I often make mistakes. I had to redraw this particular work three or four times.
── Having to redo the coloring means you have to start all over from the lineart, right?
I don't necessarily complete the entire lineart before kicking off the coloring process. I try to prioritize those parts I'm most likely to mess up. For example, if I have an illustration that is mostly blank except for the main character, I prioritize the latter and color it right after finishing its lineart. Having to redo only a specific section is way better than having to start all over when the drawing's almost done. That's why I tend to draw the harder parts first.
── Still, redrawing a work from scratch sounds like a big decision. Do you consider yourself a fast artist?
── For instance, how long would it take you to complete the contest illustration if you didn't have to take breaks?
── Three days...! If you're that fast, I bet sometimes it's quicker to start over from scratch.
Instead of using similar colors, try creating gradations by mixing different shades
── How do you fix your mistakes when you realize you've messed up?
── How many Copic markers did you use for the award-winning work?
── How do you create such a coherent illustration while using so many different colors?
── How do you develop an eye for choosing the right colors?
── One of the features of Copic markers is the ability to create gradations. Do you have any tips about creating color gradients?
── I see! Let's take a look at your illustration in detail.
Don't be afraid to use dark colors to express light
── How did your award-winning work come to life?
── The detail of the fish in your illustration truly conveys that love.
── What were you mindful of when creating this illustration?
── Your focus on lighting really comes through! Sunlight filtering through the water sounds like a challenging lighting situation to portray...
I am still learning, but I feel that expressing light in a way that clearly shows the contrast between light and shadow is essential. So I'm being brave (laughs) and using dark colors.
── Do you often use girls as the central motif of your illustrations?
── Illustrators who often draw girls tend to be very particular about their eyes.
── On pixiv, you post both colorful illustrations like the one that won you the award, and drawings with a limited range of hues.
"How easy is it to undo things in digital art!?"
── What's your story as an artist?
── What other media do you use aside from Copics?
── Do you use a special kind of paper?
── Have you ever tried digital art?
── What made you decide to start practicing digital drawing from scratch when you're so talented with Copics?
Don't force yourself to practice; stop drawing before you hit a wall
── This may sound like a naive question, but how do you get better at drawing?
── How have you been practicing so far?
── Have you ever hit a wall when drawing?
── And after drawing at your own pace for 25 years, you even won a contest! It makes you think about the importance of not giving up. Lastly, what challenges would you like to tackle in the future?