Interview with BL artist Hontoku - The importance of observation: mannequins, costumes, selfies...
Article by Ichibo Harada@HEW
Up-and-coming boys' love artist Hontoku's first solo exhibition SENSUOUS HEAVEN is being held at pixiv's WAEN GALLERY in Omotesando, Tokyo, until February 23. In addition to about 90 illustrations, the exhibition also features character costumes and life-size illustrated cardboard cutouts.
- Mangaka and illustrator, they're distinguished by their bewitching illustrations, their unique touch, and incredible textures. Mainly active in the world of manga, starting from June 2021 Hontoku published three monthly tankobon volumes with KiR Comics, before the serialization of Hu Yan Zhuan in December of the same year. The artist has also designed several video game characters and published their first art book IDEAL in February 2022.
I wanted to do comedy manga, but...
── Tell us about your debut!
絵の進化………⁇⁇⁇⁇⁇⁇— HONTOKU個展開催中 (@analu_DT3) October 6, 2021
2016 2021 pic.twitter.com/3RRJeAivji
── Comedy manga, that's unexpected! I was a little surprised when I heard that you're a big fan of the Grandpa Danger series, but it all makes sense now. (laughs)
── Are there any other creators who have influenced you?
── It must have been hard for an aspiring comedy manga artist to start drawing story-based works.
── Your older works are fairly anime-like; a striking contrast to your current style!
Using mannequins to check clothing folds
── Your drawing style is rather realistic and sensual. Do you have much experience with figure drawing?
I don't really like studying, so I've never done figure drawing... I went to a vocational school, but they mainly taught us about manga, so I am completely self-taught when it comes to drawing. I'm the type of person who can't draw unless I understand how something is made, so I'm very thorough about drawing while observing the actual subject.
I own dolls and life-size mannequins, and I use them to test the poses every time I draw. I also dress the mannequins in actual clothes to check where the wrinkles form. I have a lot of reference materials including shoes, suits, and costumes inspired by Chinese-style fantasy, so my closet looks like a cosplayer's! (laughs)
I also take a lot of selfies as reference. I once drew an illustration where the character's bare skin showed through his wet white clothes, so I took a selfie of myself in the bath, wearing nothing but a washable white kimono. My smartphone gallery isn't exactly one to share with people! (laughs)
July 16, 2021
── People often praise the importance of real-life references, but you're taking this to a whole new level!
── Given your keen interest in observing the real thing, you must have a pretty hard time with Chinese-style fantasy.
── How do you find the right balance between accuracy and your imagination?
── Were you always interested in Chinese-style fantasy?
The importance of the right size suit
── I heard you have a thing for couples with fairly different body sizes. Isn't that a bit hard to draw? I would have a hard time figuring out where to place either character's face with a height difference of XYZ centimeters...
── You're really going for the real thing, aren't you?
── You're well-known for your steamy male characters. What are your tips and tricks when it comes to drawing men?
── Your male characters in suits are also very charming. What are the techniques behind making a suit look nice?
── You mentioned that you collect costumes to use as references. Is it fair to say you have a bit of a costume obsession?
織条様 pic.twitter.com/kxaKeRn0j7— HONTOKU個展開催中 (@analu_DT3) December 13, 2021
── Your love for creases shines through! What else do you like to draw?
── Is it true that you don't really use layers when coloring?
── How long does it take you to complete a colored illustration?
Keep drawing through the slumps
── You mentioned how you got a little lost while drawing the exhibition's main visuals. Does that happen often?
── How do you get out of a slump?
── What would you recommend to someone who wants to get better at drawing?
I think the key is to draw what you want to draw. If you feel obligated to practice drawing, things can get tough ー so I'd recommend finishing what you decide to start. It's also important to draw as much as possible.
── What kinds of things are you practicing nowadays?
── Your style is one-of-a-kind, but you're not afraid to change things up from time to time, such as drawing with pastels.
100均のパステルで気合いで描いたマ pic.twitter.com/OIXYkbgtmg— HONTOKU個展開催中 (@analu_DT3) December 24, 2021
A peek at the exhibition's highlights: a 2-meters tall, illustrated life-size cardboard cutout!
── What is the meaning behind the title of your solo exhibition, SENSUOUS HEAVEN?
── How did you come up with the main visuals?
── What are the highlights of the exhibition?
── Is it true that the exhibition will also feature character costumes?
── Following your first solo exhibition, your first art book IDEAL was also released on February 10th. What are your goals for the future?
── Check out Hontoku's first solo exhibition SENSUOUS HEAVEN and their art book IDEAL!
Hontoku's first solo exhibition "SENSUOUS HEAVEN" is now open!
Illustrator Hontoku's first solo exhibition SENSUOUS HEAVEN is currently being held at pixiv's WAEN GALLERY by TWINPLANET × pixiv, a gallery jointly operated by pixiv and Twin Planet!
The exhibition features about 90 of Hontoku's illustrations from the artist's manga works and also includes real character costumes and life-size cardboard cutouts with never-before-seen illustrations. It's a perfect event to experience Hontoku's world!
Exhibition period: February 4 (Fri) ~ February 23 (Wed), 2022
Location: Tokyo, Shibuya, Jingumae 5-46-1 TWIN PLANET South BLDG. 1F
Opening hours: 12:00 - 19:00
>>pixiv WAEN GALLERY Official Website<<