Interview with illustrator Senbon Umishima - Distilling Curiosity into Creation
Article by Ichibo Harada @HEW
- Senbon Umishima
- Lover of the sea, islands, traveling, and dried sweet potatoes. After a stint as both an animator in charge of character design and chief animation director, Umishima now works mainly as an illustrator and manga artist, working on the short illustration and manga compilation book Rooms since February 2022. Senbon no Hanataba, an art compilation published by PIE International and Prism no Saku Niwa, a short story collection published by Shinchosha are currently on sale. The art compilation book Rooms, published by PIE International, went on sale in April 2022.
Refine info intake to continue healthily creating
── Thank you very much for taking the time to talk with us.
── Do you avoid looking at or investigating other creators?
── What sort of things do you recommend be used as references when creating?
Animator, illustrator, and manga artist; a triple threat
── You've worked as an animator, illustrator, and manga artist. Have you loved drawing pictures since you were a child?
── Did you know early on that you wanted to work in an artistic field?
── You often focus on a theme of "motion" in your manga and illustrations. Is this taken from your experience as an animator? Or is movement something you've always been interested?
── Now that you have experienced all three paths, do you feel as though the things you've learned in each role have begun to blend together?
Past or present, the way to practice is sketching and rough drafts
── You've said that you set your sights on a drawing career at a young age. How did you refine your technique over the years?
── How do you practice now?
── Sometimes when I'm drawing, I can't escape the feeling that something isn't quite right and get lost in the process. What do you do when you're in a slump?
Try all sorts of things without worrying too much about style
── What is your current working environment like?
── You've showcased many styles of coloring. Is that what you switch up for a change of pace?
Ten or twenty years from now, I may be drawing in a completely different way than I do now, and I won't know which way was best until very far in the future. So I think it is better to draw freely without being too particular.
── "The viewer decides the style."
A series of cute interiors
── This solo exhibition is centered on the Rooms series. How did you come up with the idea?
── Instead of deciding on the interior designs after considering the setting of the characters, did you draw the interior first, prioritizing how cute interiors like this would be?
── If that's the case, did you get new ideas and add more accessories while you were drawing?
── Is your ability to create such a wide variety of rooms a result of an interest in interior design?
── Lucky! I live in an old Japanese style apartment...
── The fact that you can come up with ideas so quickly shows how much you really love interior design.
Travel, diving, and long-held hobbies lead to creation
── Foreign cityscapes, cats, maids, plants, sea creatures, and interior decorations are just some of the many motifs in your drawings, right?
【短編漫画】アドリア海の真珠、古都ドゥブロヴニクで、1人の女性と1匹の猫のとある1日のお話です。みなさまが、一緒に街を歩いている気分になって頂けたら幸いです🐱https://t.co/fKlzWbhJce pic.twitter.com/0i7TcLckbJ— 海島千本🐟画集と個展 (@Kaisen_Tobiuo) February 8, 2019
── You like lots of things!
── The vivid colors in your works are impressive. The Rooms series is so intricately detailed down to the smallest areas. However, it gives both a clean and uncluttered impression.
── I see. I had this firm idea in my head that certain items have to be painted a certain color, like plants must be green. As a result, I kept using more and more colors, and the result was messy.
── What are the highlights of your solo exhibition?
── Finally, what are your future prospects as a creator?
── Taken from the illustration and comic compilation book Rooms by Senbon Umishima, recently published by PIE International.
"Rooms Senbon Umishima's Illustration + Comic Compilation" is now on sale!
"Rooms", Senbon Umishima's first solo exhibition is open to the public!
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