- I thought pursuing an art career would be too hard
- Lighting, Gawako's approach to art, and what they learned at the game company
- Stocking up on anything that sparks my interest
- For backgrounds, I use both 3D and photobashing
- A key visual that says, "When life gives you lemons..."
- Gawako's solo exhibition, "Emergence", is open through October 29th!
- Merchandise is also available online!
Watch Gawako's drawing process and listen to this interview in this episode of DrawTube!
I thought pursuing an art career would be too hard
── Have you been drawing since you were a kid?
── Have you ever received formal art education?
── Did you join a game company because you were hoping to make a career out of drawing?
── So, if it weren't for that teacher, you wouldn't be an illustrator today.
── What a good teacher! So you got your start in illustration as a company employee. But why did you choose a game company?
── When did you make the switch to freelancing?
Lighting, Gawako's approach to art, and what they learned at the game company
── What does your workspace look like?
── How long does it take you to finish an illustration on average?
── So you devote a lot of time to coloring...
── Are there any specific aspects of coloring that you're particular about?
── Many illustrators who are particular about lighting often have a strong interest in movies and photography.
── When did you first become interested in the use of light?
── You learned a lot from your days at the company, didn't you?
── Are there any other lessons you learned during your days at the company that stay with you even today?
One discussion that really stuck with me was about being a creator who receives client work with specific goals versus promoting yourself and your brand as an artist. I think I'm leaning towards the former nowadays, but I'd like to try to express my artistic tastes and interests through personal projects and doujin work.
Stocking up on anything that sparks my interest
── You've been posting your art on pixiv since 2012. Was there a specific turning point for your art style?
── Looking back at your older works, I sensed a fascination with backgrounds and complicated angles from the very beginning. You were never the type to be satisfied with just drawing cute girls' faces, right?
── How do you gather ideas or input for the amazing worlds you depict?
── Some of your works seem to share the same worldbuilding; for example, your chess series and the ones featuring witches.
For backgrounds, I use both 3D and photobashing
── In your opinion, what makes an artwork "a good artwork"?
If a piece fulfills the vague goal I had in mind before starting it, then I consider it a good one!
── When you draw, do you always have some sort of goal in mind?
Pretty much. For example, one piece might be dedicated to studying a lighting technique that I find challenging. Another might come with the simple goal of delighting the people who see it. Others might be purely for my own enjoyment.
── What's a recent work that you are particularly proud of?
── In your artwork, illustrations as dynamic as this one as pretty rare.
I usually prefer drawing scenes where characters are standing in a cool or imposing manner, but I felt like constantly sticking to the same style might become boring, so I played around with camera angles and switched things up a bit, all while maintaining a character silhouette that I like.
── The blue of the sky and the distant buildings make the illustration evoke a broader story. Your work always showcases a particular attention to detail, from the intricate backgrounds to the tiniest accessories. You also use some 3D elements in the backgrounds, right?
Right. I learned how to use 3D at my previous company and started using it for my own work. I draw backgrounds using a variety of methods, including completely hand-drawn, photobashing (combining and editing photo materials), and 3D.
── How do you choose which approach to take?
A key visual that says, "When life gives you lemons..."
── What is it like to have your first solo show?
── Both your art book and the exhibition are titled Emergence, right?
Yes, as in metamorphosis. I chose it because it felt like a turning point for me, and also because it also fits in nicely with some new original stories I wanted to tell. It's almost like a compilation of everything I've done up to this point.
── The art book and the exhibition also share the same key visual. Can you tell us more about the artwork you chose?
── There's also some merchandise planned for your solo exhibition, isn't it?
── Do you have a message for the people who'll be visiting your exhibition?
Normally, people see my art digitally, like on computers or smartphones, but the exhibition allows you to enjoy the physical presence of the art. Even if you've seen the same artwork online, I think you'll find it a different experience to see it up close and from various distances. As for the venue, we're planning to make it look like a hospital. The organizers are preparing everything while keeping my wishes in mind, and I hope you'll enjoy how the show turns out!
── Lastly, are there any other goals or jobs you'd like to tackle as an illustrator in the future?
Gawako's solo exhibition, "Emergence", is open through October 29th!
The exhibition will feature 49 works, including original works created for this exhibition, all centering on the theme of “emergence”. In line with the exhibition title, the gallery is decorated to resemble a hospital ward.
Dates: Monday, October 9th, 2023 to Sunday, October 29th, 2023
Days closed: None
Address: Tokyo, Shibuya City, Jingumae, 5 Chome-46-1 TWIN PLANET South BLDG. 1F
Hours: 12:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.