Where were you born? Where did you grow up? I was born in Sao Paulo, Brazil, in a family of Japanese descent. Nowadays I live in Tokyo, where I came by myself when I was 18, as a student through a scholarship program.
Schooling? Art training? I've graduated The Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music, majoring Design, and I finished Masters in Design at the same University in March 2009.
How long have you been working professionally in comics? I've been working on small jobs since high school, and I have started my professional career in this field since I finished Masters.
What things -- both in art and otherwise -- have you worked on besides comics? Are comics a full-time gig for you or part-time? I worked for one year and a half on some designs and emoticons for mobile phones in a Japanese company as a freelancer, and I'm doing some manga works right now. I was working part-time due to school, but now that I've graduated, I finally have the opportunity to work full-time.
Talk about how you broke into the business --was it easy? Hard? Ups? Downs? Any interesting anecdotes? When you held your first published work in your hands, how did you feel? Actually when I was in Brazil I didn't really think about working in design or comics. Back then there was no market for manga, so it was very hard to publish anything. I was very happy when I had my first published work in hands, but at the same time I knew it would be hard to continue to publishing due to the lack of manga’s market appeal. Then I started to think of Japan, where I could have more chances of learning more about drawing and design, perhaps even professionally. When I found out about the Japanese Government’s scholarship program I didn’t think twice and I took the chance. And now I’m enjoying Japan a lot and having a great experience here.
Did you work as an assistant to any other artists? If so, please talk a bit about those experiences. I've never had such experience.
How did your parents take to the idea of working in comics? My closest friends and family appreciate my work as a job like any other.
How would you describe your workspace? Is it part of your home, or do you go "to the studio"? I work at home. I have a small and messy space for my computer, light box, art supplies and a lot of magazines and art books.
What job are you the proudest of? What's your most embarrassing? I hope my proudest work is still on the way! All my past works embarrass me. I always start regretting after a while and wish I could have done better, and I can’t really stand looking at my old works.
What are you currently drawing? Comments on that project? I'm working on a Shojo manga from pencils to colours. In that I'm focusing on the layout, adding a lots of design elements and girly motifs. I hope I can show it soon!
Talk about your family: Parents, siblings, home situation. Are you married? Have kids? Names? Anecdotes about married life, how it relates to your busy schedule, etc. If you have kids do they understand your job? What do they say about it? Do they read comics? I live with my boyfriend, who is an Australian with Chinese roots. At home we communicate in Japanese, but he speaks Chinese and English with his parents, and I speak Portuguese with mine. I'm quite worried about which language our future kids should take as first language.
What projects do you hope to work on in the future? I'd love to have experience in anything related to illustration. My favorite genre is Fantasy, and it would be great if I could illustrate some novel, do some character designs for games or a manga. Fashion also interests me.
Where do you see yourself in five years? Ten years? Hopefully I’ll still be working on what I like the most.
What is the interest in comics where you live? Do friends and neighbors know you draw comics for a living? How do they react? Here in Japan, manga is something present in our daily life. Many friends of mine make their living as illustrators (including manga and many other styles). Even for those who only draw for fun, their levels are incredibly high. The good thing about Japan is that you have the opportunity to see the artists' original works (both by professionals and amateurs) at various expos held all year round, rather than through the internet or other kinds of media. Japan is definitely a good place to be constantly improving and test one's skill.
What's 1 thing you'll always find in your refrigerator? It's always almost empty, but you can find water, vegetable juice or green tea.
What's your favorite food? Italian, Chinese and Japanese cuisine.
What are your favorite interests --Movies? Music? TV? Any hobbies? Sports? I love to look at galleries and expos with my illustrator/designer friends, and sometimes I go to the Karaoke box to chill out. I can spend hours on the Internet, netsurfing for books, art techniques and shopping, though I don’t know much about online games and I’m allergic to online chat.
Have you ever thought of writing your own stories? Yes, I’m working on my own story right now in my free time. I want to put as much as time and effort on it to make something truly satisfying, and I'm enjoying it a lot. But I also enjoy working on stories written by someone else; I have a lot of fun exchanging ideas.
Ever been in a gang? Never.
What's an average day in your life like? Walk us through a typical day. My routine is quite irregular, there are days I'm on, and others I'm off. When I'm motivated I can spend hours working on the same drawing or project all day, only taking a break for lunch and dinner. And when I'm off I like to organise my things while leaving the TV on, or I go out and look at some art materials and books that might give me some inspiration.
Do you have any great, unsold projects in your files that nobody's gotten to see published? Yes, there are some stories my boyfriend and I are developing in our free time. Most of the images in this gallery are from them. Btw, my nickname is from a title we're working on. It's not something we want to publish soon, it's just for fun, but it would be great if we could do something concrete in future.
If you weren't a comic-book artist today, what would you be? I can’t imagine myself doing something else.
Have you taught comic-book art or had any assistants? If so, talk about that. I don't think I'm capable of teaching. Even now I don't know how to use guidelines to draw a face. As for assistants, I never thought about it, but it would be great if I had someone to do the backgrounds for me!
The single thing you'd most like to be remembered for in your life is...? I really hope my works can be remembered more than myself.
Any closing words for your fans? I hope I can improve day by day and create eye-catching works to please many people. Many thanks for the support!
Manga For The Beginner (Chris Hart)
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