I am the 1st generation for Gundam!!
I liked the characters drawn by Yoshikazu Yasuhiko (the character designer and the producing director of Mobile Suit Gundam).
I began drawing by imitating his drawings.
Yoshiyuki Tomino (the general director of Mobile Suit Gundam) once wrote a novel based on the Gundam anime which had a new character that didn’t appear in the anime.
I began producing my own drawings based on my imagination of those Gundam novel characters.
I realized that I love drawing in my early teens.
Rather imitating characters from anime, my interest switched to illustrations based on the novels.
And then, I came across Alphonse Mucha’s works. They moved my heart. That totally blew me away.
I want to create something like that. Something that makes me excited. I want to be able to aquire that… But I couldn’t because it is someone else’s drawing.
So I knew I had to draw something spectacular on my own. What was so amazing about those pictures? I tried to draw something similar, but could never understand what was attracting me to his drawings.
Is it how he draws the eyes? Or the nose? Or the color? Or maybe the lines… I started really trying to analyze what it is that attracted me to his works.
I simply thought I wanted to do some works related to drawing or become an animator without any real effort. In the meantime, I started working young.
I posted my drawings on the columns of illustration magazines and looked forward to the bi-annual club bulletins. Drawing was my hobby.
Despite the fact that the community was small, it made me very happy when people would say “I like Ryu-san’s drawing.”
Until my late 20s, I was communicating with others in the community like that. Sometimes I drew, sometimes I didn’t.
Then the internet came to the fore. In mid 90s, people started to create their own websites and interact with others who had their own drawing-related websites.
Reviews were easily spread. Such as, “so-and-so’s drawing is great!” or “ I got an English email from fan outside Japan!!”
Around that time, I got an email from England through a Japanese person who I knew.
“ We are now working on a project to write a book compiling drawings from Fairy Artists around the world. Would you be interested to participate as a Japanese Fairy Artist?”.
Brian Froud, a well-known Fairy Artist, was also participating in the project by illustrating the opening page of the book. To be involved in such a project, I really felt that I was connecting with the real world outside of the internet.
And when it came to the month that the book was going to be published, I had to quit my job for certain reasons. I also found out that my baby was going to born in the same month.
I had to make a decision: I instantly decided to enter the world of illustration.
And then I attended so many events and sokubaikai (art exhibition and sales event). You cannot become known as a writer if you aren’t active.
I participated in a group exhibition in Los Angeles in November, 2006. (That was my first overseas experience, actually.)
I started to wonder if I could start something from the designer side by attending art events like Design Festa, etc.
My thoughts led me to ARTs*LABo, which now I organize.
Since the 1st ARTs*LABo in June 2007, there are now monthly events such as postcard- and other-themed exhibitions, group exhibitions, etc.
You need to form your idea into shapes. And do it again and again. You cannot just leave it up in the clouds.
If you have done it once, new ideas will come. They build up over and over.
It was just 2 or 3 years ago that I started to feel that this cycle is working well.
Now, I’m working by reflecting on my past experiences.
Interviewed month: April, 2014.
Ryu-san said that he cannot come up with a good answer to the question where he sees himself heading to.
From the editor’s point of view, Ryu-san’s voice–Each creator’s personal satisfaction and action differs in various ways. What would be the success for each creators? – was very important message that he “wants to work for other creators”.