Nickname：Jauni / Tofublock
Job：Illustrator & medical student
─── Tell us about yourself!
Hello everybody! I am Jauni, also known as ‘tofublock’. Currently, a medical college student and will graduate next year. I am also a freelance illustrator and I try to draw as much as I can in my spare time.
─── How long have you been learning to draw? What is the opportunity and enlightenment for you to learn drawing?
I liked to draw when I was a child, and I also left a lot of graffiti on the walls in my parents' house haha. When I started practicing a lot of art around 13 years ago, I was active on a website called "Neopets". It's a site where you can adopt pets and a lot of people would make original characters and anthropomorphic art of their pets. That's kind of how I started getting in touch with online art and it amazed me! I wanted to do the same thing as them. I have been trying to improve my art ever since! It's a lot of fun being able to create art pieces and to let my imagination run loose.
─── Have you attended any art school?
I actually don't attend an art school, though I thought about it when I was still a high school student. For now, my only relevant art school experiences are art classes in high school and an extra semester course I took in art during university. Sometimes I wonder what my art would look like if I did attend an art school.
─── Medicine and painting sound like are completely different fields. Could you please tell us if is there a connection between them for you?
They are quite different but I believe that there is a lot of correlation too. Especially when it comes to the human body from the outside and inside, the anatomy. We both need to learn how the body moves, where certain muscles are placed, and so on. Artists have contributed a lot to the world of medicine in the older times. Leonardo Da Vinci would dissect corpses to examine the anatomy and make art of his findings. Today there are also medical illustrators whose art is dedicated to the medical world. Besides my drawings that you see on social media, I also work as a medical illustrator. I feel like I can really showcase my art skill and apply it to my major.
─── How did you balance your studies in medicine and drawing? What do you think they mean to you?
I thought it would be difficult to juggle both of them at first. But now I think it's still quite manageable. I would've been really sad to give up drawing because of my studies but being able to combine them makes me really happy. There are times when I only draw once every week or maybe once every month but it doesn't matter to me. It's also a way of relaxation for me to be able to draw something for myself. I also take up commission sometimes and they help finance my studies and living expenses. Medicine and art are both big parts of my life, I hope to continue like that until I'm old.
─── Your work is colorful and warm, what textures or tools do you usually use to reflect your style? How did you develop your style?
When I was younger I would draw a lot on 'Oekaki' sites. It's like online art platforms with their own web art program. It's a very simple art program with minimal tools and you cannot copy or paste anything from outside the art program onto it. So in a way, it forced me to think and pick colors on my own. I also just really like making colorful and warm art so it's a reflection of my personality in a way! Now I have a lot of fancier programs like Paint Tool SAI, Clip Studio Paint, and Photoshop that aid me in my drawing process.
My style made many changes over the years but it always followed the same kind of feeling, such as softness. But I did a lot of practicing and I also learned a lot from following online artists and friends. Stepping out of my comfort zone helped me improve and develop my style. I used to never want to draw landscapes but one day I decided I wanted to overcome it. Nowadays I draw more landscapes than humans.
─── Can you talk about what's the important thing to you while drawing?
I think a painting should be made up of these things like details, composition, emotion etc. Everything plays an important part while drawing. It should all come together to make one cohesive painting!
─── Landscapes and clouds are your favorite themes. Do you also like photography? What is your inspiration usually based on?
Yes, I love photography! I often make photos when I take walks outside or whenever I'm traveling. I sadly can't afford a big expensive photo camera so, for now, I am making a lot of photos with my phone camera.
I get inspiration from the things I see and take photos of, and usually decide to take a photo of something if I feel like it inspires me. So a lot of my inspiration comes from daily life but I also get inspiration online. The internet is huge. You can see photos, videos, drawings, everything without going outside, the internet will already show thousands of pictures of different landscapes. On other occasions, the inspiration just pops up in my head out of nowhere. I would just suddenly think of an idea and I would try to draw it.
─── What's the most challenging thing you've ever faced as an illustrator? However, what's the most impressive thing that happened to you as an illustrator?
I think the most challenging is the pressure of social media. It's difficult to stop comparing yourself to others at least once as an artist. I had periods where I would feel disappointed at myself for not being as good as others or I would get upset if my artwork did not receive much attention. I have matured from that luckily but I think it's a common struggle among beginning artists and also novice artists.
The most impressive thing is how many people like my art! I would have never imagined for this many people to like it and for me to be able to do work with my art. It really feels so strange sometimes, like a different life almost.
─── Can you tell us your favorite Japanese anime, comic, movie, or game?
I really love the Pokémon franchise! I would always enjoy anime and playing Pokémon games. When I flashback or rewatch episodes it gives me a big sense of nostalgia and a happy feeling. The same goes for Studio Ghibli movies. I also like Crayon Shin-Chan! I would watch it a lot when I was younger. The animation is simple but very appealing and the stories can be cute and funny. Other animations that I love are HUNTER×HUNTER and FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST.
─── If your work were to be commercialized, what kind of goods would you like it to attempt?
I used to make goods and attend conventions as well before the COVID pandemic. I really miss those days! It was a lot of hard work but very satisfying. I would make prints, keychains, and enamel pins of my artwork. For conventions, I would travel to neighboring countries such as Germany and France. I hope that in the future I can attend again now that regulations are less strict. I think it would also be fun to be able to make prints on clothing or fashion accessories like tote bags.
───Thank you for being interviewed, is there any words like to say to your followers?
Thank you for reading my interview and thank everyone who has supported me. I am very grateful. A message I want to give is: Do your best! You can do it! Follow your passion!
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