TerepaInterview15 : Creative Interview with Japan freelance illustrator London Shirosaki !
Artist Name: London Shirosaki
Occupation: Freelance Illustrator
This interview is a translation based on the original interview.
──First of all, please introduce yourself!
Nice to meet you, I'm London Shirosaki, currently working as a freelance illustrator in Japan.
──May I ask how is your currently pseudonym came from?
Yes, at first I used the pen name London for my creative activities, but then I thought I needed to add a surname to look more seriously...
During the time I’m still stick on pen name, one day I got a high fever and dreamed while I was sleeping: my head turned into a castle, the flowers bloomed and kept growing out of the windows of the castle. Although it was a horrible nightmare,also really impressive, I thought it would be a good idea to use the word "flowers blooming from the castle" in Japanese (Shiro in Japanese means castle, saku means blossom), I felt...it’s sound not that bad? So I added the word "Shirosaki" before "London" and used it as my pen name to this day. ......
When I look back on this experience now, it's a bit puzzling, isn't it? (lol)
──Did you graduate from an art university? How did you learn the art skill? Please tell us about your learning tips and experience?
I didn't graduated from art university, I went to a design school. While learning design techniques there, also learned some of the painting knowledge, to build my creative skills bit by bit. Of course, relying on those basic techniques it’s not enough to achieve my satisfactory standard. After graduated I mostly groped for reading books and collect a variety of creative information and art techniques on the website to explore the learning.
──We find your works have a unique world view and sense. Do you create original stories according to your mind? Can you introduce it little bit?
Thank you. I do have an original story in mind, but it's more emotional and abstract, so it's hard for me to express it in words. I hope you can feel it through my work! Sorry for that..
──Would you like to share the happy things and troubles encountered during the creation process？
There were many happy events, but the one that most impressed me was when I held a solo exhibition in Shinjuku, Tokyo in 2019, there were actually many people there.
I was very moved to see that my work was more popular than I expected. I was also very happy to see people I normally only exchange thoughts with on the internet, it was like meeting up with a friend I hadn't seen in a long time.
As for my worries, I think Covid is the one that has affected me the most recently. Many of my offline solo exhibitions have been cancelled due to the Covid. But optimistically I think it's time to focus more on my creative skills and improve myself! If the Covid subsides completely, I would like to hold more exhibitions so that more people can see my works.
──How do you usually collect creative inspiration for your work?
In my daily life, I often read magazines that interest me, such as books on accessories and interior decoration, as well as the latest monthly magazines on fashion and clothing.
When I look at them, I think, "Wouldn't it be more interesting if I could improve this place?" ...... By drawing my ideas in this way, I naturally accumulate a lot of inspiration and creativity. In addition, I like the creatures that appear in mythology, such as phantom animals and fairies, whenever I have time, I will read a lot of related books and information content, sometimes ideas will come out naturally.
——What are some new goals or areas that you like to challenge in the future regarding creative techniques?
There are so many things I want to challenge... Last year I tried making cotton dolls for my original characters. This year, my goal is to make brighter and more emotional illustrations...and many more. I also want to try a short color comic! My previous illustrations had a young girl in the shape of a biologist, and I wanted to introduce various mysterious creatures to the story with her as the main character, and I'm going to realize all these ideas!
──From your works, I can feel you like BJD dolls and related fashion style. Are you a doll owner? Do you usually wear Lolita style dresses? Tell us about your favorite brands and styles.
That's right (lol), although I'm not really a professional doll owner, but I've loved Blythe dolls since I was a kid and started collecting them when I was a teenager. I like the slightly smaller Midi Blythe, now I still have many of them in my room as decoration. My favorite Lolita style brand is the historical brand in Japan which is BABY, THE STARS SHINE. This has also been a hobby since I was a teenager. Of course, now it is more satisfying as long as I can watch or actually draw instead of wearing it myself.
──Please tell us about the commercial projects you've worked on in the past!
I participated in the illustrator linkage project for CocoPPa Play, a character dressing software for smartphone games, and designed images for some of the characters, their character models were made based on my illustrations, I was also very happy to see the finished reproduction was very good and looked lovely!
Then in 2020, I drew dresses and promotional illustrations for Lolita dress brand Royal Princess Alice.
This year I also drew new illustrations for them, which will be announced in the near future! Please look forward to it!
──May I ask what kind of commercial collaborations are you looking for in the future?
I hope to collaborate with BJD dolls and mystery toy boxes for my work. Although my work is graphic illustration, but currently I am very interested in the 3d objects. And I would like to try commercial illustration for character doll design when I have the chance.
──As mentioned in the article earlier, this is a cotton doll made in the image of your design, right? It's very cute! What kind of idea did you make it?
In fact, it’s been long time I wanted to physicalization my design characters in 3d doll, also I have talked manufacturers many times before, but the answer are always: sorry, it’s difficult to realize......So the matter is temporarily shelved.
But I really want to physicalization my characters anyway! Prompted by this idea, I tried to communicate with the toy manufacturer and actually made it by my self. I always had this character in my mind as a 3d image, actually the finished doll meet my expectations, which still makes me quite satisfied.
──Please tell me about your favorite music, movies, or games! Also, who are the artists you respect?
I've been listening to the rock group mili a lot while I'm drawing recently, and her vocals allow me to relax and focus on the creative process. I like all of her songs, so it's a little hard to choose a recommendation, but my personal recommendations would be『Iron Lotus』,『Honey』, and『RTRT』.
The artists I respect are Mr. Takeshi who is the character design illustrator for 『Katanagatari』 and 『Pokémon』, when I bought Mr. Takeshi's work collection, I was shocked that the combination of line and color could have such a charm! And Mr. Kunihiko Ikuhara, the director of 『Revolutionary Girl Utena 』 and 『Sarazanmai』. I couldn't get enough of Mr. his 『Sarazanmai』, also went to listened to the relevant creative interview. and Mr. Kunihiko Ikuhara’s speech was also interesting......I respect he very much.
──Thank you for to be interviewed, is there any words you like to say to your audience or other creators?
Thank you for keep following my illustrations and various activities. Currently I have a lot of collaborative projects preparing with Genearz Studio, please kindly look forward our projects, and I will continue to focus on my creations, appreciate your comments!
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