Today interview is with illustrator Naoko Matsunaga. Her illustrations are delightful and colorful. She illustrates for magazine,advertising etc. Enjoy the interview and check out her sweet website.
How long have you been in the illustration industry and how did you start?
I have been a full time freelance illustrator for 4 years. I was in the fashion industry as a designer and a pattern maker for 8 years before I became an illustrator. At that time, I never thought of becoming an illustrator even though I liked illustrating. I thought it was impossible for me to make money by illustrating.
Every time I drew something, my husband encouraged me to become an illustrator. I did not like hearing it because I thought it seemed impossible and I did not even want to try it.
However , he kept insisting and I got really tired of listening to his encouragement, so I decided to enter an illustration competition just keep him silent. It was a competition for a Japanese magazine cover. I surprisingly won this competition. After this, I started creating an illustration for the magazine every month.
At that time, I was still working full time at an apparel company. I did the illustrations on the weekends.
This is how I started my career as an illustrator.
What was your background?
I have always drawn since I was a child.
After I graduated from high school, I decided to go to fashion school (ESMOD) in Tokyo. I learned fashion and art there.
How would you define your style?
Because my early training and experiences were in clothing design and pattern making, my illustrated figures are quite realistic, as far as posture, expression and fitted clothes are concerned.
What was your influence?
My experience in the fashion industry has influenced my illustrations. Also, I resided in different places, such as Tokyo, Cebu Island (Philippines), and Los Angeles. These places and different cultures have given me great inspiration.
How do you get inspired? How do you feed your creativity?
I try to live happily and healthily. My studio is in a very natural setting. I listen to peaceful music while I am working. When my mental and physical conditions are good, I get good inspiration. Also, Los Angeles’s blue sky, ocean, and beautiful cities (such as Beverly Hills and the Beach communities) provide for endless inspiration.
How do you work? Do you have a routine that you like to follow?
I exercise at gym in the morning, and I start working from about 10am well into the night, taking breaks when needed.
Do you allow yourself time for your personal projects on a regular basis or only when you can? And why?
Currently, it is hard to find time to do my personal projects because of other project deadlines. Consequently, I feel I need to manage my time better so that, perhaps in the future, I can do my personal projects.
Best and worst things of being an illustrator?
One of the best things about being an illustrator is the wonderful opportunity it affords me to do the one thing in life that is most important to me — to express myself through drawing. As far as any specific negative aspect to professional illustrating is concerned, all that comes to mind is the issue of satisfying the vision of my clients.
Mac or pc? Software used:
Mac. Adobe illustrator and Photoshop.
Favorite material to draw with:
Your favorite place to work:
My home studio, from which I have a beautiful view of nature, is my favorite place to work.
What projects are you actually working on now?
I am working for Stila, for Lisa Frank, and also, for a Japanese company, creating a package design for their beauty products.
Your favourite artists
Henri De Toulouse – Lautrec, Alphonse Mucha, Leonetto Cappiello, Tadahiro Uesugi, Delicatessen
And finally, one tip or advice for those who want to work in this industry:
One must enjoy working on illustrations everyday. The work will come when he or she is ready. One must also have a good communication with clients and find out what they want exactly. Quite often, an illustrator’s idea and a client’s idea are not the same, so it is very important to have the same vision.
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