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Hakumo is a brilliant and amusing artist. While this artist’s gender remains a secret, this mystery is nothing but a trivial circumstance. It also adds one less layer of bias to any viewer lucky enough to stumble upon Hakumo’s gallery of digital artwork. Hakumo also creates traditional artwork, but because of the lack of a scanner at opportune times, these pieces rarely find themselves in an online gallery. You can see the delicately and passionately drawn original characters, fanart, and other pieces in Hakumo’s DeviantART gallery, Tumblr, personal website, and even buy them at the online store.
ToonariPost (TP): How and when did you first start practicing your art (are you traditionally trained or self-taught)?
Hakumo (H): It started as a hobby, drawing when I was first exposed to the (art) comic world; Disney’s Mickey-Donald, The Smurfs, Tintin, Asterix and Obelix, then the initial boom of Japanese manga like Sailor Moon or Candy Candy. Because of the culture of where I lived at the time, being an illustrator/comic artist didn’t occur to me at the slightest. It was when my friend introduced me to anime in high school that made me realize there are people who draw and make that as a living out there. That anime, and later the manga that was first introduced to me, was Rurouni Kenshin – which I have loved until this day.
I am mostly self-taught, manga and anime took a greater part of me, which led me to embrace Japanese culture itself. It really influences my subject and style of drawing. When I realized art might be the path I wanted to pursue I was lucky enough to be able to go into art school. They did not teach me 100% of my skills as I expected BUT they taught me exactly what I needed; techniques, tips, and tricks.
TP: What mediums do you use for your art work? Which is your favorite and why?
H: I use quite a bit of everything actually. As for recent works I have explored more on the digital side. I don’t have a scanner with me most of the time so I hardly show my traditional works. I like to experiment with many mediums, but my favorites are pencil, pen, and digital. If I have to pick again from the 3, I think pencil takes the lead.
TP: What piece of your work is your favorite and why? Which one are you most proud of?
H: Hm, I’m the type of person who gets attached to their works. I like them all, each has the sentiment of why and how I made them. Let’s see…I think elaborate pieces with details or background took my attention the most. They look great when you imagine the full piece in your head but actually creating it is harder! Ones like “It’s better BLUE” or several pieces that I did for art books like Kingdom Carousel, GAIA, and Rising Sun, are probably my most memorable. “Let’s talk it nicely” and “Bookman Jr.” are also my favorites because of the perspective and inking trial-error. But for personal reasons, I always like “Paper Blue” and “Playground: Fish”.
The one I most proud of…is probably the recent piece for Kingdom Carousel. It was quite detailed and different from what I did so far. I can still feel the process and the feeling from when I did the last touch and declared it was finished.
TP: When you first started did you ever hit any bumps in your art process. How did you overcome them?
H: The first time I encountered DeviantART, it was a really great culture shock; I learned about things called “digital art”, “tablet”, and “illustration”. My background started with comics and I was not as digitally adept. It was practically the first time for me to hear those terms. I was absent from dA for about 2 or 3 years because I thought things weren’t being too well-received and I want to focus on school instead. But my curiosity just needed to see what other art and artists are out there. So eventually I came back, learned how to draw and use my first Wacom tablet, and I just kept drawing from there.
TP: Who or what are your inspirations and why?
H: Aside from movies, art books, and ogling at other artists’ works, my inspirations also come from daily life and experiences. Things like dreams, animals, patterns, scenery, food, regular things you encounter every day. They never allow you to stop thinking of what to create or draw.
Recently I found myself really attracted to ‘rough’ things like Studio 4C’s pencil works, Miwa Shirow’s pen works, Vagabond or One Piece; their line works look really attractive to me. Oh, and Gintama because it never fails to make me laugh and cry at the same time.
Image Courtesy of Hakumo