MANGA.TOKYO has been interviewing creators who are active in various fields in Japan! We ask them the questions that you want to ask, like what sort of effort they made to become a creator.
In this article, promising illustrator RAM, who draws attention with his eye-catching illustrations for light novels and CD covers, tells us how he became a professional illustrator and how he creates his unique color scheme.
An Interview with RAM
Could you give a brief self-introduction, please?
RAM: I’m RAM and I work at a console game development company dealing with artwork. I’m also a freelance illustrator as a second job.
What made you want to become an illustrator?
RAM: I have loved drawing since my childhood, and went to art college to study advertising art and art design. When I started job hunting, I realized that I didn’t have much interest in the advertising industry and decided to get a job doing what I really like, which is to draw pictures.
Having said that, I was over 20 years old when I started drawing seriously, therefore I thought I had to brush up my drawing skills on the front line and started working at a game development company.
While working in the company as a designer, I continued to draw illustrations as a hobby, and commissions started to come in little by little.
You apply vivid colors in your illustrations which make them impressive. What things do you consider when choosing colors?
RAM: First of all, I choose colors which make illustrations eye-catching. My aim is to draw Illustrations that people would look at for more than one second. I draw more as a designer rather than as an illustrator. My art college education is paying off.
I memorize things that inspire me, like advertisements, bicycles spinning across a town, sets for TV shows, my friends’ outfits, and colors which I liked. There is an abundance of brilliant products in the world and I get an idea about colors from them, not from other illustrations. I like vivid colors and often use them, however illustrations with these colors tend to become childish, therefore I give careful consideration to create a classy and mature vibe.
Did you practice drawing a lot until you were satisfied with your illustrations?
RAM: I wasn’t satisfied with them until three or four years ago. I usually was disappointed in myself when I saw brilliant illustrations drawn by other creators. I practiced drawing by copying their illustrations and sketching photographs of someone posing. I was gradually able to improve my drawings. However I think I still have a lot to learn when it comes to my art skills, and I just practice.
Once I got a little bit better at drawing, I started wondering if there were any unique qualities in my drawings. I struggled to find ‘my own style like no other.’
My turning point arrived when I draw the image of the girl with glasses underwater. I forced myself to finish the illustration packed with stuff I like and drawn in a style I like. It got a favorable reception from many people. I was so pleased since it was my first time to get such reactions.
Since then, I’ve been drawing what I like. I applied interesting colors and unique make-up and designs to my illustrations that made my works one of a kind. At that point, I started to like my illustrations.
Having said that, I haven’t been fully satisfied with my works yet. I just have to keep on practicing every day!
What are your career aspirations? Do you have some illustrators you are interested in?
RAM: I’ve been admiring Range Murata, okama, Take, and Suzuhito Yasuda for long time. I was fascinated by the cuteness of the girl characters designed by them. I was especially impressed by Take’s designs. She uses simple lines and art style, and beautiful colors.
I have also been influenced by Yusuke Iwasa (@yuukikuchi), my master in drawing. He has compelling drawing abilities depicting sublime lights and spaces, which I don’t possess. I’m still learning from him every day.
I’m following Reoenl (@reoenl). I love his illustrations for their grayish tones and beautiful designs.
Are there any works or experiences that influenced you?
RAM: Yes, Persona 3, a game I played while I was a student. I didn’t know games could be so stylish and cool. It motivated me to find a job in a game company.
I’ve become aware of the interest in my works from overseas through the fan art platform. My illustrations on social media received a lot of reactions from abroad. Because of fan art, more people overseas have come to know my illustrations.
Is there anything you consciously do in order to make your works even better?
RAM: I always focus on creating a better illustration than before. I deliberately draw poses which I’m not good at, or choose difficult motives and colors, so that I will be better today than I was yesterday.
Could you give a comment to aspiring illustrators abroad?
RAM: Nowadays, you have the chance to show your works to people all over the world via social media. I think it’s a wonderful thing for illustrators.
I’m still a novice illustrator who is hoping for people worldwide to look at my works. One of my dreams is to have an exhibition abroad.
Your works will cross borders and come to us. I can’t wait to look at your illustrations!
Find More About RAM
Check the gallery below for more of his illustrations!
Leave your comment to him below!