A simple face eloquently appeals to the artist “face”

The facial expressions are formed only by the eyes and mouth. There is nobody who doesn’t know the faces drawn by face, an artist who collaborates with numerous media and fashion brands. Even though they have the same face, each illustration has a clear figure, and the caricature naturally overlaps the motif. When drawing a picture, how does face capture the object and how does it feel? Also, how did you discover to this style? The faces that face draws have a cynical image even in pop culture. I ask about the origin and meaning behind the creations.

A simple view of the outline and hairstyle of the object to be drawn

――Your style of illustration is simple but has unique eyes and mouth. Your drawings have a simple expression, but what do you focus on when drawing a caricature?

face: I’m not particularly conscious any point about drawing, but I think the outline and hairstyle are important. Other than that, the caricatures I draw do not have the same eyes and mouth in any work. With other factors, I must look at the outline and hairstyle. However, if the outline and hairstyle look similar, the impression generally looks like the person.

――Basically, you often draw in line drawings and planes, don’t you? How did you learn how to capture contours and hairstyles?

face: At one point, I drew caricatures of audience at events and music festivals, and this experience was a great help in learning to simplify caricatures with lines. Going back further, I used to copy manga as a child, so I was able to draw various outlines and hairstyles in my head. To make an image click as a person they say it should have roundness. In some cases, drawing a diamond shape can emphasize its humanity. I capture the essence of my subjects like this.

――You also have a motif of drawing the eyes and mouth upside down. What is the intention behind this?

face: There was a time when I was tired of drawing the same face. I had thought about making a different character, but after trial and error, I came to like the look of this face after all. So, when I thought about going back to the drawing board again to improve this face, I realized that the balance was surprisingly good when I reversed the eyes and mouth. Even if the face is reversed, it looks like it is laughing or angry. Depending on the balance of the face, the position of the eyes may change to make it fit better. I look at the overall balance in that way.

――You also have illustrations that include parts other than the eyes and mouth.

face: When given the chance and there are no requests to draw only my eye and mouth motif, I often draw other parts of the face. Work which uses my eyes and mouth is especially important to me. Obviously, if my style doesn’t match a clients’ needs, there’s no need to force it. So I make my illustrations while consulting with the client. Besides, it’s hard to show expression with just your eyes and mouth. It is better to clearly understand facial expressions depending on the picture, so in that case, I draw other parts.

Utilizing the experience of continuously copying manga

――How did you start to draw a picture?

face: My family loved your paintings. My brother is one year older than me, and I remember copying the manga he drew when he was a child. When I was in elementary school, “Dragon Ball,” “Yu Yu Hakusho” and “SLAM DUNK” were serialized in the golden age of JUMP, and I copied it to an underlay sheet and drew it on a plastic board. Of course, I also did “ONE PIECE”. I haven’t study painting professionally, but I sketched all through elementary, middle and high school. When I only drew what I liked, my friends all said, “It’s awesome.” I’ve been drawing for a long time because I really enjoy it. My notebooks and textbooks were covered in graffiti. It’s not a big thing that I honed my skills in school (laughs).
Even when I grew up, I wanted to follow the path of painting, but I understood that it was difficult road. The turning point came when I was about 30. SNS became popular and I uploaded illustrations with my friends on Instagram. I then received an offer from the editorial department of a magazine. While drawing there I thought about taking my work in such and such a direction and my broad work base gradually brought to the present.

――So, when you started posting on Instagram, did you complete your eyes and mouth facial motif?

face: No, at first it was simpler and closer to the work of Gonz (Mark Gonzalez). People said, “It looks like Gonz, doesn’t it?” Well, that’s right (laughs). There is no point when the eye and mouth face was complete. Looking back, I’ve been drawing this kind of shape since high school, and my favorite character smiles a lot. This form gradually became the focus of my study, which is an interesting balance as an illustrator. I became more enamored with the face as I drew it more often. Then I ended up only drawing this face. At the time, I wanted my clients to remember the face, so I used it as much as possible.

Three-dimensional artwork was troubled by limitations of fixed shapes

――In collaboration with “TOKION”, you completed a product with the motif of famous artists. Were there any difficulties?

face: I’ve always liked both of them, and I’ve drawn them before, but the form was hard to make into a product. The overall form was decided so I couldn’t use the expression in the outline and the hairstyle that I mentioned earlier. Particularly, Woman’s one was more difficult to make. When taking her feature as a motif, she is just a blonde, but so many people have that in common. Is that look like her?

――I saw her likeness in the hairline and part.

face: That’s good (laughs). It was quite difficult? However, I had to turn part of the head upside down. What would to the overall balance from this change? I did it out of curiosity, but I think it made it cuter. I saw a pleasing Asian feel in the body part and left it.

――Both products exude expression and cuteness. Do you have any problems with the style of this face?

face: I’ve been drawing this facial motif for a long time, so when I want to create a different feeling or a little more style, I sometimes feel frustrated that I can’t do it. After all, this face is pretty and part of pop culture. To broaden my view of the world, I also draw experimental pieces with gradients with shading. They are three-dimensional and was going to show them at a solo exhibition scheduled for May. However, it was postponed due to the new coronavirus.

――Did the COVID-19 affect your activities?

face: I’ve never changed the feel or the way I make my work, but the postponement of my solo exhibition was mentally damaging. I had been planned for a year and I’ve been producing pieces from the start of the year. For six months, I decided to continue working face-to-face with my paintings, and I continued to draw in my studio. It was my first experience doing this and I enjoyed it. I wanted to hold the solo exhibition in May so many people could enjoy my work. I thought my my field would expand, so perhaps I’m a bit hazed.

――What was the theme of the your solo exhibition?

face: Honestly, the theme was “Japanese lulled by peace.” That wasn’t made public until now. However, when I held my solo exhibition in May, I thought it would be good to show it in early March. I thought I’d make it the theme for my solo exhibition. However, with the global pandemic, it has become a little difficult implement. Lulled by peace is not ironic anymore. Even under these circumstances, I want to express myself fully while looking for a new approach.

Illustrator and artist. He has published in fashion magazines such as Richardson and SNEEZE Magazine. He is also known for collaborations with fashion brands such as HUMAN MADE®︎ and adidas.

Photography Takaki Iwata
Text Ryo Tajima



Born in Tokyo in July 2020. With the theme of “The message of Japanese cutting edge culture to the world," We have been working in music, art, photography, in addition to all genres of culture, including fashion, beauty, and food, the social stance to communicate with readers. And digital media, magazines and e-stores. We will transmit information from Tokyo, the center of Japanese culture to the world.