Asami Hagiwara Answers Your Questions
Thanks for the wait! Asami Hagiwara's responses have been translated and here's what she had to say with regard to your questions:
Can you tell us a little bit about what inspired you to become an artist, what projects you have worked on, and how you were able to get noticed as an artist?
One of my acquaintances really got me to begin drawing art. Prior to Project Phoenix, I've usually worked as an illustrator on advertisements or did project direction and other smaller projects which were more commercially-oriented than creating art. Project Phoenix marks the first time I've ever worked on a project of such scale as an artist, though I've also debuted as a manga artist for a commerce magazine in 2013.
How did you get involved in Project Phoenix? Which is the main inspiration for your work in this project?
Mr. Yura invited me to work on the project and I actually didn’t even imagine that this project would grow so big in the beginning.
As it is my first time taking part in game development, I've listened carefully to other illustrators’ thoughts. Also, since Mr. Yura has a very detailed idea of the final image of the game, there are many times where I try to bring the designs as close as possible to his thoughts.
Most of your drawings for Project Phoenix have been in “chibi-style.”Since chibi-style characters are viewed as being "cute", do you find it challenging to express a more "serious" tone through chibi art, when it comes to characters like Marcus?
I am told “not to draw for children”, but perhaps because I myself am very childish, the characters I draw always end up having cute faces.
So, in that sense, there are times that I feel it is hard to express a more “serious” tone. (I must become more adult-like!)
When you’re drawing a character for the first time, what information do you like to be given?And when you draw a character, do you have a vision in mind for how you’d like the characters to sound when they are speaking?Have you ever gotten to choose a voice for one of your characters?
Of course, it is necessary to have a detailed image decided in advance, but I always draw a character imagining their backgrounds/voices/personalities/etc.
Even though I do think about things like a character's voice, I haven’t had an opportunity yet to choose a character’s voice. However there have been times when other members considered my ideas for a character’s background or completely had a different idea compared to what I imagined, and it is always interesting to see how we come to an agreement on those ideas.
Can you describe the process you go through as you take a character from the concept stage and translate the character into a finished drawing?
Firstly, I will ask the person who has the idea about the character’s background. Then I will draw on paper the first image that comes to my mind.
Then, I will try to gather as many materials to learn from. As I read through the materials, I will have thoughts such as “this might be better~” or “oh, there are other ways as well~” and re-design my rough drawings and add on to my initial drafts.
As soon as I have a solid image and feel “this is it!” I will begin arranging the proportions of the drawings and finish up.
With the game so early in development, it is difficult to know the extent to which the 3D models will be detailed. With that being said, is there a part of you that hopes to see extremely detailed and layered 3D-modeled chibi characters?
Having a complete idea from the beginning may be important, but first, I would like to roughly decide on the designs and line up all of the characters.
What equipment/software do you use?
I use Photoshop and Clip Studio Paint.
Do you have any advice for those who want to do manga/chibi/moe style drawings?What knowledge, skills, and abilities should I work on to become a better artist?And do you have a favorite anime or manga?
My first piece of advice is to see all sorts of things and to go outside. (It’s easy to be stuck at home…)
I spend so much more time looking at things than actually drawing. I also tend to procrastinate so it is better to set up your own targets/deadlines and draw. I would like to slowly absorb new ways of drawing and if I am a better illustrator in ten years, I will be very happy.
My favorite anime are Ghost in a Shell and Jewelpet. I also like much of the Japanese subculture manga from the 90s.
Do you have any artists you look up to in particular, both in Japan and abroad?
I don’t have any one in particular that I like.
What are some surprising things you’ve learned about yourself while you are drawing?
I was surprised about how much I did not like drawing and that there are so many people out there in the world that love to draw. This makes me feel overwhelmed so that I want to keep on learning and growing as an artist.
As you are drawing the faces of your little characters, do you ever pull your own face to match their expression?Do you ever stick your tongue out or have any fun quirks while you draw?
I think you can definitely see my personality in my drawings. I am unconsciously making the same face as I draw certain facial expressions.
Hope you enjoyed Hagiwara-san's responses!