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Hiro Kurata talks about illustration and recommends books

Hiro Kurata talks about comics, illustrating a book, and sketching people…

READERSVOICE.COM: What sort of work do Mashcomix make?

HIRO KURATA: Mashcomix is a manga comic book issued once a year.

About 80 pages, 10-12 different stories in one issue.

RV: Where are they based, and how did you get involved with this group of manga artists?

HK: Mashcomix is based in Tokyo.

It started from 5-7 people who were classmates at Tokyo Art University, in around 2001.

Now there are about 13 people involved and I joined them two years ago, through a friend.

RV: What manga stories have you drawn and written and what were they about?

HK: For the last issue, me and my friend KSK wrote a story called “Orion”.

The story was about two boys’ journey.

I write with the pen name “Shoe-Shine”.

RV: Your bio said you were influenced by Greek myths, baseball cards and Bikuri-Man stickers.

What is Bikuri-Man? What do you like about all these things?

HK: Bikuri-Man is a freebie from a chocolate snack in Japan, in the 80’s.

Each sticker was an illustration of monsters and super heroes.

I guess I love listening/reading and also making stories and myths.

RV: In the Spring of 2004 you went to Europe. What countries did you visit and what did you do while you were there?

HK: I went to Paris/ Rome/ Venice / London.

I mostly drew and visited the famous tourist spots.

RV: You have a couple of sketches from the Burger King in Munchen Airport. How long did you sit drawing the pictures? Were they of people you saw walking around or imagination?

HK: I don’t remember how long it took, but most of my sketches are through my head.

RV: Do you often go walking around Brooklyn sketching people and things?

HK: No. I do not go sketching but mostly just walking and refreshing.

RV: Where do you find the construction wood and metal that you sometimes paint on?

HK: These are found through my adventures during my walks.

RV: What paper do you use when you do ink brush work?

HK: Any paper that’s close to me.

RV: What sorts of media do you like to use the most and why?

HK: I love drawing on old construction wood, I love gesso, acrylic, India ink, graphite, Pilot pens.

RV: Have you finished your book Will, which you were illustrating?

HK: No. Not yet.

RV: How did you meet your friend KSK, who wrote the song Will is based on, and who is he or she?

HK: He is an old friend of mine. Now living in Tokyo, making music.

RV: What is the story about?

HK: Will is a song KSK made, maybe 4-5 years ago.

The song is about a boy named Will, growing up by loving and hating someone.

RV: What steps do you take to draw each of the colorful illustrations in the book? What medium and paper do you use?

HK: I first picked up a single phrase from the song, like “Fuck me Lady and I go”.

And it’s illustrated by brainstorming through the phrases.

Most of them were acrylic on canvas.

RV: What plans do you have for the book?

HK: Actually, I have no plans. It’s been 3 years since I’ve finished it and it was about time to start forgetting about it in fact.

But I’m sure me and KSK will make a book in the near future!