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Nohana Haruka

Ms. Nohana is a Japanese illustrator born in 1989. She has published various picture books for children such as "Takusan Takusan Hitsuji", "Usagi Marathon" and "Penguin Cruise". She uses Copic products for coloring her books.

Today we got the chance to interview her about how she uses Copic and works on illustration bookmaking.

"It all started with a scout from a publisher."

“A snippet of Ms. Nohana’s first illustrated book "Takusan takusan Hitsuji".
We were able to see her notes then and her first studies about Copic coloring.”

How did you start your career?
A publisher scouted me when they saw my illustrations at an exhibition at my college.

So, you didn't plan to become an illustrator at first.
When the publisher scouted me, I remembered how much I loved illustration books during my childhood. However, I didn't have much experience in drawing since my courses didn't require drawing.

It's rare to start drawing from college. Why did you adopt Copic as your base tool for your illustrations?
Brushes and watercolors are not my cup of tea. It's a bother to mix the colors to create the exact same tone every time. I chose Copic because they have the stable, same color no matter where I buy it or when I use it, and they are easy to use. I was almost a beginner using Copic at the start of my career.

How did you learn to use Copic? 
It takes time and experience to color evenly. At first, I was careful about the color streaks, so I used color pencils over Copic to hide the uneven colored parts of the illustrations. To improve at using Copic, I watched vidoes of other artists and researched my coloring technique. The color streaks have become one of the Copic perks for me today. 

What are the first colors you picked? What are your three favorite colors?
I picked dull, pastel colors at first since they are pretty and easy to use. My favorite color is B32. I recommend B00, Y11, and R20 for beginners because you can blend, mix and explore with them, unlike darker colors.

What type of paper do you use for your works?
I always use PM Pad for my drawings. A2 size is the perfect fit for me since the base pictures for the illustration books are big. The soft finish and the colors don't blur, make the PM Pad my favorite paper because I make very detailed illustrations.

About "Detective Wanmes."

I read your "Meitantei Wanmes" (Detective Wanmes) book before this interview. It's so refreshing to see the case getting resolved even before the main character notices it.
I wanted to make a "finding hidden picture” kind of book at first, but it didn't go well. My editor told me the story was lacking in the “investigation” aspect, so I made a story that resolves by itself even if the main character doesn't do anything.

What was the hardest part of the creation process?
My drawings are detailed; therefore, inking is the hardest part of the creation process. If I try to ink when not in the best condition, the art lines won't come out as desired, so I try my best to concentrate when inking my illustrations.

Did you get lost in choosing the colors for your illustrated book?
I couldn't decide on the Wanmes jacket color. At first, I thought to use brown since it's the classic detective coat color. However, during the experimental phase, the main character just dissolved in the background. After some trial and error, I chose blue as Wanmes color. I used colored pencils over Copic to make the jacket pattern.

Thank you so much for giving us the chance to hear about your work, from the character making to coloring techniques. Pick up Ms. Nohana's illustration books to see her beautiful and heartwarming illustrations.

No matter how many times you open the pages, you will find something new in Ms. Nohana's work. Please take a look at her book for yourself. Even if you've read it once, there may be more details you've missed!

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