Seiichi reveals the technique behind his particularly textured illustrations
With a portfolio of its own, you might be surprised to learn that the Japan-based illustrator Seiichi only started drawing three years ago. In fact, it was after winning an award in a leading Japanese illustration competition that he began to take an interest in the medium, which resulted in “more and more requests” for his work. and, consequently, an expanding portfolio. And before that, he studied textiles at Chelsea College of Art in London, followed by returning to Japan to start working as a full-time textile designer. This textile experience becomes very apparent throughout her work – it is quaint, daring, and can be easily seen in magazines, books, and fabrics.
In terms of where he draws his inspiration from, Seiichi explains that he has a great love for sequential patterns, “from traditional designs such as William Morris to the graphically strong and colorful designs of street fashion brands”. Then there are great artists like David Hockney and his “own fashion” which completely inspires Seiichi’s work. “I also love the shapes of children’s toys and Christmas decorations. There are so many things that inspire me, but in general I like things that are clean and bright.”
With these influences in tow, Seiichi is able to shape his own unique style – one that is naÃ¯ve and playful just as much as it is crisp and clean. He fabricates his parts through “accidental discovery” which one day happened when he spilled airbrush paint cleaning fluid on his desk and wiped it “hastily” with a piece of paper. âThen what was printed on the paper was transferred to the desk,â he recalls. A nice accident, and since then he has used a cleaning liquid to create his images.
In one of Seiichi’s recent artwork, a unicorn is featured on the page in a surprisingly monochrome splash of gray. This creature, alongside the horses, are two of the illustrator’s signature motifs. âIt’s because I received an award the first time I submitted an illustration of the same drawing of a horse to a competition,â he says. And when it is not the four-legged animal, he will otherwise turn to toys and Christmas decorations, which are the other two favorite motifs he likes to draw inspiration from. “I would like to use these designs to create 3D ceramic and glass objects.”
Elsewhere, Seiichi illustrated the most human form: a sailor. Another regular motif of him, he says, âI am very drawn to the neatness of the sailor’s uniform. I am also drawn to the simple shapes of the mass-produced toys created by omitting details for various reasons such as the cost, so when I design a person’s shape, I try to leave out details like I’m designing a mass-produced toy. For example, I wonder if that shape would be dangerous if it got into a person’s mouth. a child.
You can easily see Seiichi’s illustration work transferred to the physical world of toys – and textiles, for that matter – as the lines, shapes and contours are effortlessly smooth and connected. It gives off a textured, tactile feel that almost makes it seem like it was a physical object by origin. But would Seiichi have achieved such quality without the accidental dropping of the cleaning fluid? We like to think so. âWhen designers and other people in the industry see my work, they’re often interested in the texture that my unique technique brings,â he says. “I am very particular about the texture of my paintings.”