【Illustrator/PV Animator】吉田ドンドリアン / ヨシツギ (YOSHIDA Dondorian / YOSHITSUGI)

I’m aliv-

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Hatsune Miku from Crypton’s Character Vocal Series. Original line art for this available at illustrator’s Pixiv.

吉田ドンドリアン (YOSHIDA Dondorian), also known professionally under ヨシツギ (YOSHITSUGI), is an up-and-coming illustrator best known on Pixiv for her distinctive and abstract watercolour style. She has also forayed into illustrating and compiling videos for Vocaloid songs on niconico, the most recent of which was for river’s アン・イノセンス (Un-Innocence). In addition to illustrating for leisure, she has also drawn artwork professionally for various publications, such as Kodansha’s Faust magazine and Megami Creators, and has made a website, done art direction, drawn artwork, and done CD jacket design for two of Voltage of Imagination’s CDs’ sites. Yoshida’s birthday is on December 21st, resides in Chiba Prefecture, Japan, likes to paint and illustrate with analog tools and techniques, and when working digitally, uses Adobe Photoshop CS3 on Windows Vista.

Yoshida’s style is of a relatively abstract and watercolour-like style that incorporates many vibrant colours, little to no shading and quite a bit of subtle and faded floral patterns. She almost exclusively draws female characters, but unlike most JPN illustrators, she gives little precedence on characters’ faces and expressions, and rather strives to create a spectacle with the entire picture as a whole, taking more priority in colour, composition, and theme. Her characters’ eyes are very round, and they typically sport only subdued or calm expressions. They are also drawn in static poses most of the time, with characters either standing, falling, or floating(?), but these types of arrangements really do add to the peaceful and calm atmosphere that most of her illustrations give off. The fact that Yoshida doesn’t employ traditional shading techniques is also a unique feature, and as a substitution to the absence of shading, she instead indicates depth by layering darker colours on the lighter ones and melding them together for a gradual and delicate effect. She also uses lightly coloured, sometimes faded lines to enhance this look.

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Macne Nana as depicted in 月ノ魚 (Tsuki no Sakana) by 一本勝負P(IpponshoubuP).

Other than the background-less, single-character style, Yoshida is also capable of producing another style where she often draws an undetailed character put against an near-abstract background splashed with solid colour. In this style, Yoshida usually combines deep, dark colours against vibrant, practically neon shades to make a statement, and in many cases she makes use of only one main colour and their respective shades. The highest recurring primary colour used in these works seems to be blue. Colour coordination is unique, but the contrast in colours may sometimes be a little too strong. As well, Yoshida makes a lot less use of the transparent qualities prominently seen in her character-focused artwork, but when she combines her two styles, the results are quite stunning (See the image above this paragraph).

It is worthwhile to note that about half of Yoshida’s works are non-digitally done with colour ink, which is why there’s noticeable colour bleeding in most pictures, and why she also seems to have a good understanding of how to emulate the bleed and transparent effects in digital works as well. Moreover, Yoshida’s artwork may be slightly reminiscent of shimeko’s (しめ子 at Pixiv) style at first, but Yoshida’s are quite a bit more natural (in both analog and digital examples) as shimeko’s style has no bleed, more sharp, clean lines, and everything is much softer and blurred – all of which are small clues that hint at the digitality of shimeko’s illustrations. (For two digital examples, Yoshida | shimeko. Note the points at which the soft colours fade into white – Yoshida’s has more spread and dark edges at the end before becoming white.)

Lastly, Yoshida’s PV style is as creative and sometimes as abstract as her illustrations, but they mostly employ basic animation effects and a high number of static illustrations. Despite the supposed and deceiving simplicity of execution, the PV for Un-Innocence is perhaps one of the most artistic and original Vocaloid PVs out there. Please take a look.

Essential Works – PV:
1. アン・イノセンス (Un-Innocence) (niconico link) **Highly Recommended**
2. Colchicum! (niconico link)
3. 月ノ魚 (Tsuki no Sakana/Fish of the Moon) (niconico link)

Website: http://sekitou.sub.jp
Blog: http://bye.sekitou.sub.jp
Pixiv: http://www.pixiv.net/member.php?id=251864
Piapro: http://piapro.jp/yoshi_nba
Twitter: http://twitter.com/Hello_World_

【Vocaloid Composer】れるりり (rerulili)

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れるりり (rerulili) is a very new composer in the Vocaloid scene, with only three original songs posted on niconico, where the first one, いつもより泣き虫な空 (Itsumo yori Nakimushi na Sora/A Sky Who’s Being a Bigger Crybaby Than Usual), was posted in September 2009. However, his first song is of extremely high quality, and is one of the best examples of Vocaloid vocal tuning done right. rerulili is also known as 当社比P (ToushahiP/”Compared to this company’s older products”P) since in the description for NakiSora, he wrote that it was 「初音ミク至高のバラード(当社比)です。」/”This is a Hatsune Miku Surpreme Ballad (compared to this company’s older products)”. His videos are also sometimes tagged with 至高の人 (Shikou no Hito/The Surpreme Person) in reference to that line. rerulili resides in Tokyo, Japan, used to be the bassist for a band called LaBluzu (PV on Youtube), and mainly records songs with a live piano, guitar, and bass, and a synthesized drum. “rerulili” is his own romanization for his username.

rerulili’s quite versatile, as he tackles different genres with each song he produces. So far, he has forayed into making a ballad (いつもより泣き虫な空/NakiSora), Funk (なんで?/Nande?), pop (朝が来て/Asa ga Kite), and many other genres are covered in the songs currently posted exclusively at Piapro. His work also has a pretty authentic sound when compared to other composers’ songs, and by that I mean that the intrumentals sound a little more natural and real, and this is mostly due to the fact that he actually uses real intruments, rather than synthesizing a whole “band” with midi like most one-man producers. (To be honest, though, the drums sounded pretty real to me, and I can’t usually tell the difference.) Most notable, however, is how he tunes the vocals for each Vocaloid. They all sound extremely natural and has little rigidity, if at all, and it’s this point that makes his work stand out the most, as he can even make the Kagamine twins sing naturally and flexibly, despite the fact that they are usually quite hard to properly tune. He seems to have a large repertoire of Vocaloid2 software, and has so far used all the ones from Crypton – Miku, Rin and Len, and Luka. In addition to letting Vocaloids sing his songs, he also does self covers where he quite skillfully sings them himself. I found his version of Asa ga Kite to be better than the original Miku version, and I hope that he does more covers of his own songs.

In addition to posting on niconico, he also posts new original songs quite frequently on Piapro, and he has more songs on there than on niconico, since he hopes to recruit artists to provide high quality artwork for all of his videos. He also starts project pages on Piapro enlisting help with drawing artwork and putting together videos for each of his songs. The ongoing one right now is for “JOY RIDE”.

Essential Works:
1. いつもより泣き虫な空 (Itsumo yori Nakimushi na Sora/A Sky Who’s Being a Bigger Crybaby Than Usual) niconico link / rerulili self cover niconico link **1st and Representative Work**
2. スカイペインター (Sky Painter) Piapro link
3. 朝が来て (Asa ga Kite/Morning Arrives) niconico link / rerulili self cover niconico link

Mylist: http://www.nicovideo.jp/mylist/16274546
Piapro: http://piapro.jp/rerulili
Blog: http://ameblo.jp/rerulili
Twitter: http://twitter.com/rerulili
Audioleaf: http://www.audioleaf.com/rerulili (Self-covers as a solo artist)

【Illustrator】Sou

Finally!

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Sou is an amateur illustrator and doujin manga artist from Indonesia. Also known as Kunisaki on Deviantart, she is currently studying in college, is fluent in English, likes The Little Prince, and seems to prefer drawing with pencil than with her Wacom Graphire 3 tablet. Her birthday is on December 2nd, and uses SAI, Photoshop CS, and Painter X for digital illustration. She also releases her own short original manga and sells it at conventions, usually in Singapore or Malaysia, and participates in anthologies and other doujin publications with other artists on Deviantart.

Sou’s illustrations are very easy to recognize as they all have vibrant and lively colours, an incredible amount of detail, very elaborate and elegant clothing designs, and a lot of original accessories that go with the clothing. Her subjects are usually of female or young male characters, and draws mainly original art, sometimes fanart. Her style is mostly of the anime-type style, where characters have relatively large, glossy eyes and undetailed faces, but Sou is capable of diverging from this and can also detail actual noses and lips. She usually draws solid lines (usually in pencil first) with lots of detail, showing actual strands and layers in the hair and many folds in clothing, and she usually colours in the lines digitally. The detail on Sou’s pencil drawings are astonishing as even her supposed doodles (or scribbles) look absolutely lovely, complete with light shading and distinct lines.

Her colouring style never sticks to one palette, and even uses normally clashing shades in many pieces of her artwork, but are always extraordinarily well-coordinated. The colouring for hair is usually smooth, has quite a few of highlights, and is clearly layered, but the rest, like clothing, are coloured with coloured, rounded spots that give it a bubbly and floaty look. It’s really hard to describe, but the result is very pretty and unique. Unlike a lot of artists nowdays, though, Sou doesn’t abuse those white spots to add shine, and instead skillfully places and slightly blends the lighter colour shades with the darker ones, giving it a natural and more gradual shine. The general composition of her artwork is really incredible too, as it’s always varied, has different themes, and her characters seem to have a wide array of expressions and poses, which I immensely appreciate since it really gives life to her work and distinguishes it from the work of other artists. This attention to composition seems to apply to her sketches too! Furthermore, she can also draw really nice backgrounds as well as design monsters, in addition to the usual humanoid subjects.

All in all, Sou is definitely an artist to look out for, and is fast becoming one of my favourites, if she isn’t one already. I really wish that she was more popular on Pixiv as I honestly never tire of seeing her art, and that she would be as well-known in the Japanese illustration scene as other international artists such as kl and Kurot. Just really superb work. Please take a look, and comment on her art blog if you like her work! The descriptions above will never do her artwork enough justice.

Art blog: http://community.livejournal.com/papermachina/
Deviantart: http://kunisaki.deviantart.com
Pixiv: http://www.pixiv.net/member.php?id=236775