As Long as I Can Draw, I’m an Artist: Illustrator Mio Ogasawara




Until I Find My Own Style

I’ve had the privilege of interviewing a lot of different illustrators, and it’s truly made me think about the meaning of “different strokes for different folks”. Some make illustrations that are fine and delicate, like carved glass, and some create art so full of power they’re like a pro-wrestler attacking with a lariat. 


For today’s interviewee, Mio Ogasawara, it’s like her art has a voice, like it twinkles.


“Thank you! It seems like you felt the part of me that is attracted to anime rather than manga. I like to make an effort to draw clear lines and use distinct colors.”


Oh, I see! Now that you mention it, it does look like it could move right off the page. 


Original Illustration


Original Illustration


“This kind of art has changed over time, don’t you think? In the past, drawing a touch of determination in the eyes was all the rage, but then they became more delicate, and now they’re a little stronger again. I think I employ what I can from those transitions in my own art to create my own style.”


To be able to simply say, “This is my art” is really cool. To have not only your own personality or ideas, but your own art style…Honestly, I’d love to say that this article is “My writing!!” but I can’t help but feel I haven’t made it there yet. That’s why I respect any creator who can claim a drawing, writing, photo, or song as their own style. 


Mio Ogasawara’s workspace


“In the beginning, it’s fine to copy others. Like if you like one artist’s method of coloring, and another’s lines…If you mix up the styles you like, your own style will eventually develop.”


A corner of Ogawasara-sensei’s workspace. It’s one of her favorite spots, apparently. Very stylish!!


Her home idol: Yukki!




How Experiencing Her Own Expression Led to Art

Ogasawara is now earning a livelihood through her art by drawing commissions for businesses and individuals. But when did she decide to become a full-time artist?


“I’ve been drawing ever since I was in daycare. I showed my drawings to a girl in my class who told me that they were good, and then she became my friend. That’s how I slowly built my circle of acquaintances. Junior high school was when I naturally began to think about drawing for work.”


Around that time, art might have been less a work of creative intent and more a way for Ogasawara to express her feelings. 


Alkaloid from Ensemble Stars


Trickstar from Ensemble Stars


“But, when I was in high school I joined the theater club. I was a director, worked on lights, acted…I did all kinds of things there. When I think about it, I think that those experiences became really useful in my art. I learned a lot, like how people’s expressions change depending on the emotions they’re feeling, how their bodies move when they’re carrying something heavy, or how the light changes during sunset.”


It’s true that every facial expression moves the muscles differently. Because she performed in plays and created things herself, Ogasawara’s voice comes through even in a single picture. 


Main visual for Love♡Ticket



Main visual for Love♡Ticket



Boat Race Comprehensive Media Macours Presents the original characters from Love♡Ticket


Currently planning for video streaming and a goods sale as Boat Race PR. 


Manga: Akari Komori
Main Visual: Mio Ogasawara


-Macour’s Homepage



-Love♡Ticket’s Homepage



-Love♡Ticket’s Twitter





First Memories of Being a Doujin

As Ogasawara accomplished her middle-school dream of becoming a professional illustrator, so too, did she become active as a doujin. 


“Someone I knew on Twitter said they were going to have a booth at a Pokémon event, and without thinking I was like ‘Me too!’ But even though I’d worked as an illustrator and had been drawing as a hobby for years, I’d never made a book and I didn’t know anything about printing, so it was pretty haphazard. At that time I was writing a Pokémon fan manga, and it was really challenging, but a lot of people who read it told me it’s ‘more like watching anime than reading manga’. It’s a good memory for me because I was so happy that I could share the things I loved with others.”


Virgil from Pokémon (Ogasawara’s favorite character and the reason for her event debut)


Virgil and Davey from Pokémon




What It Takes to Become an Illustrator

Lastly, we asked Ogasawara to give us advice for those aspiring to bear the title of illustrator. 


“Being an illustrator is less of something to aspire to and more a lifestyle. The moment you accept a request from someone and put your all into drawing it, you’re an illustrator. Especially since there are so many venues to accept work through on the Internet. The only thing I would say is that, once you give yourself the title of illustrator, it’s good to hold yourself to a set of standards. One thing I know for sure is that, as long as you don’t give up drawing, you’ll always be an artist. Personally I’m concentrating on holding onto that idea, and continuing to draw as I accomplish more and more.”


Pandora Party Project production illustration


Pandora Party Project production illustration




Pandora Party Project © Mio Ogasawara / Re:version





  • Mio Ogasawara

Twitter: @Miomio_smile


Twitter (fanart account):@Pokemio69


Website: https://angelicjellybeans.wixsite.com/mionohi


pixiv: https://www.pixiv.net/users/1343023




Original Illustration




Shiro Sato

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