[Manga artist: Irio Hino] “Even if it’s not your strong suit, if you draw it with passion you can express anything through manga.”
As our name suggests, Doujin World is a strong supporter of the doujin community. We’re non-profit and advocate for the ideals of amateur artists. However, these days with the boundaries between the doujin and professional world becoming more and more ambiguous, we strive to seek the professional perspective as well.
Therefore! Let us introduce… The gorgeous manga artist… Irio Hino!!!
Irio Hino teaching me the ropes of being a professional manga artist
“Like I said, stop it with the “gorgeous” thing!! It’s definitely not my brand and it’s really not like me at all!!”
You have my heartfelt apology…. So let’s pivot from this topic and get down to brass tacks. Before becoming a professional, were you active in the doujin community?
A Shocking Introduction to Manga
“Well, I didn’t do activities like making doujin comics and selling them at Comiket, however people have been drawing manga since the olden days. That being said, I have been drawing manga since I was around ten years old. I used to really like creating stories.”
Wow! I didn’t know that you had been drawing manga since childhood, but then again that must be where your ability to draw so beautifully comes from.
“The first time I created a story was when I was eight years old; I drew a picture book. My dream was to become a novelist and be able to personally draw the illustrations. At that time, I went to English conversation classes, and it was there that I first learned about manga.I think it was “Ranma ½”. I was amazed that the picture and the story were on the page together; this is what I had been looking for! I was absolutely enamoured.”
A twist of faith, perhaps? And from there your passion flourished.
“As I got older and climbed to the upper grades of elementary school, I was randomly chosen to be the “manga officer” in charge of the class. My duties were to put new manga every week in a place like the bulletin board at the back of the classroom.”
To everyone reading this I ask you, was there a position like this when you were all in school? Not for us! An elementary student aspiring to be a manga artist, being selected as the manga officer for the class means that you had a weekly serial!
Getting to Know the Professional Tools of a Manga Artist
“At that time, I thought manga artists were drawing with fountain pens, but a friend of mine told me, “Professionals use nib pens!” I thought “What? What’s a “nib pen?”” So I went to an art shop and bought a bunch of nib pens to try them out. They were really difficult for me to use at the beginning. I couldn’t even draw a proper line and the ink was dripping all over the place. It was pretty troubling.”
The only way to master professional manga tools is practice, practice, practice!
And even through all of this, you practiced to master these instruments without giving up. At the same time, learning how to use screen tones too. Speaking of which, what kind of manga did you draw?
“I liked cute animals back then… as well as Pokemon. I don’t know why but I wasn’t interested in drawing humans, so I would do things like give four-legged animal characters swords. Haha! Some of my friends told me that I had a weird sense of aesthetic.”
Huh? Walking on four legs, but still holding a sword? We here are very interested in experiencing that unique world view, but it’s definitely difficult to imagine.
“Well, I couldn’t really draw humans so I practised, but up until then I was exclusively drawing manga that people didn’t appear in. Of course that’s no good, so I started to come up with more stories that included people in them. Even if it’s not your strong suit, if you draw it with passion you can express anything through manga.”
What challenges did you face being a female manga artist?
Even you, Ms. HIno, who has lived a life saturated in manga, have said that it was tough to break into the industry.
“After graduating college I worked as an assistant. I was really surprised at the difference between professional manuscripts compared to amatuer ones; it was night and day.
My mentor taught me how to draw, it was out of the ordinary for sure but they were really kind and helped me out. On top of earning money, I was motivated to practise what I had learned on the job, even practising on my days off. It’s because of that, I was able to make a living with my skills after my first position.
That being said, there was this preconception that women don’t draw backgrounds as cleanly as men do simply because they are women. I was working at a youth magazine for a time. Separate from my mentor who gave me the job, there was an assistant who frequently took the stance that “there’s no way” I could draw backgrounds for my mentor because I’m a girl and said other disappointing things.
It’s times like those that I think about again and again…. and I use that to draw my own manga scenarios. Even after my boss told me that I had become a professional and received the Rookie of the Year Award, I stayed focused and didn’t get caught up in all of that.
All together I’ve had 7 unsuccessful projects. Some people might think that’s a lot and some people might think that a little; it’s all a matter of opinion.”
For sure, I think that we all must be aware of the thought process “Because they’re a woman…” and the prejudice it can hold.
“During that time I thought of just job hunting for something to provide stability. However, while I was looking for jobs I noticed that my position as an assistant wasn’t being taken into account as part of my employment history and I was hearing that for men who had worked in the same position, their time as an assistant was being taken into account.”
Left: Mai Tsurugina. The author of works like “The Chef”, “Female Doctor Reika” and many others. Mr. Tsurugina’s new script is being used to fuel an upcoming project. Look forward to it!!
Life As A Professional
It seems that you’ve really persevered and debuted in spite of the hardships thrown at you because you’re a woman.
“Of course everyone dreams of drawing their own manga and having a shining debut, however that dream is what it is; a dream. More than that I strive to grasp any opportunity I can and find my own joy, my own dream within each and every chance. I put myself out there and I enjoy every second of it. Then again it’s possible this may be a money-oriented mindset.”
There is a clear difference between the professional and the doujin community; do you continue to do only what you like or do you go out and find something you like? This may be the decisive difference. If you’re a doujin artist aiming to become a professional, it may be good to think about Ms. Hino’s words.
We want to buy each and every volume of your manga!
Irio Hino’s Social’s:
Having started an advertising production company in 2010 whose main business partner is a mail order company, he specialises in direct response advertising.