[Interview with artist itabamoe] What is the definitive difference between an illustrator and an artist?

table of contents


image of itabamoe's work

Hello everyone. This is GOSUKE, the manager of MONOLiTH, a contemporary art online shopping site.

The partner of this artist interview is itabamoe.

Mr. itabamoe, who has been active as an illustrator for advertisements for various companies and magazines, what kind of thoughts did he start working as an artist? What is the difference between illustration and art?

I asked a lot of questions, and I was able to speak frankly.

artist profile


itabamoe's profile picture

After graduating from a fashion college, he started his career as a fashion designer.

After that, I was strongly attracted to the world of magazines and advertisements, and in 2015 I became an illustrator. We work on various collaborative products such as illustrations, advertisements, apparel, cosmetics, food, miscellaneous goods, femtech goods, etc.

In 2021, she started her artist activities to pursue the beauty of the women she draws, which she felt during her career. Create works with the theme of "good woman" that you think.

image of itabamoe's work

image of itabamoe's work

image of itabamoe's work itabamoe's Instagram

Click here for itabamoe's Instagram

artist interview

What does itabamoe think of as a “good woman”?

ーーI believe that you are creating works with the theme of “good woman”.

I originally went to fashion school, and my job was to design clothes, but from that time on, I often drew women's bodies in design drawings.
After that, I started working as an illustrator, and since then I've been drawing women's magazines and women's motifs, and last year was my 7th year.

So, for some reason, I wanted to express myself a little more, and I wanted to express in a different way from illustrations. Drawing a woman is the same, but I want to express it in a different way.

So, instead of being an illustrator based on client work, I wanted to work as an artist who draws what I want to draw, so I started my current activities.

However, for the past year or so, I haven't been able to sort out why I want to do it, but the other day, I was able to talk with Mr. Onoda (* the author) and Mr. Zoe who explains art (*). I feel like I finally got it together while talking at that time (laughs)

thank you very much!

Thank you very much!

*What is Art Commentary Zo-san?

Those who explain the basic knowledge of art works and art on Instagram and Twitter. With a background as a former elementary school art teacher, he has a wealth of knowledge about art and an artistic perspective. Art Commentary Suruzo's posts are all about learning, and I am also learning every day.

Click here for Instagram of art commentary
Click here for Art Commentary on Twitter


Up until now, I've worked with companies, and without realizing it, I'm the kind of perfect woman that companies want. There are things like that, and without knowing it, even if I don't know it, I have a fixed concept in myself, like, 'Women have to be like this.' It has to be... I realized that such a concept was built into me.

However, since I'm still doing the activity of drawing illustrations, it would be nice if I could create a new way of drawing women that is different from the image of women that society and companies want.

ーーThat's right, when I talked with itaba last week, in my client work, I've drawn an image of women that society wants, but the image of women I think of is more realistic, and it's not just what I want. When I heard about it, I thought it was a really cool concept.

Thank you!

ーーThank you very much! Did itaba-san draw characters other than women?

Well, I don't have many, because when I trace the origin of my drawings, there are design drawings from my school days, and there are parts that are like extensions of the women's clothing that I drew in the design drawings.

Well, I do draw couples and cosmetics in the occasional work I get, but the base is a woman.

ーーIt seems that the background you have learned is alive and well, and it is based on that.

Well, if you noticed something, you could say that it was like that.

ーーWhen you look at itaba-san's work after meeting him in person, you can really feel the "itaba-like" look. Will it still be self-projected?

I don't think I'm projecting myself, but I'm drawing a woman who is biologically the same, so when I'm worried about posing, I do it myself in front of the mirror (laughs)

So I don't know, I'm somewhat similar, but rather I may be closer to the picture (lol)

How I established my current style

ーーHow did your current style of drawing with simple lines come to be established?

I feel that the place where I entered from the design image was big. I think that in design drawings, the lines of the person themselves are often thinned to make the clothes stand out. Even now, I change the touch and art materials for clothes depending on the material.

image of itabamoe's work
itabamoe's Instagram

If the line of the person and the line of the clothes are the same, I feel a sense of incongruity.

ーーThat's right. Did the illustration itself come from a long time ago?

I have always liked drawing. When I was in elementary school, there was an art college prep school near my house, and they held classes for children, and I was taught drawing and oil painting.

At that time, I thought that I liked oil painting quite a bit, so I would like to use it in my works in the future. It feels like it's been decades (laughs).

ーーYou also have experience with oil painting. Are you currently using acrylic paint?

I agree.

ーーI think that you often draw with acrylic paints on canvas and digitally on an iPad, etc. Is there a difference in the feeling of drawing and the way you draw?

Originally I used to draw with a pen, so when I first used acrylic paint for the exhibition, I felt quite uncomfortable.

However, I wanted to cherish the atmosphere of the lines drawn with the pen, so now I intentionally make the lines uneven so that the paper feels rough while drawing with the brush. I draw because I want to make it look like a pen.

image of itabamoe's work

As an image of the finish, it's surprisingly not that far. I just draw with the hope that I can show more strength by becoming a canvas.

ーーI see. Also, the sense of size is quite different between digital and analog. Many of itaba's works are large, so I wondered if he had a hard time with that.

That's right, but once I drew it big, it became fun to draw big (laughs)
When you draw with a brush, you can express fine details.

ーーIsn't it quite difficult to draw small things big?

It would have been difficult if it had been from pen to pen, but after changing from pen to brush, I was surprisingly calm. You draw lines that are easy to draw with each tool.

About activities as an illustrator

ーーWhat kind of companies do you often talk to about your work as an illustrator?

It's pretty diverse, isn't it? Cosmetics, apparel, miscellaneous goods, and sanitary goods and women's products that existed in the past. In the cosmetics field, we also do things like anniversary celebrations and tempo opening celebrations.

ーーThat's right, do you still have a lot of products for women?

Well, there are food products, but I think most of them are for women.

But recently, I used to have a lot of female followers, but recently the number of male followers has been increasing!
Originally, there were only 3% men (laughs), but recently it has become 10%, so I'm personally happy.

ーーThat's right! Is that because you started your career as an artist?

I think so. I feel like I've become a little more touchy in terms of appearance through exhibitions and other activities, so I think I've become less feminine.

For some reason, there are a lot of people who draw female illustrations these days, so I think the world, including men, is becoming more tolerant of female illustrations, and I wonder if more people are enjoying it. I feel

ーーI see, that certainly seems to be the case. Surprisingly, there are more men who draw female illustrations, but itaba's concept is that women draw women, and that's what makes it different from the other artists. I think

First solo exhibition and impressions

ーーDid you have your first solo exhibition in March 2010?

Oh no. I had my first solo exhibition around September of last year, but at that time I did not use canvas or paints, but used the illustrations I had originally drawn.
And the exhibition in March is the first canvas work.

ーーThat's right. So, will it be this year that you officially started your activities as an artist?

Well, around September of last year, I was still lost, wondering where I should go...
So, recently, when I started aiming for an exhibition in March, I feel like I started to study the concept of art from the beginning and start thinking about my activity policy.

ーーI see. I would like to hear your impressions of the solo exhibition in March. You had a mosaic theme, right?

▼Works from the solo exhibition “Compliance?” held in March

image of itabamoe's work

image of itabamoe's work

image of itabamoe's work

Yes, I really like the mosaic theme.

The mosaic theme came from Evangelion director Anno's live-action film "Love & Pop". There is a scene to take out. At that point, a mosaic suddenly appeared on the screen, and at that moment, I was very excited, and even when I called it, there was a beeping sound. So I was really intrigued by its identity, so I looked it up on my smartphone.
So, I thought that my actions that went that far were interesting. The mosaic made the work very impressive.

And I thought it would be really annoying to be "hidden" from there, so I came up with the idea.

During the exhibition, many visitors asked me, "What's hidden?", but I never answered (laughs).

ーーEvery person has their own way of enjoying art, isn't it? Did this solo exhibition make you want to put more effort into creating art works?

Well, I thought that acrylic paint is surprisingly suitable for my lines, and I wanted to try various other expressions.

ーーThat turned out to be a very good turning point.

I agree. I have plans for several more exhibitions in the future, but at that time I'm thinking of working on a different theme than mosaics.

New work theme "ERROR"

ーーOn 8/6.7, there will be an exhibition event for young artists, “Independent Tokyo,” sponsored by a company called tagboat. Itaba will also be exhibiting here, so please tell us about your work.

Yes, I am thinking of "ERROR" as the theme of my future works, including Independent Tokyo.

"ERROR" is when you're walking around town and see a really beautiful person, and the resolution just goes up. Or rather, it feels like my brain is buggy. That's it.

ーーI totally understand.

I wanted to do the same thing with the girls I draw, so I came up with various ways of expression and verified them.

Also, I was worried about the word "good woman" itself in this day and age, but I thought that the word "good woman" itself is not a bad thing, so I expressed that as well. I wish I could.

That's why "ERROR", I'm going to do it from now on.

▼ Itabamoe's "ERROR" series. The background is an abstract expression.

art work by itabamoe

art work by itabamoe itabamoe's Instagram

ーーI see. In the sense that something visually happens, I thought that Mosaic might have something similar to "ERROR".

Well, I felt that there is a part that connects when I draw it.

ーーMosaic is good, but Mosaic is a woman and a mosaic, and the theme and women are somewhat divided, but "ERROR" firmly falls into the theme of women themselves, and I thought it was really good.

By the way, I was originally inspired by Ai Tominaga's photo before making "ERROR". I thought it was really cool.

ーーWas there anything you struggled with with the "ERROR" series you made this time?

Hard work... This is the first time I've used the spray partially, but it was a little difficult to make it beautiful. It's casual, but I'd like to change some textures.
But the spray was the last one I used after it was completed, so I did my best under the pressure that if I made a mistake, I wouldn't be able to start over (laughs).

ーーI'm glad it was a success! (Laughs) How many pieces did you create for this year's Independent Tokyo?

Somehow I made 14 works. Since it was my first time exhibiting at Independent Tokyo, I didn't know how much I should make at first, so I quickly increased it later (laughs).

ーーAmazing. How long does it take to make a piece?

Once you start drawing, you can draw it in less than a week. It takes about two months to think about what to draw before I start drawing. It's like a period of constant thinking and sickness...

--It's hard to think of a theme, isn't it?

Well, until it comes down, I think and sleep, think and sleep, think and sleep, and repeat... I'm worried about my productivity (laughs)

ーーI see. What I think about the difference between illustration and art is that while illustration has the answer that is sought, art has to create the answer yourself, so I really think it will be difficult.

That's right, client work is intended for use, what kind of things you want me to draw, etc., but art production is a blank state without such things, and it's really confusing.

I was really worried for a while, but now it's all sunny.

If I draw something different every time, I think the viewers will find it unworthy to keep up with it, so I want to cherish the balance of creating new things without betraying them.

Motivation for production

ーーWhat is the motivation behind the creation of your works?

Since I started drawing, I've been getting drunk with my own lines, saying, "That's a nice line" (laughs)
Conversely, I wonder what motivates everyone else...

--Some artists said, "I'm doing this because this is the only way I want to live." I thought it was a nice idea.

cool. But maybe it is.
No matter how rich I become, I will still be drawing.

ーーIt means that you live by what you want to do. cool.

Sometimes it's hard because I can't draw, but I want to draw. I guess that's what it is.

ーーPlease tell us what you want to challenge from now on.

As I mentioned earlier, I would like to do oil painting.
The fun experience I had when I was a child with oil painting is the reason why I am now using paints.

I'm thinking about trying it out at my solo exhibition in October, but I don't think I have much time.

ーーIf you have both acrylic and oil painting, you can enjoy the difference and it seems even better!

For itabamoe, art is "preparedness"

ーーLastly, please tell us what art means to you, itaba.

What I think about when I start drawing art in earnest is "preparedness".

When I was drawing illustrations commercially, I thought it was fair if it was cute or pretty, but when it comes to putting it out as art, I thought that there was no claim.
Up until now, I've just vaguely sensed that assertion, but when I once again thought that art is something to throw at people, it was "preparedness".
All the things you make and activities you do will remain and become tattoos...

ーーDetermination... It's true that you have to create your own answers and deliver them to people. I thought artists were really cool!

ーーThank you very much for your time today! It was a very valuable time to learn about various things about itaba-san. I think there was a lot to learn for those who aspire to be illustrators and artists.

Click here for the actual interview video

This interview was conducted on Instagram Live.
Be sure to check out the artists in action.

itabamoe Instagram live

Click here for itabamoe's Instagram live

At the end

That concludes our interview with itabamoe, who started her career as a fashion designer, turned to an illustrator, and has begun her career as an artist.

Ms. itabamoe, who has established her own style of "good woman" through her many years of activity as an illustrator, and is further evolving her art. I can't help but look forward to further activities in the future.

Itabamoe's works are also available on the online shopping site MONOLiTH!
Please check it out.

Click here for itabamoe's work

Thank you for reading this far.
See you soon!

MONOLiTH Operation Manager
Gosuke Onoda