[Events] Illustrator Spotlight at STGCC: Interview with Nao Shirahane

We had the chance to interview Shirahane Nao*Dmyo; who is known for her drawing for the online game Trickster, illustrations for the game DJMAX, and mascot illustrator for Culture:Japan. I think her illustrations are beautiful! It’s an honor to meet Nao-sensei in person as she shares about her future project and her inspirations.

When did you started drawing, did you go to a school to learn?

I started drawing at a very young age and didn’t take any proper lessons then. When I started attending school, I had a group of friends that did many drawings and illustrations. Eventually, I went to a school of design.

How did you improve your works comparing the first few illustrations you have done?

I rely mainly on self learning but I’m also influenced by other illustrator works.

When did you started your career as an illustrator?

It was roughly around the third year of high school where my works got published. However, I felt a career as a mangaka was not enough for me to by so I began working on my illustrations as well.

What inspires you to start drawing and illustrating.

When I was young, I watched anime like Sailor Moon and I really like these animes. I wouldn’t say it inspired me but I wanted to be able to draw like that.

What inspired your art style? 

I’m a huge fan of CLAMP for a long time and they have a fond impact on my drawing style. I feel that CLAMP’s drawing style is very beautiful, especially the details like their hair and their hands. It makes me more aware on how I should draw these areas.

Are there any illustrator that you look up to or fond of?

I know many illustrators in the same field so it’s hard to pinpoint an illustrator whom I am fond of. However, I have always respected a particular artist from CLAMP, back then and even now, even though she is not really an illustrator.

You have designed characters for Danny Choo. Which character is your favourite?

I like Mirai-chan the most. Danny Choo sees Mirai-chan as his daughter and I share the same sentiments as well.

Working with Danny Choo, what kind of person do you feel he is like?

He is a kind person, very detailed and specific on projects and illustrations. Danny Choo has many interests and way of doing things so I’m very thankful that there is is someone who is able to help me in the projects and improve on them.

You have done a lot of game illustrations, how did you manage your time drawing them? 

I tend to take up as many interesting projects as possible. If there is something interesting that I would like to try out, though if it is hard for my current schedule, I will force it in somehow even if it means cutting off my sleeping time.

How long does it take for you to finish a complete illustration?

If it’s just simple illustration that has only one character, it can take up to two to three days. If it is a large illustration it can roughly take up to one week.

Do you have an interest outside illustrations?

I like to cosplay with some assistance from my friends. I like to karaoke and traveling is also one of my interests.

You are previously in Korea before moving to Japan, what makes you want to move to Japan and was it difficult to plan the migration?

Compared to Korea, Japan has a lot of job opportunities that I’m interested to try out. I’m also a fan of animation since young so I wanted to experience what it is like to work in the country that created animation itself. That’s why I’ve decided to study university in Japan and learn the language. Upon moving here, what I found extremely difficult was that the prices were a lot more expensive than when I was staying in Korea.

How did the idea of Sleepless Child Project, the combination of illustration and cosplay come about?

The idea came about when I met Stayxxxx at Comics Fiesta Malaysia. We kept in contact after the event and mentioned a few times wanting to work together on any kind of project. However, because we stay in different countries, we wanted to start something that will close the distance between them, thus the concept of illustration and cosplay photography derived from there.

Do you like to draw illustration for games more or light novels more?

I cannot say which one I prefer because they both have their interesting factors. Example for games, the character that I design will become 3D so it is interesting to see how they transform from  a 2D character to a 3D character. As for light novels, it feels very close to manga because I had to take the content of the novel and transform it into art so in that sense, transforming to different mediums is one point that I like drawing for light novels.

How do you feel being an official illustrator for certain games?

I feel honored and happy when the games that I’ve illustrated for are featured on news and websites. With these news, I will search more information on the game and find out more about the game itself.

Is this the first overseas event for you?

No, it’s not my first time. I’ve been to Danny Choo’s Culture Japan events, as well as Comic Feista in Malaysia and another cosplay event. So Singapore is actually my 4th time being in an overseas event.

Would you like to share any up-coming projects that you’re working on?

I’m currently working on game illustrations for a Japanese company called Navel. It’s a bishoujo game and it will be released in October so do look out for it! The name is too long so I can’t remember it. (laughs) There’s another game call Shuffle!; which is also created by the same company. The new game will be a rather similar game style as Shuffle!

I would very much love to work with Nao-sensei with a Mako illustration! Wonder if she has the time to do it T_T

More information on Nao Shirahane:

Official Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/Dmyo.ShirahaneNao

◆ Doujin Circle – Snow Ring
Onna no Ko to Misshitsu~ (女の子と密室~)
Culture Japan (カルチャージャパン)・Culture Japan CJC
◆ Light Novels(ライトノベル)
√4 うちの住人はみんな異常です。(一迅社)

** Disclaimer: I must emphasize that there is a need to rephrase some of the questions and answers so that readers can understand the interview better but to be honest, the recordings for our interview sessions were not very clear so I sincerely hope that at least, I’ve gotten the contents right. If you were there for the interview and realised that there were mistakes in my transcription, feel free to correct them in the comments below!  



Author at ToyCoin
I'm pretty much behind every email that you receive from ToyCoin. Started figure collecting in 2009. Initially wanted to start a hobby with my boyfriend (who is concurrently my husband) and found out that he’s a collector of all sorts. I figured I need to start collecting something too, and into the world of Nendoroids I dive. I love pretty things and I find figurines really attractive. Regardless of anime as long as the figure is attractive I’m drawn to it. It’s like a natural reaction to me.

I also blog most of the stuff here, along with my editor Jerry and my photographer Keith. 🙂

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