weee/ Raemz/ 1-kilometer is a 19-year old art student. She’s an incredibly popular artist on DeviantART and has participated as a guest artist in a few artbooks and card illustrations. Her most prominent role was being the illustrator/ CG artist for Katawa Shoujo, an OELVN (Original English Language Visual Novel).
When did you start drawing?
I started drawing anime when I was around 9 or 10 years old- that was the time when my older brothers and sister, Gebyy, were also getting really into drawing anime as well. Because I was the youngest out of my siblings of course I would look up to them, so I tried to do whatever they did and obviously I sucked the most lol. Gebyy used to be the person that was well-known for her artistic talent and I was always the little sis looking up to her. So I tried my best to get better and better. But as we grew up, my siblings eventually sort of stopped drawing at some point– even Gebyy, but she got back into drawing recently. But yeah as we grew older, I think I was old enough to follow my own path and found a passion for it rather than just thinking of it as a competition between siblings.
How is it like to balance school work, personal work and commissions?
Really hard to think about this one haha because it’s actually what I’m struggling right now. Sometimes I would hate school work because I would rather draw or do commissions, and I rarely do personal work these days because of commissions and school. However, I usually prioritize my commissions and school work at the same time even though it can be pretty stressful. Having these factors is a bit difficult on my personal life too, but I really enjoy what I draw for and school’s important so I don’t spend a lot of time going out to places or play games as much as I used to. I don’t really have a straight answer to this question since I’m still undergoing how to do it myself or what I should really prioritize on.
What’s the usual process for an art piece like?
Sketch a rough composition and spam some colors under it. Then I either work on the lineart on top of it and clean up the colors or I just go straight ahead and paint over the drawing. I try various ways because I get bored of sticking to one thing all the time.
How long does each section normally take you? What’s your favourite part of the process?
It varies how complex the illustration is. Quick doodles with color take about an hour or two. Refined Illustrations take about a billion years for me lol (a month or less, but I don’t work on it in one sitting). Well the reason being is that I barely do refined illustrations, so I tend to try out new things whenever I have the chance to. My favorite part of the process is adding overlay or effects and also making the picture bright and pretty. I always found that part the best because it’s fun to see what sort of atmosphere and effects you can create by just adjusting some overlay or lighting.
Do you prefer working with traditional or digital medium?
Both are fun, but I mainly use digital.
What do you do when you find yourself with an art block?
Art blocks aren’t necessarily a bad thing. I tend to look at photography or character designs, or play games. Exploring the world and looking at various interests really help me expand my views on what I can draw and give me ideas. Looking at illustrations show me what sort of techniques or ways how I can portray my ideas or drawings down. So there’s a lot of things I can do. It’s good to take a break from drawing as well so you can explore more about yourself and what you like.
Are there any characters that you especially enjoy drawing?
I really like drawing school girls with thigh highs and twintails! I like to draw RPG elements as well.
Is there a piece of art that you’re particularly proud of? Could you talk through the process of coming up with the idea for the piece?
Being “proud” of a piece is pretty difficult to say. Whenever I finish something I like it a lot, but the next day I can see all the mistakes or changes I could have done to it haha. But the process goes for any illustration of mine; I just work on it until I feel satisfied with it.
Are there any artists who have influenced your art style?
There’s been so many people that I really looked up to, but artists who extremely influenced my style back in the day were Tatsuki Amaduyu, Nakamura Takeshi, Furudera Naru, and Nishihara Isao. They draw really cute round eyes and really cute girls, and I just find their art adorable. Artists like Ryo Ueda and Buriki really inspired me to do backgrounds and improve my coloring skills- they both drew Touhou too so looking at their artwork made me super happy lol.
Do you have a preference of designing the characters that you draw?
I would design something that I would like to draw and make it look good at the same time so others would like it too.
What do you think of Katawa Shoujo and were there any scenes which particularly stood out for you? Do you have a favourite character?
I’ve been working on it so long that it’s hard to say. It’s also hard to know which scenes stood out because the artists always had to reread scenes and work around with it. However there were several scenes (that didn’t have CGs) which stood out because I thought they were weird and funny, but they never made it into the final. I like all the characters, but out of the girls I just find Lilly really difficult to draw.
Do you take a different approach while working on sprites (in Katawa Shoujo) compared to CG pieces?
Working on sprites is pretty tedious since I have to consider facial layers for expressions, clothes, and movement. CGs in Katawa Shoujo were a lot easier to draw since I didn’t have to think about those as much. Also it was my first time experiencing making actual sprites so it was difficult.
For guest illustrations, do you normally ask to be featured or do people approach you?
People approach me.
Which projects are you currently working on that you can share?
I don’t have any official projects I’m currently working on. I am doing a freelance project with a friend but it hasn’t gone anywhere since we’re both busy and we’re uncertain about our skills.
Are there any projects/ people that you’d like to work with in the future?
I’d love to work for more JP companies/people but my lack of Japanese makes it hard for me, so I feel really happy and honored when some people go out their way to speak English so they can contact me.
Have you got any advice for aspiring artists?
Be honest with yourself and draw what you like or what you think is cool. By doing this you really get to understand yourself more as a person if you have other interests besides just “art”, your drawings will become more interesting too.