Hitomi Ishihara has been a caricature artist for 7 years and recently won the most prestigious caricature award: The Golden Nosey! Hitomi currently is an instructor with Caricature Japan, and is busy collecting art books and watching horror movies. Read on for more about Hitomi’s art journey below!

Q: Congratulations! You won the Golden Nosey! What was the like?
A: Thank you so much!!! At the time, I was home and my heart felt like it was going to burst. And I couldn't believe what had happened. I felt so happy and honored, I couldn't stop crying. And I was really touched to hear everyone's applause and cheers from the ZOOM!

Q: Some of us were crying along with you! It was a spectacular win. Where did you get your start, and how long have you been a caricature artist?
A: Thank you so much For me, my start in caricature was at the Caricature Japan school; after 3 months of training, I made my debut as a professional. And my debut day was at our shop in Asakusa, Japan, where I painted my first clients And I started Caricature in January of 2015, so it's been exactly 7 years!

Q: Where are you currently working and what kind of gigs are you doing, if any?
A: I'm not in the shop much now, I'm working mainly on creating classes for the Caricature Japan School I live sketching tourists at the Asakusa shop in Japan during the busy season!

Q: COVID has had a huge impact on our industry. How has it impacted you personally, as a professional caricature artist?
A: Since the start of COVID, the number of foreign tourists has plummeted, which has been a huge damage to our company. The number of colleagues and shops in our company has been reduced by half. I personally had the opportunity to reevaluate my actions. I decided not to just live without doing anything, but to try new things and act with a strong heart. As a professional artist, I practiced every day to improve my skills and tried to do what I couldn't do before

Q: What are your goals as an instructor with Caricature Japan?
A: As a teacher, I would like to continue to study drawing so that my students can enjoy painting more. And I would like to hold workshops all over the world and interact with many artists!

Q: Are there things that you get from your instructing work that retail caricature can’t provide?
A: I think my communication skills have improved since I started teaching. Among my students, there are people of various ages and personalities. So I believe it is important to know their ideas, listen to their opinions, and understand them. I also educate students who want to become professionals. As a teacher, it is a great feeling to see them work hard towards their dreams and to see them finally become professionals and make customers smile.

Q: What are some of the core principles that you teach?
A: It depends on the moment, but I try to keep the following three things in particular in mind. -Teachers should continue to study twice as much as the students. -Teachers should respect students' opinions. -Teachers should explain things to students in simple language without using difficult words.

Q: Is there something you're currently studying?
A: Now I am studying English in particular. As for drawing, I am studying character design, composition, coloring, and body situations

Q: What are your favorite tools for retail or digital caricature?
A: For hand drawing I love to use Copic Sketch and Neocolor 1. For digital, I love to use the Procreate app.

Q: What hobbies or passions do you have outside of caricature?
A: I think I'm an art book and reference book collecting geek. haha And my other hobbies include watching foreign dramas and horror movies on Netflix. I also like to go to the gym and do muscle training and running to keep myself moving

Q: Wow! Tell us a little bit about some of your favorite art books, and horror movies.
A: I think I have over 200 art books, but the real collectors probably have more. I mainly like to collect Disney, Pixar and other character design art books. Recently I have been buying a monthly art magazine called ImagineFX. That magazine introduces us to the work of artists who are active all over the world. We can learn about digital techniques and even hand-drawn techniques. And I found Lindsey's (Olivares) work
My favorite horror movies are the "It" and "Child's Play" series. I especially like Pennywise from It. I searched for costumes on Amazon, but they were too expensive, so I gave up

Q: Who are your favorite women artists in caricature or in related industries?
A: My favorite women caricature artists are so many! You Kara, Ali, Mae, Kelly, Kiko, Robin, Lindsey, Asia, Marlo, Ash, Miki, Satsu, Chihiro and more And my favorite women illustrator is Loish. 

Q: Aww thank you! And thanks again for participating in WIC's Artist Spotlight! Where can we follow your work?
A: Thank you so much for the interview too I am very honored! You can find all my work on Instagram. If you ever come to Japan, I'll be in Asakusa!

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