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 and check out her artwork 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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