Iroha Usui | Manga Artist Interview
Iroha Usui – a creator of a vibrant and heady grown-up first love story that can infuse a reader’s heart with a touch of self-acceptance and love “Under My Skin” – has kindly agreed to answer our interview! Find out more about how sensei became a manga artist, their likes and inspirations, and many others. 🥰
“I love to paint!”, “ I want to be good at drawing!”… When did you first feel that? How did it all start?
I have loved drawing since I was a child, so there is something habitual in it. But, I think that my desire to become able to express my likes led to the thought of becoming good at drawing.
When did you feel the urge to draw BL manga?
I think the desire to draw an erotic BL was a turning point. This genre allows you to expand the expression range, and it’s also fun to look deep inside yourself and explore your desires.
Is your manga usually born from the story? Or do characters come to your mind first?
In many cases, it is born from a conversation that happened in a particular situation, which sets the direction of the characters a little. But the actual characters take shape later in the process, so I think the story comes first.
What is the moment you enjoy the most when creating manga?
I still feel excited when creating the storyboards once the concept is ready. Also, I enjoy drawing my favorite scenes, such as kissing scenes and others.
On the contrary, what is the most challenging part for you in manga creation?
I think it’s the moment I realize that I should finish all things I was planning to draw, even if I have any concerns.
What parts are you most particular about when creating characters?
I think it’s facial expressions and movements. I feel that when you start moving a character in a manga, a lot of different expressions are created, and as a result, the character gets formed by these variations.
I think pretty much about what expressions or gestures each character would make in certain situations. And, based on this, quite often correct subtle angles and positions.
As for the body parts I’m particular about, I would say a body line. I want to draw a body that would make people feel like they can touch it.
What do you prefer to do when drawing manga?
As the noise of Cintiq (pen tablet) bothers me, I usually have music or Netflix playing in the background while drawing.
What does “manga creation” mean to you?
It all starts with a creative desire to express what I’ve got in my head. Still, since I also communicate with the people in charge during the production process and with other people once the work is finished, I would say “manga creation” means communication.
When I read the feedback from readers, I get relieved and happy that I could convey what I wanted to express and get thrilled that they empathize with me. At the same time, I feel that they respond to what I have shown in their own expressions.
Since it allows looking at your work from another person’s perspective, manga also enables you to create various connections.
Where do you get inspiration from?
I try to get as much inspiration as possible from various creative works, my surroundings, and all my senses. I think music is the most likely to give people a strong emotional response, so I often start drawing my illustrations inspired by it.
What are your favorite couple pairings in the BL genre?
The more differences between the two characters, not only in appearance but also in some other characteristics, the more I get attracted to them. I also like a character who takes the lead in the relationship but at the same time loves the partner more than the latter.
“If I were not a mangaka, I would be…”
Though I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to become a mangaka, the more I work in this field, the more I feel that, in many ways, being a manga artist is perfect for me.
What do you think about the growth of popularity of the BL genre outside Japan?
I think it’s beautiful that we can feel and share all our “funs” and “likes” and make these feelings grow even wider.
Please leave a message to your fans.
I’m very happy to be able to connect with many fans from all over the world because of the launch of the ShuCream Global service. I appreciate your continued support!