Interview: Shinnosuke Uchida at DoKomi 2023

Interview: Shinnosuke Uchida at DoKomi 2023

In late June 2023, Düsseldorf has once again become a paradise for cosplayers, anime & manga lovers as well as fans of cool merchandise, art and of course game & anime soundtracks on vinyl. Yes, it was time for DoKomi (= Doitsu Komikku Maketto) again, which took place from Friday June 30st to Sunday July 2nd at Messe Düsseldorf in Germany. It’s always a long weekend full of creativity, passion, Japanese food, and like-minded people just having a good time. Like last year, we took the opportunity to be there with our own Black Screen Records booth again, but this time with our recently launched sub-label Kaibutsu Music. Go check out some impressions of our booth and the convention on our Instagram

Fans could also meet and talk to special guests like anime voice actors, talents, influencers and some incredible artists. Among them was Shinnosuke Uchida - also known as @mangalivepaint - who is a unique manga live painter, a manga artist and a cosplayer. In the Ultra Jump magazine competition, Shinnosuke Uchida’s work received an honorable mention and she made her debut as a mangaka. But after that she has changed her career path and is now working as a unique manga live painter since 2015. We had a chance to talk to her during DoKomi about her work, music and her life in general.

Black Screen Records: What was the inspiration that made you start drawing mangas on big canvases?

Shinnosuke Uchida: So I originally wanted to become a conventional mangaka but as this is very difficult in Japan, I gave up on my dream and decided to take on a different approach. At that time I came across a live painting event, where artists drew big paintings on walls. This was when I had the idea I could draw a manga on a big wall. I applied for this event as an artist, which was the start of my journey.

BSR: Before that, was there anyone drawing mangas on walls?

SU: No and I don’t think there isn’t anyone now either.

BSR: Before an event like this, how do you prepare yourself?

SU: To be honest, I don’t need much preparation. I draw a rough sketch on an A4 paper the day before and plan out the idea in my head a little bit. The event location usually provides the canvases so the only thing I need to bring are my pens.

BSR: On your previous artworks, there are some returning characters and it seems there's also a continuation - is there a bigger storyline to your mangas?

SU: Oh yes. In Japan we have the Design Festa twice a year. I'm usually continuing my stories there, connect it to the previous plot and make sure the same characters reappear. On the first コマ (koma = box) I usually draw a short summary of the previous story before I start the new one. So yes, in Japan at the festival it’s a continuing storyline but overseas it tends to be quite random.

BSR: Are there a lot of fans that know the story?

SU: Yes, actually there are quite a few who are invested in the story even people at Design Festa who don’t know me. They just know there is someone drawing manga and look for it. Many people come up to me saying that they noticed that I’m always part of this festival. I haven’t experienced that much recognition compared to my usual artworks as people are interested in what’s going to happen next, which makes me really happy.

That’s awesome. Let’s talk about your style. What is your inspiration in terms of art style?

SU: Of course it has to be Katsuhiro Otomo sensei from the legendary sci-fi manga AKIRA. That was the reason I wanted to become a mangaka in the first place. So I think it had a big influence on me.

BSR: What do you do with the finished canvases after the event?

SU: In case of DoKomi they are kindly putting it in their office. On other events they either get sold or land in an auction.

BSR: So there is no way for you to take it back home?

SU: No, unfortunately not. It’s too big to take it back so I have to leave it there. In almost all cases, I never get to see the paintings I draw at an event again.

BSR: That’s unfortunate. Well, what was the most exciting projects you’ve done?

SU: The most exciting one? That’s difficult to answer. But well, actually, last year in my home region of Shizuoka I was once invited to an Art Festival and the idea was to draw a manga with the local people as the characters. It was the first time I did something like this and it was a lot of fun! The ojisan (= old men) from the town who were involved in this project - around 8 of them - were the main heroes of story.

BSR: How did they react to it?

SU: They were really happy and excited! It was a story where these ojisans transformed into superheroes which happened almost at the very beginning. The people from the town recognized them, pointing out: "Oh that’s Mister So-and-so!", which was a lot of fun.

That sounds like a lot of fun indeed! As a record label we have to know, do you listen to music while drawing? And if so, what do you like to listen to?

SU: During a live painting event I don’t listen to music but at home I usually do! It’s mostly Vocaloid and Anime songs. I like music that is upbeat.

BSR: Do you have a favorite song?

SU: Oh that’s difficult… Right now, I really like the song "Hitoshibai" by Mai Fuchigami!

BSR: What do you think about events like DoKomi and other anime expos and the growing popularity of cosplay, anime and Japanese (pop)-culture overseas?

SU: It makes me really happy. Seeing a lot of people dressed as Japanese characters or having katakanas and kanjis on shirts, makes me kinda feel loved in a way. Drawing amidst these people is very heartwarming to me!

BSR: Thanks so much for your time and the interview! Enjoy the rest of the show.

Check out Shinnosuke Uchida’s 15 favourite J-pop songs in our second Kaibutsu Music Spotify Takeover:

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