Today, we visited the studio of Nizo Yamamoto in Saitama prefecture.
Nizo Yamamoto is one of Japan’s leading scenic artists and art directors. His famous scene paintings including Studio Ghibli’s, such as “Castle in the Sky”, “Grave of the Fireflies”, “Princess Mononoke” and “The Girl Who Leapt Through Time”. His fantastic yet calm and nostalgic atmosphere has fascinated the audience across generation and borders.
One of the first things that surprised us at the studio was the size of the works. Many works were introduced, including Goto Hyakukei Series. It was difficult to imagine from the huge screen that we see at the theater, they are actually drawn on the tiny piece of paper. The delicate and detailed artworks may be the proof of his unsurpassable skill.
After seeing the works, we talked about art materials and techniques. The long-used poster color palette from Nicker shows his profession and career as an artist. And about the order of the colors, there may have a secret behind it or not.
Talking about the brushes, although there are various brushes from big and small, he only uses several coloring and flat brushes. It was surprising to know that the backgrounds of those famous animations were just painted by a few tools.
These are Yamamoto’s favorite brushes, which is from Namura Taiseido. The beautiful lacquered brushes created the deep and rich expressions. We were all intrigued by his incredible technique hidden in using these tools.
Along with advance in digital technology, the value of craft and a way of “analogue” has been considered more in various fields including animation industry. It was a precious opportunity to have a glimpse into his old-fashioned way of creating.