A professor
told me to
“draw freely”

Hongli Guo | China
illustrator
Cygames, Inc.
School of MANGA
2016 Graduate

1. Why I decided to attend Kyoto Seika University:

I had been interested in Japanese subcultures such as Anime and Manga since I was in high school, and started making Manga through self-study when I was a sophomore. As Dalian, my hometown, has strong connections with Japan, so there are lots of opportunities to study abroad in Japan. I found out about Kyoto Seika University after I enrolled in Japanese language school in Japan, and participated in its open campus. Then I heard about the foundation principle of the university,
“Freedom and Autonomy,” and I thought this would be the place where I could do what I wanted to.

2. What I learned in Kyoto Seika University:

I studied the grammar and theory of Manga. Before entering the university, I imagined I would develop only my practical skills in the program. However, it involved lots of research. It was very interesting to study themes such as “What is common in outstanding Manga works,” “Mechanism of attracting and influencing readers,” etc., as I have never studied theory before. At the beginning, I imitated styles of those who are good at drawing, wishing to be able to make works like theirs.
Through studying theoretical background, I understood exactly what points were outstanding in their works and which parts attracted readers. This made me confident, so I do not get lost anymore when making my manga.

3. The attractiveness of Seika:

It is “Freedom and Autonomy.” With this principle in mind, I think I was able to absorb many things from my surroundings and to grow up mentally. As I had received education focused on developing career-oriented skills in my university in China, I had thought I should draw lines very precisely in Manga and been very nervous at the beginning. However, at Seika, a professor told me to “draw freely” and this made me confident. Now I draw freely, and the lines and forms are much better than when I drew under pressure in the past.
I also liked the environment surrounded by nature. It is very quiet and occasionally wild animals appear on campus. I was very surprised at first, but I came to love it very much half a year later. The shapes of mountains surrounding Seika are soft and ‘kawaii.’ It made me feel I live with nature.

4. Life in Japan:

It is very simple. As long as we do not trouble other people, we have freedom and can concentrate on what we like. In China, it is important to maintain good relationships with others to make things work out. It is necessary to dedicate one third of our life to making good relationships with others. Japanese people are sometimes too modest,
but this attitude also enables people to keep appropriate distance from each other. In my first half year, as I lived alone, I tended to shut myself in at home most of the time drawing. However as I gradually got used to the university and made friends, I came to enjoy my campus life more and more.

5. The impression of working in Japan:

Everyone is very hardworking and thorough in their work. When they draw, they concentrate and focus on details. I also found influence of Japanese traditional culture everywhere in their works. Essential aspects of Japan appear in their work even unintentionally, through coloring and elements of composition, and I think this reflects their culture.
The atmosphere of my work is little bit different from theirs. I am now learning this traditional aspect through studying the works of my team members. Now I live in Komazawa in Tokyo, but I am little tired of it. I think Tokyo is a bit unfriendly and conservative. On the contrary, Kansai is more vibrant and an ideal place for art activities. I think the atmosphere in these two places is completely different.

6. Future prospects:

I would like to make many game works in my company, and eventually challenge other fields in art as well. Though I am working in a game company now, I would like to try making moving images such as commercials and films, as well as conceptual art, in the future. I would like to try this in Japan as it would be easier here. In China sometimes it is difficult to collect resources and materials.

7. A message for prospective students:

Please continue what you are doing as long as possible. To continue something for long period is also a talent. So, first of all, make full efforts in what you are doing right now. If you have any problem in your life, do not worry alone. It is better to ask for advice from your teachers or people around you. In terms of your technical skills, if you consult with others too much, sometimes you will be too doubtful of yourself. The important thing is using your hand to draw without thinking too much.