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How They See - Issue #15: Naoki Suzuka about drawing human body and working with model

Drawing the human figure is a magical experience. By putting basic shapes and lines on a paper you ca

How They See

October 10 · Issue #15 · View online
How They See will help you to meet artists from all over the globe and understand their perception of art. Published weekly on Saturday.

Drawing the human figure is a magical experience. By putting basic shapes and lines on a paper you can bring to life some character. It is artificial, but still. At the same time, this practice is very challenging and complex, requires good observation skills, creativity and probably some others. I was fascinated by it for some time and enjoyed drawing classes with a model. That is how I have stumbled upon Naoki Suzuka, an artist based in Japan.
I see this magic in every line and character he is creating, especially on those works, which are on purpose unfinished. It is something in this saying that part, which is omitted, plays harder on the viewers’ imagination. 
You can find more about Naoki Suzuka on Instagram.

I had a year-long adventure with figure drawing classes. I have enjoyed them, however, drawing human is not so easy. How did you start your journey with art?
I’ve always liked drawing since I was little. I had a vague desire to draw the human body, but there are few places in Japan where I can draw the human body. The starting point for my adventure in figure drawing was the encounter with an atelier in Kyoto where I live. I have been going to the atelier for about 7 to 8 years to draw the human body. The atelier specializes in figure drawing and I have been there for 7-8 years.
How do you manage to connect your daily work with drawing in the evenings and sticking to this routine?
That problem is solved by having the atelier mentioned earlier. Every Saturday and half of the weekday nights, there is a chance for a model to come and draw in the atelier. Drawing through the atelier is the basis for other creative works.
Drawing by Naoki Suzuka
Drawing by Naoki Suzuka
Have you ever experienced burn out or creative block and wanted to quit drawing? If yes, how did manage to overcome this?
I never thought of quitting drawing. However, there are times when I am less motivated, but when I stand in front of the model, I naturally feel like drawing.
Some of your works are finished, with all the shadows and some looks, like you have left them halfway, some just line art. Can you elaborate on why? 
It is an imperfect beauty, as can be seen in Rodin’s sculpture. When everything is completely drawn, it may not be interesting. Also, the omitted parts stimulate the imagination of the viewer.
I consider figure drawing and to be honest, every form of art, a combination of theory and practice. From your perspective, what is more important?
No theory alone, no simple repetitive practice. I think it is important to repeat the practice while thinking and trial-and-error based on the theory.
Do you work with model every time, when you draw?
The work posted on Instagram is made with the model. Sometimes I draw based on photographs, but after all, it is better to make with a model.
Drawing by Naoki Suzuka
Drawing by Naoki Suzuka
You are saying, that: “Drawing in front of the model is a collaborative work with the model and is also self-expression through the model”. Can you explain this further?
As I wrote in the explanation of the earlier question (regarding burn out - ed.), the model sometimes pulls me. A good model can increase my motivation and make better work than usual, and vice versa.
What do you consider as the biggest challenge of drawing a human figure?
After all, you can’t make the same thing as a model itself, whether it’s a painting or a sculpture. I think it’s about finding a way to express yourself.
What is the last thing that got you inspired? 
I was very impressed by the portrait sculpture by Hirotaka Takada that I saw at the museum the other day.
Drawing by Naoki Suzuka
Drawing by Naoki Suzuka
Who is the most important artist for you from Japan, your home country, and why?
Ryohei Koiso and Sotaro Yasui.
I learned from them the beauty of drawing nude and the appeal of portraiture. When I started drawing, I often copied them.
Can you give some advice to the self-taught artist?
Anyway, it is important to practice a lot by thinking and trial-and-error.
What is your favourite colour?

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