Drawing Edo – interview with Kana

Drawing Edo – interview with Kana

(Matt): OK Do you press here? It’s rolling already? OK Hi! I’m Kana! The book I’m making right now takes place in old Tokyo – Edo. It tells about the everyday lives of people in a traditional long-house. I want to make this book so you can get to know their lives. In this video, I will be answering the questions I got from you! (Matt): But the pictures needed for the book are still in the making, right? Yes, I’m working on them right now! I would like to show you how I draw a bit too. The novels set in Edo Tokyo written by Miyabe Miyuki. Books telling about the Edo period. And there is also a museum in Fukagawa (Tokyo) with a long-house reconstruction. When I’m there I feel as I traveled through time, and I get a lot of new ideas! There were a lot of fires in the Edo city, and because of this, as soon as there was a fire alarm, people would gather up all their possessions and just run with them from the danger. To make this possible they did have only few personal things in their homes. Maybe also because of this the people of that time, were freer than us now, I think. Because of this, together with Mateusz, I got interested in minimalistic living. We discuss this and we try to decrease the number of things we own. It’s difficult to find any similarities at all! In Tokyo and Japan, in general, we have a lot of earthquakes and other natural disasters, in Tokyo, there are a lot of people that like new things too, so it’s a city of quite rapid changes. The city looks completely different from the Edo period, and if you want to look for things that remained, you can rely only on things like rivers and bridges. Personally, I lived only in times of capitalism, and for the people that developed things, and craftsmen working during that time, I have a lot of respect. But if you look at this “more, cheaper, faster” approach of capitalism, I feel that it is not exactly making our lives richer nor fuller. So I think we should look more to the past, learn from it, think a bit and then make new things. But personally, I just love old, traditional things. Oh and recently I’m interested in the idea of sharing economy. I try to focus really hard on the thing I’m drawing right now. For example if it’s just a hand, What is this hand doing? Holding a teapot? Pointing at something? Holding a piece of wood? If it’s touching someone, then with what feeling? I think about such things while I draw, so I can get a bit more natural look and more convincing acting. Easier to understand for the reader. I’m still drawing it so the book is not yet done at all. But usually, first, I make a PDF dummy of the book idea. I can show this to some people I’m connected with within the publishing industry to ask if they would be interested in something like this. It’s easier to explain this way, I also think about self-publishing, so I look for suitable printing companies etc. All the scenes were really fun to draw, but I got the most pleasure from drawing the fire brigade running high speed through the city. It was awesome! If it’s about social problems I think that Edo’s recycling is a very good example but personally, I would like to see things like street sellers back in the city. People just walking around the streets selling things. Also, in Edo the rivers were heavily used for transport of goods etc. You could even use a water taxi! I would really like to see those come back to modern Tokyo. If you like something from the book, most things can be recreated even now! I think it can be fun to try those things in your everyday life. Also, I think it’s important to have fun observing and learning about things. I’m making this book with this feeling constantly present and want to share it. Just recently there are a lot of people I know who are having kids. So I’m thinking a lot about this too! Like how the support from the surrounding community or the state is very important. If you are a company worker, you can get paid some part of your wage even when not working focusing on your newborn child. There is no such thing for freelancers. Also if you want to use a kindergarten and you work from home, you are low on the list because theoretically, you can take care of your child by yourself. Maybe there are some groups of people or institutions that give help on local levels, but the country itself does not give much here. I learn most from books! Most importantly from books and comics by Hinako Sugiura. I learn a lot from her works! I also look for materials at libraries, I look for and borrow old books and look a lot at old ukiyo-e paintings too. When I draw the storyboard, my concentration is ruined by music with lyrics, so I listen to things like chillhop, game or movie soundtracks, or songs in English. When I’m inking, I’m mostly talking with Mateusz, and sometimes playing TV series I like, such as Agata Christie’s “Poirot”. At this stage, I can also listen to music with Japanese lyrics. In English, for example, Radiohead, MUSE or Moloko. For soundtracks, Blade Runner, Ghibli, Katamari Damacy, Koi no Mon etc. Japanese music: Sakanaction, Matsutoya Yumi, and lately, also 90’s Japanese city pop. My grandma that lived with us was, and my mother is “Edokko” (Edo born), I listened a lot to their stories. My favorite novels by Miyuki Miyabe are also set in Edo. I think that were the reasons why I wanted to know more about that period. And not only learn and input knowledge, but also by making illustrations and comics, creating output, I wanted to make my knowledge even deeper. How to draw manga (comics). I learned A LOT! No one taught me how to make a comic until now, and this time I’m also learning by myself, making discoveries on the way. If you are interested in this, I’m actually considering making a video about what did I learn so far about making comics. I think I like inking the most. Just because I simply like drawing. But my imagination works most when I’m making the storyboard. And I feel the best, when I finish inking and I can see a complete page at last. Because I learned character design by myself too, I don’t use any specific method. I try to make my characters look as natural as possible, so most of the time I’m satisfied if they just don’t look weird. I care the most about how the reader will see the page, and also the location of the “camera” and what it does. In this scene, I want a camera zoom, but here I want to pan the camera and so on. I also think that time can flow even in just one panel, but each time I make a “cut”, so change the camera position, I draw a new comic panel. Thank you for all the questions! If you want to know more about the book, and be informed when it’s on sale, be sure to register using the newsletter page I linked below. I hope you enjoyed this video!

Dereck Turner

38 thoughts on “Drawing Edo – interview with Kana

  1. Momo says:

    Very interesting interview , Thank you for sharing

  2. Krupali Patel says:


  3. Drumaier J says:

    Nice to meet you Kana! Looks like the book is coming along nicely, and i love the subject…very interesting! Getting a copy as soon as is out👌 I'm from Argentina and i have the upmost respect for Japanese culture and their people and mindset (my favorite writer is Murakami, my favorite chess player is Nakamura, my favorite director Miyazaki, etc). keep the good work! Ah, and hi Mateusz 👍

  4. Funky Koval says:

    Dziękuję za podzielenie się inspiracjami.
    Mam wielką nadzieję że uda się państwu pogodzić rodzicielstwo z pracą gdy się zdecydujecie !
    Bardzo lubię oglądać kolory w waszych pracach ,bo poprawiają samopoczucie w ciemne zimowe dni.

  5. Kai says:

    1. The doors in your house are beautiful, and so is Kana's flying fish brooch
    2. Loved the insights about Edo – the snippets about fires, capitalism, etc
    3. Kana's process is fascinating, thank you for sharing.
    4. What a fantastic music list.

    This video has such high production value. Thank you for your channel's dedication to process and artistry.

  6. KameHameHuy says:

    the interview has a nice flow. I would also watch one with you or another person.

  7. Riyu Tsuha says:

    I dont know why, this interview kinda booths me up my project. Anywhere wonderful artwork. Maybe one day if i got a lot money, i will buy both your art books…

  8. damian nosek says:

    Czy wstawisz polskie napisy, będę wdzięczny.

  9. Mr. White says:

    Dziękuję za inspirację:)

  10. Baruch ben Avraham says:

    Wonderful video. You did a great job producing the video. All the different questions, getting to know Kana puts life into her characters. Thank you very much.

  11. ginaC53 says:

    Yey, I like Poirot and Yumi Matsutoya too!

  12. Azra Tatarevic says:

    The Interview was really interesting, I'm looking forward to the book ♡

  13. Crispy Bits says:

    Ah! It was so nice to see and meet you in the video Kana! Sending you good luck on finishing up your book. It looks beautiful so far. 🙂 ♥

  14. gian x says:

    In conclusion, kana deserves everything

  15. laxman simare says:

    How on subtitles?

  16. M Carlisle says:

    I've seen so many of your videos, and many with Kana around, and it was really nice to 'meet' her with this interview, and hear what she's interested in! Her work is really inspiring me to get to work on my own comics. :3

  17. ralvin dizon says:

    Woah!! Kana is on the spotlight.!!

  18. drawnomology says:

    Well done, thank you for sharing. I'd also like to thank those who contributed to asking good question. It made for an intersting video. I love learning about others creative process keep up the good work.

  19. João Miguel Aliano says:

    I'd love to see Kanas video on making comics!

  20. Yasmine S. says:

    Kana is cute 🙂✨

  21. Yasmine S. says:

    Best wishes 💫✨

  22. mjlm says:

    Yaaay Kana 😊🌸

  23. aqib tsaqib says:

    youtube keep recommending oldies japanese city pop recently and theyre not too bad at all!

  24. Cindy Wong says:

    Beautiful illustrations and interesting interview. Awesome video.

  25. Keetz says:

    kana and i have matching glasses!

  26. Diloman64 says:

    Bonito video… cheers!

  27. m00nlight 119 says:

    Love Kana 🧸❤️ thank you for the video 🙂

  28. Lilly Schwartz says:

    This was very interesting, thank you both for making this video!

  29. rukarukaruka says:

    the shot of you guys working side by side is so sweet! it looks like a wonderful way to work. looking forward to the book!

  30. LynAngeling says:


  31. Enio San says:

    LOVED IT !!!
    Very very interesting.

  32. Kiana Diaz says:

    Ahhh thank you for answering my questions, Kana! You are very lovely and I look forward to reading the book!

  33. Abigail Dunnivan says:

    I loved this so much!! I enjoy hearing everything she has to say about her process! She is so thoughtful and her illustrations are beautiful.

  34. hypersapien says:

    I love how your guys' art styles compliment each other =)

  35. てあらいうがい says:


  36. Valentin Michelet says:

    I can't wait to read your book Kana! Thanks for the interview =)

  37. Atelier Sentô says:

    We really enjoyed this video. Kana's answers are very interesting. And we love her work so much! Can't wait for the book 😉

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