Ben Tallon, author of the book, Champagne and Wax Crayons, which takes us through his personal journey as an illustrator and art director, shared with us his exciting Japanese launch story.
After visiting a number of impressive bookstores stocking Champagne and Wax Crayons in Osaka, I headed to meet Masayuki Shimizu, respected graphic designer (Global Award winner), lecturer at Osaka University of Arts and Satoshi Dono, incubation manager of a superb local major creative support facility, Mebic Ogimachi. The two were passionate about bringing together the local creative community and connecting it with the rest of Japan.
The next day, I headed down to Standard Bookstore. This beautiful bookstore boasts a restaurant and cafe area, where the local creative community head down to sketch, read and talk as well as areas selling the products of local artists, designers and makers. The atmosphere was fantastic and I gave a talk on my career as an illustrator in the event area. Discussing the themes in the book, it was a hugely rewarding experience to talk to Japanese designers, students, illustrators and more, comparing experiences and ideas. With a strong turnout, after the talk I drew live, creating Osaka scenes in pen and ink whilst answering questions and signing copies of the book. The experience really underlined the global nature of the creative industry today.
In Tokyo, the energy was fantastic. I had the honour of being interviewed by superb local illustrator and award winner, Kei Sekikawa. Taking on a different format, Kei asked questions about my journey and discussed her interpretation of it, comparing and contrasting her own experiences as a freelance creative professional in Japan. I was taken aback by the polite and humble nature of the Japanese people, but also by the strong work ethic displayed by bookstores and other designers I met, who showed a genuine interest in what I had to say. Every single person I met was attentive, keen to learn how I felt about their work and ask questions about stories told in the book, notepads at the ready.
Japan is a country I’m keen to return to and I’ve been blown away by the positive reception of Champagne and Wax Crayons. In a country so renowned for its rich visual culture, there was always a fear I’d be lost and ignored, but this, thankfully, was never realised, much the opposite being the case.
Champagne and Wax Crayons promo with Japanese subtitle