Suetsugu Yuki: Drawing the Cover of Chihayafuru volume 34

Chapter 34 of Chihayafuru was published earlier this week, featuring a pretty blue cover with its title character once again.

(sourced from the official twitter account)

In celebration of the release, the manga’s author—Suetsugu Yuki—posted a series of tweets detailing how she went about creating the cover, from initial drawings all the way through to the final touches. I know it’s not going to make up for my having fallen off the Chihayafuru bandwagon this past year, but I still hope you enjoy finding out about how this one artist works!

#1 This is a rough drawing I made using a pacer (or mechanical pencil). I always use scrap paper from dud printouts, so you can faintly see the words through the sheet… This time, I drew four different roughs, and then decided on one after consulting with my editor.

#2 This is the inked sketch. I typically use a sepia coloured pen when I’m making a coloured print, but this time I decided to try black. It was a black pen from Holbein. Since I wanted to have sunlight shining from behind her head, I just drew that part lightly with a light blue pencil instead.

#3 Here I’m painting areas like the space under her neck. It’s not something I usually do, but I tried it out because I admire how powerful Murata Yusuke’s black shadows are, like they stand out as if they’re the stars of the shadows. (Though they’re still too slight…I would love to just let go and paint it all in black one day. It’s pretty tricky and you really need courage to do it.)

#4 Next is colouring. When I draw on Arches paper, I’ve typically used watercolour paints, but this time, I went back to Dr. Ph. Martin’s water colour inks, which I used for a while in the past. It gives off this sense of translucency. And it looks kind of disconcerting at this halfway stage, doesn’t it?

#5 Here’s my workspace. It had come to the point where the setting sun was hitting it directly, and I realised that I didn’t have the lights on. Only a part of the picture will be on the volume cover, but the original is on a pretty large piece of paper, where I’ve drawn Chihaya all the way to her elbows.

#6 Quite a way along now. I’ve put a little bit of blue into her pupils, as if the kimono is reflected in them a little. I hope it looks clear.

#7 And disaster strikes! I dropped my brush by accident, and have now got some blue paint on her face. Boohoo!

#8 The paper is really strong. I’ve dabbed it over and over with a fair amount of water now, but it hasn’t become fluffy at all. But this was as much as I could do, to my chagrin. It’s like a birthmark, isn’t it? In the end, I’ll have to fix it digitally…

#9 Finally, I finish off by adding white highlights to her eyes, pupils and hair. After this, I scanned it into my computer, touched it up and sent it to my editor. Though I put so much work into it, no one’s going to see the actual picture… So I’m happy that I can share how I made it here.
Thank you for sticking with me as I did so!

And that’s it! All of the relevant tweets can be found in this moment, if you prefer to bookmark that!

About karice
MAG fan, translator, and localization project manager. I also love musicals, travel and figure skating!

3 Responses to Suetsugu Yuki: Drawing the Cover of Chihayafuru volume 34

  1. landofthekwt says:

    Thanks for this insight into Suetsugu’s method of drawing. Have you heard anything more about Suetsugu’s health. It was quite seeing a photo of her sketching Chapter 179 in her hospital bed with an IV drip on her hand and arm. (she put the photo on her twitter account ) Especially after she just took a 3 month hiatus


    • karice says:

      You’re welcome.

      She was hospitalised all of a sudden for some kind of inflamation of the gut. 11 days all up (she went all out tweeting about figure skating whilst she was there, especially the men’s competition at 4CC) — and she was discharged towards the end of February. Seems to be ok now, so fingers crossed she stays healthy!


  2. Romy says:

    thanks Karice for translating, truely an artist, Suetsugu san!


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