DI: What is the main principle, idea and inspiration behind your design?
TM : I like to ride a mountain village on a bicycle while feeling the season.
The scenery that changes day by day, such as flowers, grass, insects, rice field scenery and clouds, and people in the town, is very delightful.
I think the core of my illustration lies in this "seasonal shift." I want to express the feeling of air and light that I felt at that time.
The cats are the "life" and "me" that are there.
DI: What has been your main focus in designing this work? Especially what did you want to achieve?
TM : I'm focusing on making people feel the "happiness" I felt when I saw the scenery through the shapes of clouds, the colors of plants, and the conversation between cats.
DI: What are your future plans for this award winning design?
TM : First of all, I will draw 6 more illustrations by the end of the year to make "Tabinneko Calendar 2021".
The rest is to complete the autumn and winter labels of the "Sake to Travel the Four Seasons" that is currently on sale.
Then I'd like to make a "48 postcard set" in a beautiful paper box.
DI: How long did it take you to design this particular concept?
TM : The first was a calendar for exhibiting at a "calendar exhibition" by fellow illustrators.
There were photos I had taken during my bicycle walk, so I decided to draw a seasonal landscape based on that.
However, I thought that it would be uninteresting only in the scenery,
so I decided to put in the cat that I started to keep at that time.
In that way, the basic concept of "Tabinneko" was decided quickly.
DI: Why did you design this particular concept? Was this design commissioned or did you decide to pursuit an inspiration?
TM : It overlaps with the above question, but this is not for work, but for exhibition at a group exhibition.
I made it with the image of a person who loves fictional cats. Or maybe it was a calendar for myself.
DI: Is your design being produced or used by another company, or do you plan to sell or lease the production rights or do you intent to produce your work yourself?
TM : I'm doing both methods.
Handmade marketplace Etsy, hand-made original calendar from 2011,
It is sold at pinkoi, minne, Creema, iichi, Booth, etc.
In Japan, a calendar production company that leased production rights produced a calendar for 2018-2020 and sold it to stationery stores nationwide. 2021 has not been decided yet.
DI: What made you design this particular type of work?
TM : The theme of the first group exhibition was simply "calendar".
I think I was designing a "postcard" for the postcard exhibition.
DI: Where there any other designs and/or designers that helped the influence the design of your work?
TM : At that time, I was trying to change from a designer to an illustrator.
It was my first time to draw a calendar illustration.
So I drew only my own experience without being influenced by others. is this okay?
I thought this might not be an illustration in graphic design.
DI: Who is the target customer for his design?
TM : At first, I think I was vaguely targeting people who like cats.
While it was being sold at online shops, some people liked this calendar. I like cats as well, so I want to buy pictures next year as well.
Now the target is the one who waits for me to say so.
In 2021, there are only 6 still made. I have a heavy responsibility. ^_^
DI: What sets this design apart from other similar or resembling concepts?
TM : Usually, calendars paint picturesque landscapes such as famous tourist spots.
My "Tabineko" calendar doesn't draw that kind of thing.
It's an ordinary landscape everywhere in the neighborhood.
That's because I feel more beautiful in the scenery of the neighboring Satoyama than in the sightseeing.
The area where I live experienced a big earthquake. The mountains collapsed, and I couldn't see the scenery I liked until then.
I knew how the scenery I was always watching was healing me.
The scenery that you always see is probably the most important scenery for everyone.
DI: How did you come up with the name for this design? What does it mean?
TM : This "Tabineko" is a Japanese word that combines Tabi(travel) and neko(cats). I chose "Travel cat" because it is a cat that is simply traveling. The hiragana character is used because the image it receives is more round and gentle than that of the kanji.
DI: Which design tools did you use when you were working on this project?
TM : Macmini and Monitor of NANAO, mouse of Logitech.
(The software is Adobe Illustrator & Photoshop.)
EPSON printer, RIKOH camera GXR
DI: What is the most unique aspect of your design?
TM : I think "color". .
I hate the colors printed in CMYK.
I was wondering why printing is so dirty, even though the colors in the real world are so beautiful
Therefore, I don't put out the "Tabinneko" calendar in offset printing, but print it on my own printer. EPSON's PM4000PX prints my RGB illustrations in vivid colors.
The problem is that the printing fee is high! That is.^_^
DI: Who did you collaborate with for this design? Did you work with people with technical / specialized skills?
TM : We do not collaborate with other people.
I design it myself, print it myself and cut it myself.
DI: What is the role of technology in this particular design?
TM : I don't know if it's a technology, but the software of the "illustrator" I'm using has various effect functions, and I use them in various ways.
Of course, the brush function is used to increase the number of cherry blossoms, but the edges are jagged, the light is blurred, and the transparency is reduced to create a perspective.
DI: Is your design influenced by data or analytical research in any way? What kind of research did you conduct for making this design?
TM : I just searched the internet for what kind of calendar there was.
Then look for the name of the plant. I searched for words that were perfect when giving a title.
DI: What are some of the challenges you faced during the design/realization of your concept?
TM : I had a hard time balancing for 12 months.
For example, we basically bring in colors that make us feel the seasons, but we try to make the colors as different as possible in the previous month.
I also think that the arrangement and poses of the cats will change as much as possible from the previous month.
DI: How did you decide to submit your design to an international design competition?
TM : I was invited by email.^_^
I like your picture Would you like to apply?
DI: What did you learn or how did you improve yourself during the designing of this work?
TM : I learned that it is more important to draw for the people who are waiting for me than to draw the one I want to draw.
At the same time, the picture I wanted to draw became clearer than before.
DI: Any other things you would like to cover that have not been covered in these questions?
TM : I currently sell postcards, calendars, and art prints of "Taneko" illustrations at various handmade marketplaces. Please visit us by all means.
For Europe and America-Etsy store: https://www.etsy.com/shop/TabinekoJAPAN
For Asia-pinkoi store: https://jp.pinkoi.com/store/snow-design
For Japan-minne store: https://minne.com/@snow-design