Illustrator and mother Megumi Goto was born and raised in Hiroshima. As a child, she loved drawing princesses and castles and it was this hobby that naturally led her to a career in art. After studying oil painting in Hiroshima City University, Megumi worked in advertising before finally settling down a few years later with a career in illustration. As she cites, studying oil painting at college has a significant influence on her work, perhaps influencing her dreamy yet retro aesthetic.
What did you most enjoy drawing as a child?
I always loved drawing a girl’s wonderland- beautiful princesses in dresses, me in my dream house which looked like a castle and I often drew the people around me who I always thought looked fashionable. I would draw everywhere, in my house and at school. I also loved colouring books.
And what do you enjoy drawing the most now?
There have always been two things very close to my heart, one is the special experience you get from traveling- I love drawing the everyday lives of the people I visit. The other thing is capturing the beautiful things which exist in my day-to-day life, like sunlight coming through my window or the reflection of the light through the water in my favourite glass. I want to capture all of those tiny but beautiful things and transfer them to my drawings.
A lot of your work consists of maps. Are you often consumed by wanderlust? Where do you enjoy traveling?
Yes I love to travel! I have traveled a lot and drawing maps gives me the feeling of a new adventure beginning. In Asia I have traveled around Taiwan, Shanghai, Bali and the Philippines. I should also mention my trips to the southern islands such as Hawaii and Guam which were very special to me. In Europe I have visited Greece, Malta, London and Paris. I made a habit of visiting Italy as I love everything Italian, the food, culture, people… And I can’t forget Spain! I went to Barcelona three years ago and it was so much fun to wander around the city, Gaudi’s architecture was especially amazing and I had great tapas. I’ve had such unforgettable experiences in Spain and the people have been so friendly. When I’m home, the maps that I have collected while traveling always give me that wanderlust again.
How was it to live in Hiroshima as a young illustrator?
I’ve lived in Tokyo for more than 8 years now but I miss Hiroshima sometimes because of the nature that I cannot find here in Tokyo. Also the people in Hiroshima are very friendly and not rushed like the city folk. In similar local places, I think the people in the art/craft industry are able to relax and focus on their work. Although nowadays anything is possible thanks to the internet and where you live is not such a big deal. Personally, Tokyo has been such an exciting city to live in but I know I’ll return to my hometown in the near future.
Could you describe a typical day in the life of Megumi Goto?
Since the birth of my first daughter this January, everything has changed in my life. I used to be a night owl but now she has completely converted me into an early bird, waking up at 5am every morning! I normally work while she sleeps but it’s very difficult to find a quiet moment to draw with pencils, brushes and paints because the wants to touch everything. Subsequently, I have found myself moving towards more digital art mediums. I would like to return to paper and paintbrush soon though.
Is there a classic book that you would like to illustrate?
Pride and Prejudice.
Can you share any future projects with us?
Having a baby has brought so many unexpected things into my life. I never thought about working in the child industry before but now I’m thinking of working on illustration for kid’s books and doing art projects for children.
I would also like to do more work on maps, not just "normal" maps but also a map book with pop-up drawings which are much more fun to open. I got a beautiful pop up map book by Sarah McMenemey called London: Panorama Pops and I would love to try and make this kind of book for Tokyo, Hiroshima and other cities all over the world. What I really hope for is that people have a lovely moment when looking at my drawings.
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