01 General Information

02 Tools, Hardware & Software

03 Tips & Tricks

04 Permission & Copyright


01 Digital Drawing & Techniques

1.1 General Information

1.1.1 Atori-e

What is Atori-e?

We are Atori-e. And „we“ are Christine Mai and David Clausmeier. Atori-e is our little art project that we startet in our spare time back in 2013. (Former names are „HomunculiMonkeyshine“ and „RedLanternArts“ :P) We justed wanted to have a place were we could be creative. At the beginning we gave different media and projects a try. And though we dont want to limit ourself to one format, nowadays our focus lies on (short-)comics.

How do you share your work?

At first we did everything equally, due to the fact that we both have basic skills in drawing/painting as well as in photography/videography. But over the time it became clear that we are more productive, if we share the work and have a clear allocation of responsibilities. Christine is the artist, who draws and designs. While David is responsible for the text and a bit more proficient in video-editing and photography. But up until now, our stories were patched together in teamwork.

1.1.3 Artsy Background

When did you start to draw?

Christine: I started to draw when I was a little kid. While my parents were busy working, I spent my time drawing dinosaurs and later anime characters. Over the years drawing became a habit until my adolescence years. However, there was a hiatus from when I was 17 years old. I didn’t pick up a pen or pencil for almost 4 years. But luckily, it was easy to pick it up again. But I didn’t really have formal (academic) training, I am mostly self-taught.

David: I’m not really good at drawing. In the last two yours of highschool I tried to practice drawing so that I would be able to create storyboards, because at the time I wanted to become a film director (TBH: I still want to become a film director :P). I did a couple of portraits and some action painting. But nothing too serious.

Do you have a favourite artists?



What are your influences and where do you get your ideas?


How long does it take to draw a…?


Video, Photography..whats the story and how does that work with comic?


1.1.3 Education

We both have a bachelor’s degree in Japanese Studies and are currently studying the master’s programme Film Culture at the Goethe-University in Frankfurt am Main. In this field we have put our focus on the digitization of analogue film material and digital restoriation. We also did attend a lot of art seminars, theoretical as well as practical ones at the institute for art pedagogy. So we are kind of aspiring film scholars, who don’t like the pure theoretical work many people in different humanities have to endure.

1.1.4 Work

Alongside our studies we worked and are still working part time jobs to be able to pay the bills. Luckily, after working in several different areas, we were able to get our hands on student jobs in the media & web sector. Furthermore, we also work on a voluntary basis at the Japanese Film Festival Nippon Connection, where we are now responsible for the photodocumentation of the festival. If you are interested in Japanese movies, please check out the festivals website.

02 Tools, we use.

2.1 Drawing

2.1.1 Digital Drawing

Wacom Cintiq 13 HD | Wacom Cintiq Companion Hybrid
Clip Studio Paint (latest) | Adobe Photoshop (CS6)

2.1.2 Traditional Drawing

These are the tools we’re using in a traditional environment. In general, we’re often mixing different materials.
Copic Sketch | Micron 0,01 | Edding 0,1 | Farber Castell Polychromos | Farber Castell Albrecht Dürer | LED Tablet Huion

2.2 Photography & Videography

Hardware: Nikon D90 | Nikon D7200 | Canon 7D | various lenses, tripods, lights
Software: Adobe Creative Suite (CS6) | Adobe Lightroom 5


03 Tips & Tricks

3.1 Starting out in the Digital World

If you know how to draw traditionally, it shouldn’t be big problem to switch to the digital equivalent.  (If you don’t know how to draw at all, but want to get a hang on it, we recommend that you dont start out on the computer. Learn the basics, like section lining, with a pencil and a good ol‘ piece of paper).

Today it is fairly easy to get started, if you want to draw or paint digitally. All you have to do is power up your computer. At the beginning or if you just want to get a first impression, you actually dont need all that fancy accessories everybody else is using. You dont need a graphic tablet, ‚cause you can use your mouse. You dont need expensive commercial software, since there are dozens of free alternatives out there in the internet. You have got no Photoshop? Not a problem. Try out Gimp. No Clipstudio Paint? Check out ArtRage. Just get started. There are a lot of examples of fantastic digital artworks made with minimal equipment. So if you are short on money, but dedicated to jump into the digital stuff: „Just do it“ (as Shia LaBeouf would have said it.)

But to be honest all those accessories make your life a lot easier. Using your mouse can be a real pain. And free software often has limitations either in functionality or support. So if you already walked your own first steps in the digital world and still want to approach digital drawing more seriously, think about getting a graphic tablet (a normal one; not the one with the built-in screen) and a software of your choice. But before you buy any software, make sure to watch some of  those recommendation videos on youtube, read review articles and download demo-versions to test them.

After that the real work begins. Like with a lot of other crafts you decide the level your skill is at by devoting time and hard work. You have to practice. Draw. Draw. And ehm… draw. After that draw. Then make a short recreational break. Watch some funny videos. But after that draw. Keep on drawing. And if you stumble upon a hurdle where you need really some help. Again. Watch some youtube videos. Read articles. Check out art forums. Alot of the information you need to draw digitally is already explained somewhere out there. Whether you want to learn more about techniques or about some particular feature of your software, most of the time there exists a tutorial and this tutorial is probably completely free.  To put it in a nutshell: Just draw and use the internet as your own (free) learning tool.

3.2 Using References

Use references! In our opinion, using references is one of the most important aspects of training your eye and boosting your drawing abilities. We use references on a regular basis. Mostly, we are using photographs to get a pose or perspective right. But regarding technique, we also analyze the work of other artist to work out how they f.e. colorize.

3.3 Digital Groundwork

Good paper is expensive and errors happen fast, especially during the first steps of illustrating something. So to be on the safe side, the first sketch is always digital. Thus, we can change, redraw or make as many mistakes as we dont want to without wasting any resources. This sketch is then printed on some cheap copy paper and afterwards traced using a light-tablet. If you want to work ecologically sustained, you could give it a try as well.

04 Permission & Copyright

4.1 Licencing Artworks

If you’re interested in licencing one of our artworks for commercial usage, please contact us at info@atori-e.com.

4.2 Layout or Design

You need a written premission for using any of our artworks in layouts or designs. Futhermore you have to cleary tag the used pictures with our link atori-e.com.

4.3 References

Using our work as reference is totally okay. Just be so kind and add the original artwork and our link atori-e.com as proper credit.

4.4 Personal and non-commercial use

Anyone who wants to use our work for personal and non-commercial stuff like for example as desktop wallpaper or profile picture in a social network, can do this for a little fee of „ $“.  Nah, just kidding. You are good to go. Just make sure that you tag us accordingly and thus give us some credit. Use © Atori-e or create a link to this website. You are further allowed to print a small scale of few seperate artworks for yourself, but don’t sell or claim it as your own work.

If any of you have any further questions, feel free to contact us.

Best regards,

Update: April 2017