Sai Tamiya / タミヤ・サイ



タミヤ・サイ /  Sai Tamiya,


I think your illustrations are amazing and I want to learn more about them so it would be really good if over the next couple of months you would be willing to engage in an interview with me about your art and illustration practice. How you started making the images you make? Images, that somehow as if by magic, but really by your talent, carry and transform the rich tradition of Japanese printmaking and aesthetics and really brings it into the contemporary world – in a more modern way.


I would like to help promote your work… because your images contain an essential Japanese style that everyone should see.
ポール・ハリソン  (歩流・梁尊)

Paul Harrison



ポール ハリソンさん





Thank you for your email.

I’m glad that you liked my illustration.




First of all, my work is CG, not real wood prints. I like Japanese paintings and wood prints. But it is not realistic in terms of time or cost to draw drawings using rock paints or inks. So I use a pen tablet to draw as realistic Japanese paintings and wood prints as possible.






I mainly use Painter, Photoshop and a pen tablet.

Draw outlines such as people and background with Painter and paint colors with Photoshop. Then, to lay out realistic prints and textures of Japanese paintings, layer the paper texture captured by the scanner.

Finally, color adjustment is done and it is completion.


Best regards, Sai




I would really love to interview you over the second half of 2018 for a blog post. Let us email each other with two questions each email. About all kinds of topics that relate to your work, Japan, and the wider world.



Here are the first two questions:


一    墨絵と木版よりデジタルなソフトの方が好きです。あのー君はこの働き方の現実化時が説明を出来ませんか。

1) You use digital software rather than the older woodblock printing. Can you describe to me the moment you realized that this way of working was the best for you?


二    雪舟・等楊さんのアートが大好きとブァン・ゴーは墨絵ので大きく影響しました。君ために外人で誰がインスパイアしませんか。

2) I love the work of Sesshū Tōyō and the fact that Van gogh collected Japanese wood block prints. Are there any western artists that influence you?



(I am sorry this reply is late, I am always too busy…) I am planning on visiting Tokyo next year so after our discussion we will become friends in person…


Paul ポール。(歩流・梁尊)









私がイラストレーターとして仕事をし始めた1996年頃に、デジタルイラストレーションが世に出始めて私もMackintoshとFractal Design Painterを使い始めました。デジタルではペンタブレットを使って手書きのように描かくことができ、色の調整や編集が容易であることそして、その頃から出版業界でも次第にフロッピーディスクによるデータ入稿が主流になったのも、私がデジタルソフトウェアを使い始めた一因です。


At first I was using acrylic paint, about 1996 when I began working as an illustrator, digital illustration started to appear in the world and I started using Mackintosh and Fractal Design Painter.In digital, you can paint like a handwriting using a pen tablet, it is easy to adjust and edit colors.

And from that time on, the publishing industry gradually became the mainstream of submission of data by floppy disk.

That is one reason I began using digital software.




私は西洋のテンペラ画がの色合いや質感が好きで、Sandro BotticelliやFra Filippo Lippiをよく参考にしました。私がデジタルで描き始めた頃、私はテンペラ画の質感を表現するために色々なマチエールを作り、それらをスキャンしてイラストレーションに使いました。その手法は今でも使っています。


I was drawing oil painting when I was a high school student and Van Gogh is one of my favorite painters. I like the color and texture of western tempera paintings, especially Sandro Botticelli and Fra Filippo Lippi. When I began to draw in digital, I made various material to express texture of tempela picture, scanned them and used it for illustration. I still use that method.


It would be nice to meet you when you came to Japan next year.



  1. You have had a lot of success with your style. I really think that works like: ‘man with carp’ , and ‘the Girl with an umbrella’ are not too idealised or realistic but achieve a great blend between the two. [I am not sure of these titles are correct, but your instagram account provides a great overview], then you also have deeply erotic illustrations. I wanted to ask you two questions: 1) Which Japanese artist working with eroticism do you like? 2) Do you think works that are erotic in some way are more subjective than objective? Because sex can be thought of in many different ways?


  1. 君のスタイルと盛況をくれました。私は絵から, ‘男性と鯉’と’彼女と傘’が理想家と現実的を過ぎるじゃないので良いブレンドをしました。(多分、タイトルは正しくないです。分からない…) そして、深くて色っぽい絵も有るから、2つの質問を尋ねたいです。一、誰の色っぽい画家が好きですか。二、サイくんは色っぽいアートをもっと主観的か客観的でどう思いますか。セクスは色々な考え方を有ろう。



man with carp


ポール ハリソンさん









>1)Which Japanese artist working with eroticism do you like?






>2) Do you think works that are erotic in some way are more subjective than objective? Because sex can be thought of in many different ways?






1) Which Japanese artist working with eroticism do you like?


They may not be an artist who draws erotism, but I like Seiichi Hayashi and Komura Settai.(They also draw nudity)Hayashi Shiichi is an illustrator who played an active part in various media in the 1970-1980 years, and the woman he draws is very attractive with its annui atmosphere. Komura Settai is an artist over 80 years ago. Although his illustrations are simple, the composition is refined and makes it feel narrative. It seems to be an ukiyoe print, not an ukiyo-e, it seems old and a new style.


2) Do you think works that are erotic in some way are more subjective than objective? Because sex can be thought of in many different ways?


Since it depends on the case, it can say either, but what you are painting at work is objective. Illustrations of novels are for helping readers imagine the story scenes,I draw illustrations faithfully to the story as much as possible, from characters, scenes, to the background of the times.



Best regards







The 4th, 5th, 6th questions…



  1. Sai, in all your images which one do you like the most?



  1. Geisha are famous in Japan, recently thisCulture is regressing but sometime a normal Japanese woman wears the kimono and seems like a Geisha. Sai, what is your opinion on this?



  1. Recently a colleague of mine made a recommendation. An author of a book, ‘Yukio Mishima, “Confessions of a Mask”. And, I like anime, which anime do you like? For example, “Hagenenorenkinjitsu”…


SAI, I will send you some more questions soon… もうすぐ、多分もっと三個の質問を送っています。じゃ、元気だね…




ポール ハリソンさん









I like “after the festival” in the paintings I drew recently.

The reason is the expression and composition of the person.

I think I was able to express a little lonely atmosphere as she came back from the shrine festival.




The Girl with an umbrella







In Japan, I still wear a yukata at a festival and wear kimonos at an adult ceremony etc, In general, geisha is a hostess with skills to entertain customers at banquets and the like,a woman wearing a kimono and a geisha are quite different to me in Japanese. I want kimono to become more popular like everyday wear.





I don’t see much of recent animation, but I often see it when I was a child is a series called “World Masterpiece Theater”. I like all the stories, but I especially like “Anne of Green Gables” among them.

Best regards



オケー、終わるの四つの質問です。(私たちは忙しい人ので僕に悲しさを成るですけど会えるでこの話すを続けている) そして、君の答えが好きです。私は多くて新しい事を習います。

Okay, four last questions (It makes me sad but we are both busy and can continue our conversations in person), and I like your answers. I am learning many new things.


七ー    日本でスタジオジブリのテーマパークを開ける事が楽しみにしますか。行きませんか。ディズニーランドも有るととても人気なー。

  1. Are you looking forward to the Ghibli Theme park opening? Will you go? Japan has Disneyland and it is very popular.


八ー     音楽は話しません。ゴールデンボンバーよりBABY METALどちらが好きですか。どちら聞きたいですか。

  1. We haven’t discussed music. Which one do you prefer? Golden Bomberor Baby Metal? Which will you listen to?


九ー   私はタオ・オカモトさんが敬愛します。この彼女は映画にザー ウルバリーンで見えました。誰かが好きですか。

  1. I have a crush on the actress Tao Okamoto. I saw her in the film ‘The Wolverine’ (2013). Is there someone who you admire?

十ー    しまいに世界に将来お仕事を説明しで下さい。何の君のアートの展覧会が皆さんは楽しみにします。

  1. Finally, please tell the world what work you have planned for the near future. What exhibitions of your work can we look forward to?



ポール ハリソンさん








I’m a fan of Hayao Miyazaki, I am looking forward to the opening of Ghibli Park.

I like “My neighbor Totoro” in Ghibli’s movies, Tokorozawa I lived in college days is also the stage of “Totoro”,

there are still Totoro’s forests in the suburbs.

It is good to take a stroll around the city where the movie was set.



私がよく聴くのは1970~80年代の音楽で、ディスコやファンクが特に好きです。洋楽ではEarth, Wind & Fire、邦楽では山下達郎が好きで、最近は80年代の日本のシティポップスをよく聴きます。


Unfortunately I don’t hear either.

I often listen to music in the ‘70s and ’80s, especially like disco and funk.

I like Earth, Wind & Fire in Western music, and Tatsuro Yamashita in Japanese music. Recently I listen to Japanese popular city pop in the 80’s.


私はマイケル・J・フォックスが大好きです。彼の映画では”バック・トゥ・ザ・フューチャーが”有名ですが、The Secret of My Successも私の大好きな映画です。

I love Michael J. Fox. In his movie “Back to the Future” is famous, “The Secret of My Success” is also my favorite movie.






Currently I mainly draw illustrations of books and book covers, but in the future

I would like to increase the work on other media as well.

As my illustration is drawing Japanese style like Japanese paintings, I would like to make use of it even in overseas work.

イラストレーションを添付します。 インタビューをどうもありがとうございました。

Best regards




Sai Tamiya is a freelance Illustrator who lives and works in Tokyo Japan. See the illustrations at: and on Instagram: @saitamiya

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s