Yoji Shinkawa

Yoji Shinkawa (Japanese新 川 洋 司Yoji Shinkawa, born December 25, 1971 in Hiroshima ) is a Japanese illustrator and conceptual artist. He is known for his designs of characters, stage sets - especially for mechanical objects in the video game series Metal Gear and Zone of the Enders.

  • 2.1 General
  • 2.2 emergence
  • 2.3 Tools: Analog
  • 2.4 Tools: Digital
  • 2.5 Tools: imagination of the beholder



Yoji Shinkawa was born on December 25, 1971 in Hiroshima. He is Art Director at Kojima Productions and well known for his illustrations and character designs for the video game series Metal Gear Solid and Zone of the Enders. He has the blood group "AB". His star sign is Capricorn. He's in the Year of the Pig born and a fan of heavy metal music and artists, such as Megadeth and Yngwie Malmsteen.


Since his childhood, Yoji Shinkawa is a creative spirit in many ways. This was already evident in elementary school when young Shinkawa. He often got praise for his drawings. The art of others inspired him as well, so he was a big fan of anime. Especially " Gundam " and " Five Star Story". Animes that stood by giant robots and inspired him artistically. The reading was also a part of his pastime. Here above all manga. In an interview Yoji Shinkawa revealed that he was a fan of the "old " manga. By this he means Ashita no Joe, and Ganbatte Genki.

He graduated from high school and took place during the summer art courses in Tokyo to promote some of his talent. He experienced great support from his former high school teacher. He recognized his talent immediately and prepared him for his future education.

The result was that the young Shinkawa visited an art- oriented college. In an interview with IGN he said that he had much to do with oil painting. This helped him to refine his techniques. However, he brought himself to his comic style himself at. During this time, produced designs that were very important for his later projects.

Occupation: career

His professional career at Konami began in 1994. Konami is today one of the largest video game companies in Japan. Apparently Hideo Kojima was immediately impressed by him when he had seen the 3D model, which he had prepared for the interview. At first he worked as a " debugger " for the game Policenauts. Later, he had the task to take care of the artistic part of the console implementation.

His ability did not go unnoticed and he was appointed by Hideo Kojima to work as a character designer for his upcoming project, Metal Gear Solid. This appeared on the Playstation One game is one of the most successful Games ever released and was to influence the video game industry. His designs for the Metal Gear Rex, Solid Snake, Meryl Silverbrugh and many other characters in the game can be seen as crucial for success. He became very famous through this work.

He also worked on Zone of the Enders, where he took many designs directly from his sketchbook of the study period. They were mainly influenced by robot anime.

Occupation: Accretion of work

Meanwhile, Yoji Shinkawa " art director " for Konami Productions. He can be attributed to the following titles, in which he has fulfilled various tasks:



Yoji Shinkawa himself claims that his style was the result of the many styles that he copied from other artists. Among them are Japanese artists such as: Yoshikazu Yasuhiko and Yoshitaka Amano. As well as Western artists: Aubrey Beardsley, Enki Bilal, Jean Giraud and Frank Miller.


At the age of 12 or 13, he discovered in the import section of a bookstore that first time "Western" comics. This meeting is an important event in the development of his style. He was very impressed by the way in which these comics were drawn. He felt it was very detailed, and despite the fact that he did not understand the content, he could follow the plot roughly. In an interview he is quoted as saying: " Wow! Drawing can be done this way too! "When he for the first time a Western comic saw through exactly.

In another interview, Yoji Shinkawa explained why he works with brushes. According to his statements, he first tried to work with a so-called G-Pen. In books, in which it comes to how to draw manga, is often noted to use a G-Pen. But he was dissatisfied with the result of this drawing tool. One day he discovered " Arion " by Yoshikazu Yasuhiko. He admired the lines of the drawings. They had a special style that resulted due to the use of a brush. Thus, he decided to work with brushes and imitate this technique.

Tools: Analog

Its main tool is a so-called brush pen from Pentel. Also known as Pentel Brush Pen For his designs, he uses almost only brush pens from Pentel. In an interview he stated that he used two different Brush Pen's. A the tip was already slightly frayed, as well as a state in the ordinary course of particularly beautiful lines. In the same interview he explained why he does not use a normal brush for his work. According to his testimony, he often tried already from various brush. But they were yielding him to either fine or too.

In addition to the brush pen he likes to use thin ink, for example shades. In an interview he stated that he prefers to draw black and white. So he has to worry about the colors. Ink correction and a correction pen is as much a part of his repertoire.

Some of his works include a rough texture to resemble the Japanese paper. It is somewhat coarser than normal paper. This texture is created in the Yoji Shinkawa, standard copy paper with thin black ink painted, photocopied and then scanned, so that he can digitally process the texture. He uses this technique frequently.

Tools: Digital

When it comes to work digitally, Yoji Shinkawa preferred the creative programs Adobe Photoshop and Corel Painter. Where he makes a clear distinction here. Painter used for all drawing operations which are digitally necessary, whereas he used Photoshop for the coloring of his designs. However, in an interview, he said in the same sentence that he prefers to draw on paper, since it is not possible a real brush tip to simulate satisfactorily, with all its intricacies and contingencies. The coloring of his works can be realized, however, for him digitally better because he can always make corrections. Or also can use other color styles, without developing a complete new design. He mentioned several times that he uses a Mac. His original designs he never scans mostly. He prefers to make a copy using a photocopier in black and white. He uses this copy to scan, because it acts as somewhat coarser.

Tools: imagination of the beholder

Also a very important tool of Japanese Art Directors is the imagination of the viewer. What does that mean? Many of his works see at first glance somewhat " unfinished " from. The reason is that some sites were not deliberately drawn to an end. They are simply white. But that does not fall to negative. On the contrary, our imagination is stimulated to replace the missing digits. A very conscious stylistic device to great effect.