I’ve always felt weird calling my “stuff” art, even long before I figured out why. I think that today we tend to categorize anything that is a hand/computer generated image as “art”, and I must say that I do not quite agree with this perspective. To me, “art” must contain some sort of message transmitted through a certain medium. In this case, technique is merely a tool that is used to express oneself. However, illustration is entirely different: there is usually very little significance beyond the image itself. In this case, technique is the main attraction. I sometimes find myself staring at an illustration for half an hour just to absorb all the detail and the way the colors work together. To me, illustration is the exposition of beauty, not in the sense of what is depicted as “beauty” in society today, but the illustrator’s unique idea of beauty.For many years now, I have been searching for a way to express a message through what I draw. I must admit that I find it very difficult. For me, drawing is my way of bringing what I see in my mind into the world. Looking at it now, I think I am much closer to being an amateur illustrator than an artist. However, I still have the greatest respect for those who are capable of using their art to communicate. The best example of such an artist is yuumei. She never ceases to amaze me with how deep and thought provoking her works are. At the same time, I also enjoy studying the work of many gifted illustrators, such as Matsuo Hiromi and Kan, just to pick up what I can from their sense of style and composition (something I really need to work on!).And last but not least, I find that many of the artists/illustrators I respect are not professionals (in the sense that they studied art in college), and that many of them developed their technique and artistic ability on their own. As a student going into engineering, I am doubtful that I will have much time to spend on personal indulgences such as drawing in university, particularly because of the reputed rigor of the program I’m heading into. Despite this obstacle, I know that I will continue to observe the world around me and make note of the way beauty is represented by others, and use what time I can spare to bring my visions to life.