Recently, I got the chance to interview one of the most well-known YO-KAI WATCH fans and fan artists found on Twitter, @jeluto_, also known as Jesslyn Torres. She is known for her unique spray art-style and her love for Inaho and USApyon in YO-KAI WATCH! I have been good friends with her for quite a while, and you will get to know her more in this interview! I hope you enjoy! All of the artwork in the interview is drawn by her! There will be spoilers of the YW anime regarding Inaho and USApyon too!
Introduction: I am Jesslyn “Jess” Torres! I am a freelance illustrator based in New York. I love anime, mug collecting, and cooking.
Q1: What aspired you to become an artist and why do you love drawing?
A: When I was really young, my older sister, my mother, and I would sit at a small table and draw. At the time, art was more of my sisters department, but being the younger sister at the time I wanted to do it too. I remember one time during our sessions she looked over to my work and scoffed, calling what I was doing “scribbles”. I believe that is when I decided to become an artist!
I did not actually consider doing it seriously until middle school when my “I want to be a mangaka and move to Japan” phase ended and I began using social media. I love drawing because art is there to describe emotions and tell stories when words just do not work. Which is good because I cannot write very well!
Q2: How did you decide on your art style on your drawings? There is this neat spray paint style you do with drawings that I really like!
A: It is really a culmination of some of my biggest artistic inspirations! I am a very big fan of 50s/60s era art and cartoons, so I wanted a style to reflect that. I actually struggled for the longest time looking for a style I really liked and could stick with. It is still a work and progress, but I think I am making strides in the right direction and I am glad people enjoy it so much!
Q3: What drawing skills do you use to greatly enhance your art?
A: I have never had any formal schooling when it came to art, so a lot of my knowledge comes from tutorials or guides I have found on the internet. I also do some life studies from time to time to help grasp certain concepts. I find when I study from pictures, I have a better time memorizing what I am trying to learn and then applying it to something else to make the process easier.
It is the same with art styles as well. Usually when you mess with how you draw you tend to take in what you have previously done and kinda mesh it together to create a new and better product. I always thought of it like leveling up in a video game.
Q4: What do you hope to accomplish in life with your artistic skills?
A: I want to make something memorable. Something that people will talk about and love for a very long time. I want to make something that will be analyzed and criticized in great depth. Something like YO-KAI WATCH. No clue what it will be yet though!
Q5: What artists do you look up to? Any particular YW artists you look up to as well?
A: The first artists that come to my mind are Iwao Takamoto, Eyvind Earle, Geraldine Kovats, Elle Michalka, and Nico Marlet. If I named them all, I would have enough to fill a book!
Q6: How did you discover YO-KAI WATCH and what first made you become a fan of the franchise?
A: I discovered YO-KAI WATCH through my older sister. She got into it first and would tell me about it from time to time. We watched the entire anime together over the course of a few weeks. What really sold me on YW as a whole though was how creative and unique it was. Sure I have heard of monster collecting games but YW was so different that it intrigued me and when I was not looking it snatched me up.
Q7: What about YO-KAI WATCH makes you love the franchise in general?
A: Speaking as an artist, I really enjoy the Yo-kai designs. There is a little something for everyone. There is bound to be at least ONE Yo-kai that you can look at and think, “I love how you look!” I also love how each Yo-kai has a unique personality. Even though some people may complain about recolors, YW at least makes an effort to make all the Yo-kai their own being.
Q8: I have seen you draw Inaho/USApyon more than any other YO-KAI WATCH character, and you seem to be enjoy drawing them so much. What about them makes them fun to draw for you?
A: It really helps that they are both my favorite! I love their designs and imagining what type of wacky scenarios they could get into outside the anime. Their personalities work great off each other for funny gags and punchlines for comics that I like to illustrate from time to time.
Q9: What caused your huge attachment with Inaho and USApyon? Were there any particular characteristics that made you love him so much?
A: I found out beforehand that there would be new secondary protagonists in YW and initially resented both Inaho and USApyon before their introduction. Keita really grew on me, and I was skeptical that new protagonists would be as entertaining as Keita and his gang were. I was definitely proven very wrong!
Inaho was quick to capture my heart. She reminds me of myself. So much so that I find myself projecting myself onto her in my art. She is obnoxious, loud, energetic and I love it! It was a nice change of pace from Keita’s character. Underneath her erratic exterior she can actually be very sweet.
She genuinely cares about her friends and will go to great lengths to help them. Even if she was bribed into helping USApyon, she shows genuine concern when he is upset and goes out of her way to question the professor. I look forward to when we can learn more about her. I believe a good character like her deserves more development!
USApyon was almost the opposite. I did not specifically care for him at first. I do not think it was until near the conclusion of the rocket segment did I actually find myself caring about him a lot more. Despite his cute little space costume, USApyon is very down to Earth. He has a lot of qualities I enjoy in a character.
He is short tempered and tries a little too hard to be cool. Even though he is usually at ends with Inaho, it is clear they both care about each other. Their friendship is really sweet and very wacky. It kind of reminds me of older cartoon antics. Inaho and USApyon work very well off each other. I do not think they would be the same without the other.
Q10: Do USApyon and/or Inaho’s personalities closely resemble your personality in real life? Are there any certain friends in real life who share similar qualities?
A: I am more Inaho than USApyon! Unfortunately to my friends and family, I have yet to meet an USApyon equivalent that could do everyone a favor and put me in line! Inaho and I both can be very erratic and slightly obnoxious when it comes to things we like! I do not know exactly how far it goes, but far enough to make me feel a closeness to her character.
Q11: How far does your attachment with USApyon go? (Like merch, how many drawings, etc.)
A: I am more interested in figures and plushes, so I do not have as much USApyon merch as people think I do surprisingly! Just some plushes and a few figures. I do not know if I could count all of my USApyon stuff! They are all spread out! Haha! I have considered making a shimeji for USApyon, but I do not think I would ever go through with it.
Q12: Aside from Inaho/USApyon, what other YO-KAI WATCH characters do you love? Any other Yo-kai you love drawing too?
A: There are so many! I really love Keita, Whisper, and Jibanyan. All of their antics are hilarious (yet sometimes cruel). The characters I find myself drawing the most after Inaho and USApyon are Toadal Dude, Arachnus, Shutendoji, Jibanyan, and Keita.
Q13: Are there any favorite moments you had with the YO-KAI WATCH games and/or anime?
A: The first thing that comes to mind was watching the first YO-KAI WATCH movie for the first time! Watching the anime hype up the movie got me really excited and I still remember getting really warm and watching the movie while we got snowed in. I found the rocket segment conclusion episode with Inaho and USApyon to be very sweet and I felt it secured their friendship for the rest of the series.
Q14: Are there any other characters you love drawing outside of YO-KAI WATCH?
A: Outside of YO-KAI WATCH, I am a really big fan of Mob Psycho 100 and Hunter x Hunter, so I tend to draw characters from those series in my spare time. I tend to revisit old series I like occasionally so for fun I will draw something for those too. Recently, I have been trying to develop characters for a comic I would like to make, but I cannot give any specifics out yet!
Q15: What other hobbies do you love doing aside from drawing or YO-KAI WATCH?
A: Besides drawing I like collecting mugs, cooking, and playing games! I am not very good at any of those things but it is still fun. I started playing Osu! not too long ago and it is a blast. I also like playing Splatoon. Someday, I will make it to S+!
Q16: Is there anything you want to say to those who want to become great artists like you?
A: It is okay to take small detours and go at your own pace. Enjoy the little things, you will get where you wanna be eventually. Do not stress about if you are not at the level you want to be yet. You will still be learning and getting better when you are old and your arm falls off, so there is no rush. I believe in you!
Bluey Pikmin: Alright! Thank you for your time with the interview!
Jesslyn: No problem! Thank you for interviewing me!