Studio Ghibli anime producer teaches kids at home how to draw

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Time on your hands and a love of anime? A producer from Japan’s Studio Ghibli is offering an online tutorial for drawing one of its most beloved characters: Totoro.

Toshio Suzuki, former president of the Tokyo-based studio, contributed the video to a website intended to support children stuck at home during the coronavirus outbreak.

“Hi everyone. I will teach you how to draw Totoro,” a grinning Suzuki says in the brief lesson, first painting the outline of the rotund character, which resembles something between a cat, an owl, and a raccoon.

Japanese producer Toshio Suzuki poses at the 69th Cannes Film Festival in Cannes. (files)
Japanese producer Toshio Suzuki poses at the 69th Cannes Film Festival in Cannes. (files)

Using an ink brush, he advises that “the most important” element of illustrating the creature is to draw its rounded eyes set far apart. “This is something you can do at home. Everyone, please draw pictures,” Suzuki says.

The lovable Totoro is the star of Studio Ghibli’s popular film “My Neighbour Totoro”, which tells the story of two sisters and their friendships with forest creatures.

It was released in 1988 and became an instant classic, remaining popular both in Japan and abroad, even hitting Chinese cinemas for the first time in 2018.

Suzuki produced the movie, along with other major Studio Ghibli animations such as “Kiki’s Delivery Service,” “Princess Mononoke” and “Spirited Away.”

Japan has seen a smaller coronavirus outbreak than parts of Europe or the United States, but many schools have been closed since late February and the country is currently under a state of emergency.

Tokyo’s popular Ghibli Museum, featuring the works of the studio’s Oscar-winning animator Hayao Miyazaki, is among the public and private facilities that have been closed for months.

Suzuki’s video is on a website set up by his hometown of Nagoya to support children stuck at home, and also features video messages from celebrities and famed athletes linked to the city.

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