Pantsu-Desu - Interview
Time Zones! They make things tricky-wicky! However, after surmounting that, Pantsu-Desu arrived at my Pacific mountain-top on a ladder of elastic limbs. Below was a flash of pink hair. After a tea ceremony that I totally faked, we settled into a conversation.
When did you first start posting your work publicly? Was that an anxious process?
I started posting my work anonymously in 2015 with a few Flipnote Studio animations on 4chan which were really well received. I didn't actually make myself known until late 2017. It was a bit of a daunting experience, but the community as a whole made me feel really welcome, so that was definitely a plus!
By the time you were posting on deviantArt, were you drawing on any other artists for inspiration?
(drawing, hurr hurr)
(I see what you did there)
I'd been lurking for a long time, so there were a lot of artists on DA I had admired and inspired me to do my own spin on things. I'd say my main inspirations for stretchy art came from kecomaster and yooi; they were the ones who convinced me that stretchy was definitely a subject you could apply to ecchi scenarios.
Let's get into that! I was definitely inspired by your massive project about Saki. Mixing your art with Cones' writing was a surprising discovery. Could you talk about how this partnership came about, and maybe some lessons learned about collaborating with other creatives?
Would it surprise you to say it was kind of an accident?
I had only really started to draw Saki at the time, but hadn't had any plans to flesh her out. Cones had reached out asking if people were interested in him writing a story and out of impulse I jumped on it, hoping to self-indulge with a little one-shot of how Saki got her powers.
We got to talking more about her and throwing ideas at each other during the writing process, and by the time he'd finished Chapter 1, we'd decided the ideas we did have were too good to keep it as a one shot. From there, we decided to keep it going and make it a large scale collaboration effort.
Cones has been amazing to work with; I'd say the core lesson I've learnt from working with him is being able to see things from both the artistic and written perspective. The collaboration effort has been a two way street since day one and I can say with certainty Saki and the story wouldn't be as popular as they are without his creative input. He deserves a ton of credit for the work he's put in.
Absolutely. On the topic of "powers" I'd say that a lot of the elastic community centers around the superhero trope. Saki's character is an exception to that. Was it a considered choice, or was it more of an organic process out of that collaboration?
Yeah, a lot of the ideas we had when shaping the story as a whole were centered around making it stand out as something unique that hadn't really been explored before. I find a lot of fun in exploring fantastic people and abilities in mundane scenarios and what kind of character driven stories you can make from those.
It humanizes her. The art looks like a paused anime, and there are even animations included. Could you compare the effort that goes into those illustrations, and the manga that you created?
Illustrating the accompanying art for each chapter was really difficult at first; a lot of the challenge comes from taking Cones' writing and envisioning it in your mind's eye, and getting it down on paper in a way that does it justice. That and I'd never tried backgrounds before!
As time has gone on, the process has gotten easier as my skills and confidence have improved, for sure. It was when I'd completed the picture for Chapter 3, when I really felt like I'd taken the next step as an artist and my studying had paid off.
The manga was a massive project and a lot of fun to work on, but going from what is a still image to a whole narrative sequence in your head is a massive jump in skillset. Let's just say I have a ton of respect for artists and mangaka who can do this kind of thing on deadlines!
Tools change over time, and now platforms do as well. What was it like going from deviantArt to things like Twitter and Patreon? Is it difficult to have more of a public persona?
Patreon was the scariest thing - there's definitely a massive anxiety around knowing people like your work enough to support you monetarily and sometimes around the more negative stigma that can bring as well. It can put you under a bit of pressure mentally.
Being on social media can definitely put you under the spotlight as well, though I'm more the kind of person that prefers to go under the radar and do my own thing. I've tried being more public with streams and so on but it's not really my cup of tea. I get a lot of performance anxiety!
Actually, your streams are really fun! There's animations, music and you laugh at what people are saying in chat. Do you feel nervous before those begin?
Absolutely, there's a lot of internal screaming before, during and after, haha! I'll never make it as a vtuber.
I like to talk through some formative things when it comes to particular interests, and I was wondering what your catalyst was for elastic body types?
I grew up watching a lot of the 90s cartoons as a kid, and Mr. Fantastic in particular stood out to me in just how useful his abilities could be in everyday life.
Then, as a teen I was introduced to Galatea in the TV spin off for the Disney Hercules movie, which was a perfect storm of being a cute girl, who was stretchy, who was voiced by my celebrity crush. At that point there was no going back.
Do you have any personal or technical advice for someone who wants to start creating art for an online audience?
Honestly, if you're looking to create art for an audience, just make sure you're having fun when creating it. Nothing can discourage you more if you don't enjoy the creative process. If you're enjoying your work and that enjoyment shines through in the stuff you create, then you'll naturally find yourself an audience.
Finally, just a personal thank you - I think I told you a while back, but I started writing when I was sick with COVID-19, and the thing that really inspired me was Saki.
That's generally been a big reason I do this, I've wanted my stuff to inspire people to create content, so whenever someone says "I draw/write/render because of your stuff." that is literally the single greatest complement.
Pantsu-Desu is a nice person and does nice things. He also made me melt just now.
Pixiv (currently posting)
Patreon (so much fun - amazing and welcoming community!)