Shohei Otomo can sometimes be found simply under the working name “Shohei.” That might possibly have been an effort to downplay his heritage, because when your father is responsible for some of the most influential manga and anime ever it can be hard to get looked at as an individual.

However, outside of a certain degree of edginess and high degree of Akira and Domu, creator Katsuhiro Otomo and his son each stand alone with their respective arts. Shohei has the unique gift of creating a provocative illustration using only a ballpoint with such a level of detail and texture that you can get lost in them.

He’s posted a series of time-lapse YouTube videos showing him at his craft which is a spectacle almost as impressive as the drawings themselves.

The characters he creates all have a blend of realism and comic-book aesthetics that make them look capable of either something hideous and gritty or something magical and surreal. Cops with gnarled faces and rocket-powered geisha are but a few of his beautifully textured and shaded works.

Image: Hakuchi

Image: Hakuchi

Image: Hakuchi

They’re so deeply detailed that it’d be hard to believe that he did all of it with ballpoint pens alone. He probably figured that too, which might be why Shohei has several videos showing him at work in high-speed. Here are a few.

And here’s a very well-made profile of Shohei himself by Alexander and Louis Mitchell from Backwoods Gallery where you can purchase some of his prints (link below). It really highlights Shohei’s inspirations nicely.

As Shohei says in the video, Japan isn’t always a pretty and polite place, but in those dark areas you can find a certain absurd charm if you’re willing to look into it. In that way, his images seem to capture that aspect of Japanese culture perfectly.

Some of Shohei Otomo’s prints can be purchased online from Backwoods Gallery.

Shohei Otomo on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube (Japanese)
An English fanpage for Shohei on Facebook

Source:  (Japanese)
Images: Hakuchi
Videos: YouTube – Wakyo, Carhartt WIP, SHOHEI OTOMO, Vimeo – Alexander Mitchell