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How 8-year-old Daikichi designs his own pictograms in Sketch

Our next generation of designers is here — and Daikichi is blazing the trail

You’re never too young to start pursuing your dreams. And at only 8 years old, Daikichi is living proof. We were floored when his father, Nob Nukui, shared the young designer’s pictogram work on Twitter. Not to mention honored to discover that Sketch is his tool of choice!

When he’s not designing, Daikichi continues to show promise as a young artist, splitting his time between performing Rakugo (traditional Japanese comedy) and practicing juggling. If you’re wondering where his inspiration comes from, you’re in for a treat. We reached out to him and Nob to find out — and today, we’re excited to share Daikichi’s story.

How did Daikichi get started with Sketch?

Sometimes, Daikichi will watch me (I’m Nob, hi!) work in my office, and he once asked me what application I was using for my design work. So I showed him Sketch! That was about two years ago.

Can you tell us more about your own design background?

I’ve been an icon designer, web designer, UI designer, and chief creative officer at several companies. Now, I operate my own studio, Super Lucky Boy, as a founder designer. Because he sees me on my computer all the time, he’s naturally curious about the tools I use — and I use Sketch for work.

We’ve seen some of his pictograms on Twitter! Can you tell us more about these projects?

Last summer, he really enjoyed the pictogram-themed performance at the Opening Ceremony of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and became inspired by it. He investigated pictograms everywhere, taking photos around the city, and began to draw some himself in Sketch (with some guidance).

An image of Daikichi taking photos around his city.

Daikichi’s curiosity takes him beyond the classroom and through the streets of Tokyo.

Summer vacation in Japan is only about 40 days long, and there’s usually lots of homework to do. One project is called ‘free research’, where students can start to develop their own, independent interests. All the students are free to choose a theme, experiment, research, create, and challenge themselves. They submit their results in a report when the new semester starts!

This is Daikichi’s second year doing a pictogram-related project, and since last year’s assignment was so well-received, he wanted to try something based on a new hobby he’s picked up: juggling. My wife, Ayumi, runs an arts and crafts studio for children, Amo Craft Lab, and she encouraged him to make silkscreened shirts with pictograms.

An image showing Daikichi’s pictogram designs in Sketch’s Mac app.

Inspired by the Opening Ceremony at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, Daikichi designed his own pictograms based on his latest hobby: juggling.

What are his favorite things to design in Sketch? And does he have any favorite features?

Because Daikichi isn’t the most comfortable drawing by hand, he loves that he can draw clean lines and shapes in Sketch. Moreover, the ability to undo, redo, copy, and change colors are things that only exist digitally! And he’s already picking up keyboard shortcuts.

He used to head to the toolbar when drawing new objects, but now he just presses R on the keyboard for the Rectangle tool, or O for making ovals. He also duplicates layers and Artboards by holding ! It lets him easily create his next idea immediately.

An image showing Daikichi using Sketch to design an arts and crafts project.

When working on arts and crafts, Daikichi’s design process starts in Sketch!

What does Daikichi want to be when he grows up?

He wants to be a creator. His dream is to one day become a Pixar character artist or designer. He’s been inspired and influenced by Pixar and Disney ever since he was little — when my friend Louie and I would talk about it!

What advice do you have on encouraging children to be creative?

We have a fairly creative household, being artists and designers ourselves. Our kids learn a lot from what their parents value — and they see us draw, create, paint, and design. So when our kids express interest in things like juggling and design, it just makes us proud, and we want to let them follow their hearts.

You can keep up with Nob on Twitter and Dribbble. And if you ask us, you’ll likely see more of Daikichi on these platforms soon too 🤩

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