Naohisa Inoue (井上 直久, Inoue Naohisa, born in 1948 in Higashiosaka, Osaka, Japan) is a fantasy illustrator and painter influenced by both the Surrealism and Impressionism movements. He is currently a professor at Seian University of Art and Design.
He is best known for Iblard, an original fantasy world that has spawned a video game, manga, picture books, textbooks, a short animated film and an appearance in Whisper of the Heart. His also painted a mural at the Ghibli Museum, which can be found at the central lobby.
Inoue attended the Department of Industrial Art at the Kanazawa University of Arts and Crafts from 1971 to 1973. After graduation, he worked in an advertising agency for two years before becoming an art lecturer at Kasugaoka High School until 1992. In 1980, he published a series of fantastical paintings and named it "Iblard" (イバラード, Ibarādo) where many elements were inspired by his hometown of Ibaraki City.
In 1994, Inoue began exhibiting his works at local galleries. Hayao Miyazaki happened to attend one of his exhibitions and invited him to help develop a number of key sequences in Whisper of the Heart.
World of Iblard
Most of Inoue paintings are set in the fantastical land of Iblard. He created reference and background art for the Studio Ghibli film Whisper of the Heart and also provided a cameo appearance as the voice of Minami. More recently, his works were given a more direct adaptation in the 2007 short film The Day I Bought A Star (星をかった日, Hoshi o Katta Hi) which is shown exclusively at the Ghibli Museum in Mitaka. In 1997, he released a tie-in manga called Iblard Monogatari: Laputa no Aru Fūkei and a Playstation game called Iblard Laputa Kaeru Machi. He also directed the 2007 OVA Iblard Jikan, produced by Studio Ghibli.
Have you ever faced a beautiful landscape in the country-side, or perhaps even in a city, a landscape which you thought was so beautiful that it was in some ways ‘out of this world’? That could have been a scene from Iblard. It could have been a beautiful sun set, or an extraordinary tree, anything can open your personal door to Iblard. Or perhaps there is a place you have always dreamed of, a place that doesn’t exist in this world, but which would have been great fun if it DID exist. Anything your heart desires can be seen in Iblard and everyone opens there own door to this eternal land. When you see something that pleases your eye, that is YOUR entrance to Iblard whether it be a precious stone, pretty clouds, or a beautiful field.. Thus Iblard can in some ways become a mirror reflection of our hearts desires, the landscape in Iblard can change according to our desires, the trains in Iblard (known as Siema) move according to where we want to go.