Browsing Category

Japan Project

Illustration, Japan Project

Mana Kawasaki

Yesterday I went sightseeing in Shibuya. When I was walking in one of the more quiet streets spotted a lovely little place called called OPA Gallery, that had these beautiful portraits hanging on the wall. I found out they were paint & pencil illustrations by Mana Kawasaki, who draws people, landscapes and still-lives too. So I hang around at the gallery for a while, stared at the faces of these friendly people and fell in love with Mana’s work… Mana Kawasaki graduated from F-School of Illustration and has exhibited her beautiful works at various places.

For more works you can visit her website here.


Mana Kawasaki8Mana Kawasaki1Mana KawasakiMana Kawasaki111Mana Kawasaki11Mana Kawasaki3Mana Kawasaki4Mana Kawasaki9Mana Kawasaki15

Illustration, Japan Project, Painting

Natsuki Kurachi

I came across these works by Natsuki Kurachi on Instagram and was very charmed by the wonderful, long-legged folks in her paintings. So quirky & adorable! Natsuki is currently still studying at Musashino Art University in Tokyo, but already has a quite a large portfolio of works. She has also participated in various solo-and group exhibitions around Japan. You can find many more works & info on her website and follow her on Instagram for new works.



Natsuki KurachiNatsuki KurachiNatsuki KurachiNatsuki Kurachi Natsuki Kurachi Natsuki Kurachi Natsuki Kurachi Natsuki Kurachi Natsuki Kurachi

Illustration, Japan Project

Exposition: Aiko Fukawa

Aiko Fukawa is a Fujisawa-based illustrator who paints cute & colorful animal illustrations in every imaginable color. I’m a big fan of work so I was thrilled to find out she was exhibiting her works in Kyoto during my stay.
Lucky me! Again!

Her colorful paintings turned the gallery into a magical zoo. Cats, dogs, squirrels and bunnies were up on the walls everywhere. Dressed from top to toe and surrounded by little flowers, plants and birds. Oh, how I love Aiko’s work..

Continue Reading

Illustration, Japan Project

Yusuke Yonezu

Plates, plants, croissants & kokeshi dolls.. Yukuse Yonezu can make anything look quirky and cute! I love how he draws the countless things he draws. The zebra butt is probably my favorite. Yusuke Yonezu is a Tokyo-born illustrator whose works have been featured in both solo- and group exhibitions. He is also the author of various children’s books of which you can find some nice images on his blog.

For more illustrations and info about Yusuke, visit his website here:


Yusuke Yonezu Yusuke YonezuYusuke YonezuYusuke YonezuYusuke Yonezu Yusuke YonezuYusuke YonezuYusuke YonezuYusuke Yonezu

Illustration, Japan Project, Mixed Media, Painting

Illustration party in Kyoto

This week I met the wonderful Hatsuki Miyahara, another illustrator I’ve admired for a long time. Not only did Hatsuki invite me to her house, she also organized a little illustrator-party in Koyto! For six hours I got introduced to six super-talented artists who showed me beautiful, cute, clever, and even hilarious creations in all kinds of styles. I asked questions, they answered. We talked about techniques, materials, and about life as an illustrator. They exchanged experiences and tips, we ate, and we laughed. And I felt so special sitting between all these talented people. What a night..

Their styles were very diverse, each with it’s own charm. And it’s only logical to introduce them properly here, so that’s what I’ll do. You’ll find more detailed information of each illustrator below.

Hatsuki, I can not thank you enough for organizing this lovely dinner. THANK YOU!


Illustrator Party KyotoKypto Illustrators party / Mariko YamazakiShuku NishiIllustrator Party KyotoTakeuma



Looking through’s Shuku Nishi’s stunning portfolio was a perfect kick off for our little party. I Love her work! Shuku creates papercut illustrations that have a wonderful surreal touch. Horses and bears having tea parties and cute little girls catching stars. She also creates simple & charming still lifes like bread loafs and patterned bowls.
Kiree desu (beautiful)!

You can also follow Shuku on her blog &  Twitter



Shuku NishiShuku NishiShuku Nishi


Mariko Yamazaki


After studying Graphic Design, Mariko Yamazaki worked as a designer for a company for several years. She started as a freelance designer in 2001, creating digital illustrations that are often used for magazine advertisements. Her style varies widely; she creates beautiful maps and landscapes, but likes to draw pretty big-eyed girls with lovely dresses too.

You can also follow Mariko on her blog


Mariko YamazakiMariko Yamazaki



Illustrator Nao Daimon showed me a beautiful book that was filled with pencil drawings. Plants, flowers, landscapes, and some lovely illustrations of her own pet-bunny too. Her drawings have a soft, simplistic style that is very pleasant to look at. Going through her book, we also came to the conclusion that she likes midori (green) a lot! Some of Nao’s illustrations have recently been selected as winning works at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair. She has also exhibited her works in Taiwan, which she liked a lot. “One of my friends lives in Taiwan, so I loved being there”.

You can also folow Nao on her blog



Nao Daimon

Nao Daimon



Osaka-born illustrator & cartoonist Yukihiro Tada showed me a little map filled with black & white drawings. With every illustration he could tell me exactly what the location was. “These are inspired by photos I took during my travels through Europe”. Such an awesome way to remember a good holiday. Yukihiro Tada has exhibited his work in both solo- and group exhibitions. He also teaches Manga at the University of Arts. More info to be found on his site:

You can also follow Yukihiro on Facebook, Twitter, Behance & his blog.


Yukihiro Tada Yukihiro Tada Yukihiro Tada



Takeuma’s illustrations are hilarious. And I mean this in a good way, of course. Although sometimes you have too look twice, his simplistic, powerful illustrations have this wonderful sense of humor that made me want to see more and more of his work. Takeuma studied at the International Academy of illustration in Kyoto. He creates works for magazines, books and other kinds of of publications, and teaches illustration in art classes too.

You can also folow Takeuma on Facebook, TwitterFlickr & Behance




Studio Takeuma Studio Takeuma



My mouth fell wide open when artist Ryouhei Murata showed me a beautiful selection of his original paintings. His works have a classical style and show a historical, romantic Japan. Temples, samurais and women in colorful kimonos. Absolutely amazing! Ryouhei Murata also showed us his working book in which he draws sketches that later become paintings. His works can be found in samurai stories that are published in newspapers and novels that are very popular in Japan. More to be found via the link.



Ryouhei MurataRyouhei Murata


Illustration, Japan Project

Meeting Hatsuki Miyahara

Japan blog project, day 12

Yesterday was all about colors. Blue sky, pink cherry blossoms (they’re starting to come out!) and rainbow-colored illustrations by Osaka-based artist Hatsuki Miyahara. Another illustrator that stole my heart years ago, and who I was now going to meet in person. Yay!!

In person, Hatsuki is as cheerful as her works are. So happy and sweet.. The kind of woman that brings a smile to your face as soon as you see her. She picked me up from the station in Osaka and showed me to her wonderful home. We entered her house, took off our shoes, poored some Ocha (tea), and started chatting about dreams, about travels, and about Hatsuki’s life as an illustrator.

I asked Hatsuki how she became the artist she is today. She explained that her career started off when she was thirty. “When I was a kid I drew all the time. I still remember how happy I was the moment my parents told me that I could study illustration full-time when I was old enough. But for some reason, that dream went out of sight for a while when it was time to go to college.”

Hatsuki studied economics and worked in an office for some years, but she soon realized that this kind of work wasn’t for her. “I didn’t fit in well. Then I remembered the dream I had as a kid. I knew it was time to quit and go to illustration school.” So she did. And this turned out to be a great decision. Hatsuki is not only an amazingly talented illustrator, she is also a happy illustrator. “I’m so greatful that this is how I make a living now. I love my job!”

It was time to see some of her works. What I like about Hatsuki’s style, is that she paints in layers of colors. I think it’s quite unique as it gives her paintings a very lively & vibrant expression. Hatsuki paints her illustrations by hand and then gives them a finishing touch in photoshop.


Hatsuki Miyahara Hatsuki Miyahara


Although her personal style is very visible, Hatsuki still searches for new techniques to work with. “For me, it is very important to continue developing myself as an illustrator. I want to keep an eye out for upcoming trends. My work may be colorful now, but this might change in the future. All possibilities are open, so we’ll see what happens!”


Hatsuki MiyaharaHatsuki Miyahara Hatsuki Miyahara


Some more works I found her blog:

Hatsuki MiyaharaHatsuki MiyaharaHatsuki Miyahara


I loved meeting Hatsuki yesterday. And it wasn’t going to be the last time we met! Today, Hatsuki organized a little illustration party at a restaurant in Kyoto where I got introduced to six more amazing artists who showed me their works. I won’t give away too much about this yet because I really need some sleep right now. But I’ll tell you this: dining with seven super-talented artists in the heart of Kyoto should be on everyone’s to do-list.

Can’t wait to tell you all about it tomorrow!

For more about Hatsuki Miyahara and her works, you can visit her website and blog.


Hatsuki Miyahara and Sandra Apperloo

Japan Project

Makiko Noda / Ondo Gallery

Japan blog project, day 11

I am now in Osaka, and today I had the pleasure of visiting Illustrator Hatsuki Miyahara at her house. Hatsuki told me one of her favorite galleries in town is Ondo Gallery. Of course I had to visit it.

Now, Ondo Gallery is my favorite place in Osaka too. It’s an artsy space on the second floor of a large building that exhibits talented illustrators such as Kosuke Ajiro and Sora Mizusawa. I was pleasantly surprised when I entered. Drawings, paintings, prints, books and cards… so many cool colors around me! What a great vibe! As it turned out I got there just in time too. Today was the last day that Makiko Noda exhibited her illustrations.

Makiko Noda is a Kobe-based illustrator who creates illustrations for books, magazines and other publications. Her exhibition was called I Am a Cat. As the title suggests, there were cats everywhere. Cat-drawings, cat-collages, cat-broches.. Yes, as a catlady I felt right at place.

I haven’t got that much photograpy experience so I wasn’t able to capture all of Makiko’s work as good as I wanted to. But I hope these still give a good idea of her lovely style and the wonderful atmosphere at Ondo Gallery.

Makiko Noda’ s website:
Ondo Gallery (Osaka & Tokyo):


Noda Makiko : Ondo Gallery Noda Makiko : Ondo Gallery Noda Makiko : Ondo Gallery Noda Makiko : Ondo Gallery Noda Makiko : Ondo GalleryNoda Makiko : Ondo GalleryNoda Makiko : Ondo GalleryNoda Makiko : Ondo GalleryNoda Makiko : Ondo Gallery Noda Makiko : Ondo Gallery

I bought this ladypuppet by Takeru Toyokura as a souvenir!

Takeru Toyokura