OK, What do you get when you combine the colorful open-lined style of Ukiyo-e woodblock prints with ink outline and color styles from comic book art, fashion drawing , movie posters, surrealist drawings, pen and ink illustrators from the 30’s, pop art from the 60’s and modern mainstream illustration, throw them in the pop-culture blender, mix well, and sprinkle with a dash of influences from Indian art and elsewhere?
You get the delightful work of New York based illustrator Yuko Shimizu (not to be confused with the Japanese designer of the same name who created the Hello Kitty character).
Shimizu’s illustrations have a fresh, casual feeling. The line work is relaxed and informal, the lines themselves are often textured. Her colors are more muted than they seem at first, it is her use of them together that creates the impression of brightness. There is a really pleasing feeling of openness and immediacy, and the way she plays with her influences makes her images feel familiar and new at the same time.
Her clients include he The New Yorker, Rolling Stone, Financial Times, Entertainment Weekly, Time, Playboy, MTV, Neiman Marcus and others.
If you enter her website and happen to click on the link for “Recent Illustrations”, you can get happily lost in her portfolio of illustrations. They are arranged by topic, so you will find some repeated in different sections, but you won’t be disappointed to encounter them a second time.
Don’t get so involved in the illustrations, though, that you forget to come back to the home page, where you will find links to her paintings and a range of special projects, like her Letters of Desire sexy alphabet book project, comic related illustrations, themed sketchbook projects and more. There are also links there to her bio and news pages.
My favorite of these projects is her fascinating “New Drawing Series“, a series of loosely themed ink drawings at times accented with understated color.