Yuko Shimizu is an illustrator who I first profiled in 2007, mentioned again in 2010, and featured prominently in the article I wrote on contemporary illustrators for the Summer 2013 issue of Drawing Magazine.
Shimizu (not to be confused with the Japanese designer with the same name who created “Hello Kitty”) is orignally from Japan and now based in New York City. Her illustration style is a fascinating blend of influences from Japanese traditional and pop culture, American pop culture, comics, classic illustration, woodblock prints, and probably a myriad of other sources I haven’t picked up on.
She works in both traditional and digital media, often drawing/painting with ink and traditional Japanese calligraphy brushes, and then taking the drawing into Photoshop to apply digital color.
She also frequently will take her brush and ink line and translate it into color, producing a distinct and fascinating contrast with the more traditional ink line and color fill common to woodblock prints and other illustration techniques.
Shimizu’s line work is full of energy and verve and her color choices are frequently unexpected, particularly in the way certain colors are juxtaposed against one another. I very much enjoy the way she plays with floral and animal forms in her images — sometimes as subjects, and sometimes as design elements in the composition.
The gallery on her website can be filtered by genre to a degree, but I find it fascinating to simply leaf through, enjoying the contrast between subjects.