Illustration Teardowns: Japanese Illustrators

From medieval scrolls to woodblock prints to modern Manga, Japanese illustration has always taken the viewer to whimsical and magical places…

Rob Levin
Rob Levin
Feb 15, 2018 · 4 min read
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illustration by Rob Levin

First off, I need to disclaimer this post by stating that I am not from Japan, so this list is certainly not meant to be comprehensive but more a subset of Japanese illustrators that happen to speak to my own aesthetic taste. For brevity, I’ll defer to A Brief History of Japanese Illustration for a historical overview of Japanese illustration. Also, see Google Art and Culture’s Ukiyo-e section to see some amazing historical woodblock works.

More effort was put in to curation then commentary this time around since I kept finding amazing illustrators to add. As usual, click through to visit artist’s page!

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Hiroyuki Izutsu
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Hiroyuki Izutsu
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Hiroyuki Izutsu
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Hiroyuki Izutsu

While I’m drawn to the his more scenic work, I feel I should also mention that Hiroyuki Izutsu has some amazing portrait work as well.

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Ko. Machiyama
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Ko. Machiyama
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Haiba Yuri (not fully sure if this is correct, the handle is haiba-yuri; let me know if you have info)
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Kenji Urata — Homework
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Kenji Urata — The Distance
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Takahiro Suganuma — Cover illustration for The World Today
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Takahiro Suganuma
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Takahiro Suganuma
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Takahiro Suganuma
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ONEQ
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ONEQ
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Takeshi Miyasaka — While waiting illustration
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Takeshi Miyasaka — Embankment
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Tatsuro Kiuchi—creative use of figure ground and compositional placement
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Tatsuro Kiuchi
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Tatsuro Kiuchi—again with wonderful use of figure ground
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Taku Bannai
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Taku Bannai
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Taku Bannai
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Kazuhisa Uragami
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Kazuhisa Uragami
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Kunihiro Suzuki
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Kunihiro Suzuki
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Naoki Ando
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Naoki Ando

I’m so glad that dijipiji provided a link to the collection of Ido Masao which has some wonderful woodblock prints and paintings:

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Collection of Ido Masao
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Collection of Ido Masao

Japan offers so many amazing contemporary illustrators—and these were just a subset—I’d also encourage you to search for Manga, Ukiyo-e, and Japanese woodblock prints, as well as play around on Google Arts and Culture to learn more about the rich history of Japanese illustration.

Previous in series: Background Details. Next in series: Bay Area Illustrators. Also, you may like one of my other illustration teardowns.

Rob Levin does technical things by day and illustration by night. You can view his blog at https://developtodesign.com and illustration at: https://www.behance.net/roblevin. Also, you may like to read more of the illustration teardowns articles.

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