Yuko Shimazu Yuko Shimazu Yuko Shimizu

Award winning Japanese illustrator based in New York City and instructor at School of Visual Arts.

Tokyo business trip: studio is closed

I took off to Tokyo. Studio will be closed till August 25th. Also, next shipment for the shop will be on the last week of August. Thank you for understanding.
Vacation, it is not.

I was never that person who wanted to be on TV. I am actually still not into the idea.  I mean, why do I want to embarrass myself in front of millions of people?  After all, I haven’t even owned a TV in past five years, and I get most of my latest news from WNYC and NY Times.
But when a TV station from Japan comes knocking on my door, why not? Just once, to see whether I like it, or not. I am open to doing things at least once.

Nippon Television filming crew has been shooting a footage in NY for about a week, and now it’s my turn to go do a studio recording.
I don’t know much about Japanese TV shows, but it will be a 3 hour special program about multiple people who have changed their career midway, and how that positively (I think, hoping not to see negatively) affecting their lives.
The show title is 転職de天職 and it is scheduled to be on air mid September in Japan. I think my segment will be only about 5 minutes long, though, flight is about 14 hours each way. Ha ha.
See how it goes.

Happy summer.

Haruki Murakami and Patti Smith for NY Times (+more)

1. NY TIMES Book Review
Over the weekend, NY Times Book Review came out with the review of highly anticipated US release of the new book by Haruki Murakami, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage(released today).  The review was written by Patti Smith (!!)  It was a huge honor for me to be able to illustrate for this special issue of Book Review.

I got hooked to Murakami books since my long time friend and then coworker Yuko Saito (then Chikamoto) got me into reading her collection of Murakami books. It was the early 90s, Norwegian Woods was already a best seller, and I was a bit skeptical of reading books by such a hugely popular writer. Only to realize and reminded why so many people have been enchanted by his writing.

And here is a disclosure; illustrating for this issue of the Book Review was not an accident. As a fan, I had read the book in Japanese when it came out, and I knew when the English version was coming out. About a month prior to the US release, I wrote to Nicholas Blechman, AD of Book Review, whom I had years of working together on multiple projects,  to see if the Book Review was planning on using illustration to review this upcoming book, and if they would consider me as one of the candidates.
I don’t usually do this. I am more of ‘wait for clients to contact you’ person than a go-getter. But this was something so special, I needed to write that e-mail. He got back to me right away and gave me the project.  (read the behind the scenes article written by Pamela Paul, editor of Book Review here)
It was a happy accident that it turned out to be a cover, and that NY Times filming crew decided to came to interview and document the whole creative process.
Thank you Pamela, Nicholas, and thank you Robin Lindsay and the filming crew.

please set your browser to permalink view to watch the video:

2. UK Waterstones edition

Also, a bit of surprise for UK fans of Murakami. Check out the special edition coming out only from Waterstones. I contributed on a special mini-project with them.Thank you Suzanne Dean for the project.  (Sweet, it looks like there is a signing with the author as well! Check it out, Londoners)


3) and in the latest issue of GQ
And, I made a fun set of postage-stamp size illos for the August issue of GQ (US). Reviews the book with funny Murakami novel trivia quizzes. (Look for Kanye cover in newsstand near you)  Thank you Martin Salazar for the project.

KRSP x Yuko T-shirs released

I’ve known Luke since school. He was studying graphic design, I was in illustration. We were not exactly friends, but we had tons of friends in common we often heard about each other through those mutual friends. We became friends when in recent years I started going to his July 4th BBQ parties. He is Korean, most of his friends are Argentinean, so you can easily guess what kind of amazing BBQs they put out.

Luke has been running his street style fashion label KRSP for some time, and we kind of vaguely started talking about maybe one day we work on something together. And, finally, after years of BBQ parties and all that, here they are!
There is even a promotional video he made for it! (you have to be in permalink mode to watch this video)

Two shirt designs are released.  I really love the every small design details Luke paid attention to, such as tag on the edge, and designing of my name and KRSP logo on the back of the shirts. (Well, what he calls his ‘day job’ is something others will kill to get, so his design skill has the big seal of approval.)

You can purchase your shirts at KRSP online shop

limited edition Detroit prints for sale + online store finally!

Finally finally, limited edition letter press print I had made during my visit to Detroit is for sale, and I have also finally finally made an online store go live!
Since it is brand-new, and our two person operated mini-store is just starting up, we are going to test out the water with just one item for sale for now. This is a hand-pulled letterpress made with love and passion by my friend and amazing artist Donald Kilpatrick III. 
Please read more details of the print, and you can even place an order if you like on my new online store.
Thank you!

kids book artists: Original Art 34th Exhibition is now accepting entries

Children’s book artists,
Society of Illustrators’ The Original Art – The Fine Art of Children’s Book Illustration call for entries is now open.
Last year, I had an honor of receiving Founder’s Award for my first kids book Barbed Wire Baseball, and this year, I am coming back to the award as one of 7 judges.
If your book is published in the US (exclude self-published books), you should apply to this prestigious award celebrating the art of children’s books for 34 years.
Learn more and download the application form here

Raúl Colón, Chair  Carin berger, Associate Chair  Jury: David Gordon Bagram Ibatoulline Donna Mark Kelly Murphy Elizabeth Sayles Paula Wiseman and myself. Thank you Raúl for getting me on board.
Looking forward to seeing many wonderful entries!

Win my drawing: Skillshare Ink Drawing Challenge is now on!

I made this drawing specifically for Skillshare Ink Drawing Class and I want you to have it! (and other awards)
Take my class and create and upload your awesome final projects. Deadline is July 15th (Tues) because it’s my birthday, and to see awesome works by you is the best birthday present I can ask for!

I will personally pick one winner to give this drawing to you.
Also, two runner-ups receive signed prints, as well as two of you who recive the most appreciation from the peers each receive a print as well.

Eligible to anything that’s uploaded already, as well as new works uploaded till the challenge deadline.
Don’t be afraid if you are new to inking, or new to art. I am an experienced art school instructor as well, so I won’t just pick because someone has the highest skill. I will pick works that speak to me the most, hopefully, something that shows who you are, what you want to express, and effort you have put into work. Good luck! Really looking forward to seeing your projects!

I have spent a lot of time and effort into creating this online class. Learn more about my Skillshare class here

and… here is the result. Thank you!

The bidding has ended!
Thank you everyone who has participated in Friends of Bob auction to bid on my original drawing as well as all the other beautiful illustrations and photographies donated by Bob’s friends.
Here is the bidding result for my piece. It started with very low starting bid of $100, but thanks to those who participated, we can now donate $1,700 to Bob’s medical expenses.
Dear Mayor West, as soon as I get your information from the auction organizer, I will get in touch to arrange shipping of the piece.
Thank you, thank you, thank you.

you can buy my art, and you will help Bob.

UPDATED on May 24: bidding has started now. Bidding link here (the link works on your computer, but not on mobile devise unless you have account with them. )

Maybe you want to buy my drawing, especially that your purchase will help out Bob’s medical expenses.

I will be auctioning off this, one of my favorite original drawings, as a part of Friends of Bob Benefit Auction,  to raise fund to cover medical cost of a friend, long time supporter of my work, art director Bob Newman. Please read more about this benefit here.

Starting bid will be set low, about $100, which is equivalent of one print. And, matching color print comes with the drawing as an extra gift for the winning bidder.

Bidding has started with many beautiful illustrations as well as photography up for sale by artists who are friend of Bob.
Please follow http://friendsofbobbenefitartauction.tumblr.com/ for details and what will be available at auction.
There will also be a benefit party at the Society of Illustrators NY on May 29. RSVP and info here.

Bid on this drawing of mine, or many other beautiful works by illustrators and photographers here (the link works on your computer, but not on mobile devise unless you have account with them. )
Auction should start in mid May and end on May 29.  I hope to keep you updated when the site is up, but I am traveling abroad now, and may not be able to update details till I come back. So, follow Tumblr page for the latest news, please!

Sharing is much appreciated.
Thank you!

the drawing was originally created for Bernstein & Andriulli alphabet book as letter Y for “yourself”

SPECTRUM 21 silver medal, and my love letter to fantasy art

It was a huge surprise.
One of my pieces won a SPECTRUM 21 silver medal in editorial category. This happened over the past weekend’s SPECTRUM Fantastic Art LIVE event in Kansas City.

It is supposed to be “the Oscars for Sci-Fi fantasy art”. I am in the midst of four trips in two months (heading out to the last trip tomorrow), so I  was not there. I saw the photo of the theater, and it was BEAUTIFUL. I wish I was there.
With the event’s request, I wrote a small acceptance speech beforehand ‘in case’ if my piece wins something. I sent this very last minutes, so I am not sure if it was read on stage or not, but I though I post the whole thing here anyways.  It was a love letter to fantasy art, and how it helped me get through my first years as a kid newly living in the US.

When I moved to New York as a child in the late 70s, I didn’t speak any English. My parents and teachers thought it was a good idea I read a lot of English books to get better at my second language and soon, I found myself spending every weekend for many hours in the sci-fi fantasy section of the bookstore, just because covers were so beautiful. I picked up many paperbacks with covers illustrated by Frank Frazetta and Boris Vallejo, among other artists who’s work I loved. My English was terrible, so I couldn’t read most of them, I bought them for the covers, and most of them are still in my parents home in Tokyo. 

I tried to imitate their wok with my very limited ability to draw and paint. My dream was to be on the covers of those books one day. I even wrote a fan letter to Boris, when I was around13, with a xeroxed copy of one of my drawings folded into half and tacked into a small envelope.

It is a HUGE honor to receive an award from Spectrum. I wish I can go back to 1977 and tell that kid in the Fantasy isle of a bookstore in suburban New York. Though I don’t think she would ever believe it. 

Thank you SO much.
The piece was created for AI CIO Magazine, AD was SooJin Buzelli.  Congratulations to all the winners. List of all the medal winning pieces here

Barbed Wire Baseball selected for Teachers’ Choice Reading List

It has been a year since Barbed Wire Baseball, the first kids book I illustrated, was published.
As a first time kids book illustrator I feel extremely blessed by the amount of recognition this book has been bringing in. Of course, it is because of the huge effort by the writer Marissa Moss, editor Howard Reeves, art director Chad Beckerman, and by all the members of the team behind the project.
Another fantastic news just came in, the book was chosen as one of International Reading Association (IRA)’s Teachers’ Choices Reading List of 2014.  And we are all extremely honored. Thank you.

Baseball season has started, and now may be a good reason to check the book out, if you haven’t already. This makes a great gift for kids who are into baseball, sports, interested in history, or just to learn about endurance, hope, and what people can accomplish under a hardship.

Barbed Wire baseball is available from Amazon, or bookstores near you and online.
See more images from the book here.