Yuko Shimazu Yuko Shimazu Yuko Shimizu

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


Many of my drawings appear on the pages of magazines and newspapers. They get read, and go into recycles in a week, or a month, or in the case of newspapers, in a day at the most.
I am very much in peace with it. In fact, I feel that it keeps the artists humble, and down to earth. There is nothing pretentious about drawings that goes to garbage bin in a day. I like that.

But of course, every once in a while, when some special project comes knocking on the door, and they are beautiful 3D objects. Now, that is nice too. And exciting.

Close to a year ago, I had a chance to create a drawing for 1800 Tequila’s limited edition Essential Artists series, in theme of Lucha Libre. If you know me, you know my passion for all things Mexico, so it was a really exciting opportunity for me.

The product finally got the official release on Cinco De Mayo, last week on May 5th, at Hudson Hotel in New York City during a release event that was organized by 1800 Tequila and Vice Magazine. There are five other bottles in this series from different artists in various style..
The Essential Artists 1800 Tequila should soon come out to  fine liquor stores near you.

Tequila bottle photo

Rough pencil sketches to start the project.

Tequila sketch



tequila sketch 2

sketches for three different bottle ideas. I put them in a drawing of the bottle to show how they may look finished. I liked the other two as well.


Tequila illustration

final drawing for the bottle. Since the image is printed directly to the back of the glass, I kept the drawing simple, not textures and no shading. Pretty smooth finish. The mask has the design of agave: the plant that tequila is made from.
Tequila photo 1
my bottle in the showcase box at the release party last week.
Tequila photo 2
All the bottle designs in this series. From the left: Gary Baseman, mine, Tes One, Tristan Eaton, Ray Smith and Alex Hank
Tequila photo 3
 Some photos from setting up of the party. There was a ring in the center stage where band and actual luchadors played, and blown up huge drawings up on the walls surrounding, with posters made to look like Mexican wrestling posted around the bar area. There was a huge turnout for the party with a long line of people waiting.