Yuko Shimazu Yuko Shimazu Yuko Shimizu

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

Waiting For Spring

Plan Sponsor Magazine (February 2010): Small Version
Why is snow so pretty when it is falling, but becomes a huge mess right after? Winter feels a lot severe this year, doesn’t it?When trees start to get light green new leaves, and flowers start blooming everywhere, that is my favorite season. I have been dreaming about Spring ever since this long winter started.

When SooJin Buzelli called me for PLANSPONSOR cover with the theme of “the worst is over”, this was the idea which came to my mind immediately: my longing for spring…

Process post of this image felt perfectly appropriate today when you cannot walk outside New York City without a good pair of rubber boots.

Plan Sponsor Magazine (February 2010): Ideas
Three ideas submitted. I would have been happy to do the other two as well. I really like drawing plants (and suitcases).
Plan Sponsor Magazine (February 2010): Inspirations
These are my inspirations. bunch of shabby-chic door photos downloaded from internet. Although, I rarely use one specific photo as reference, so the final result was mix and match of them all.
Plan Sponsor Magazine (February 2010): Watercolor Version
Original b/w drawing on watercolor paper. I normally finish everything on the drawing stage, but this one is very much half-done. Soft snow does not need harsh outlines.
Plan Sponsor Magazine (February 2010): Final Illustration
Final illustration. As you can compare with the original drawing, all the snow is added directly on Photoshop stage. Butterflies were drawn separately as well.
Plan Sponsor Magazine (February 2010): Adobe Photoshop
Photoshop progress stage. This illustration had so many layers, I have a lot of folders, and there are some more folders inside folders to have everything organized and so that I can keep track of everything.
Plan Sponsor Magazine (February 2010): Close Up Of Trees
Close-up of the trees in original drawing and in final Photoshop file. separate layers of gray-white were added to add depth to snow, and outlines were softened. I even added one more tree behind the third one on the right to give idea of space.
Plan Sponsor Magazine (February 2010): Cover
Final cover. Creative Director: SooJin Buzelli. Loving the type treatment woven into the scarves.By the way, I do draw snow scenes a lot. This goes back to when I was in graduate school and I was getting good at drawing figures but terrible at putting them in environment.

Thomas Woodruff, my thesis adviser, gave me an assignment to put people interacting in some kind of environment. I got panic, and drew this (left). It made me realize that drawing snow scene was: 1. Easy  2. Fun. I ended up drawing a whole bunch.

Now, I am proud to say I can put people in any environment. So, thank you Tom.

And this first snow trial eventually got me a gig to do the New York Times Travel Section (AD: Barbara Richer) cover (right), my first big job.

Well, I should probably love snow.

NY Times Travel Section (February 2010)
My first environment (=snow) attempt when I was in graduate school (left). And memorable first ‘big’ gig that brought me (right).