Whether they’re drawn digitally or with coloured pencils, Momoe Narazaki’s illustrations are always exceptionally sweet. By extenuating the shapes of her characters to have block like figures, her drawings have developed their own recognisable character, identifiable by their wide eyes and tiny smiles.
As a child, Momoe was influenced by her father who was an illustrator and consequently began drawing very early on. “As I grew up my interest spread from illustration to posters and graphic design,” he explains. With a growing interest in the medium, Momoe left Japan to study at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. After graduating, Momoe formed a graphic design partnership with classmate William Shum titled ITWST, which stood for ’I Think We’re Still Thinking’. Working as a freelancer in New York with William, the pair completed residency programmes in New York and Belgium, before heading to Nishiaizu International Art Village in Fukushima where the pair have decided to stay.
Momoe’s illustrations jump between human characters and animals. Both apply her distinctive illustration that is repeatedly cheeky, even if he is drawing a walrus, bear or sexy ladies holding a banana cake. Intentional or not, there is a smile inducing humour across her portfolio, that is heartwarming in its simplicity.
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