With the painterly moodiness of Edward Hopper and the soft colours of David Hockney, Japanese illustrator Takeshi Miyasaka creates powerful images of people and their relationship with urban architecture. Having worked as an illustrator for the past 20 years, Takeshi’s illustrations possess elements of realism through highly detailed shading and a sense of perspective that overlooks every day passing moments.
Takeshi often utilises large portions of dense blackness to frame an image. These large segments of darkness transform scenes from hyperreal depictions, to beautiful interpretations of everyday life in Japan. “I am more interested in contours and shapes than the objects themselves,” Takeshi tells It’s Nice That. Though many of his works evoke a particular feeling of calm and quiet, these emotional intentions are accidental as Takeshi is more interested in the technical prowess of illustration as a mode of representation.
While studying illustration Aoyama Juku, Takeshi developed his painterly style that pays particular attention to “looking at things” with an emphasis on “composition and colour”. By engaging in copious amounts of drawing, the illustrator evolved his practice to the scientific precision that is evident today. As well as winning an award from the Tokyo Illustrators Society, he also completes commissions for several Japanese publications and publishing houses.
“My favourite thing is to take pictures,” says the Chiba-based illustrator, which he then draws from, to accurately represent a specific scene. In one image, he beautifully paints the glowing light on a train platform which, in turn, bathes blue plastic chairs and the platform’s signage in white light. This kind of image is heightened by Takeshi’s preliminary use of photography which captures a moment in time that the illustrator then accentuates through his expert hand.
Influenced by the likes of Norman Rockwell and the photographer Saul Leiter, it is no wonder that Takeshi’s illustrations look smoothly tactile. While in some illustrations, he experiments with bold colours of blood red that suggest a totally different tone to his other work. In most of Takeshi’s illustrations, it is easy to imagine stepping straight into the scene created by the illustrator’s poignant hand that immerses us directly into an atmosphere.
About the Author
Jyni joined It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in August 2018 after graduating from The Glasgow School of Art’s Communication Design degree. In March 2019 she became a staff writer and in June 2021, she was made associate editor. Feel free to drop Jyni a note if you have an exciting story for the site.