Freelance Tokyo-based illustrator Wakana Yamazaki’s work combines alien-like figures, dinosaur references and long jelly-like limbs in a rainbow of colour and energy. She creates work for websites and publications but it’s her personal illustrations we’re drawn to most as her ideas are let loose without the confines of a brief.
From short comic strips that tell non-sensical tales to standalone pieces, Wakana depict stories using tall, elongated figures with simple, cheery faces. Although in more recent works, she’s adopted a more blocky approach where various elements slot together like Tetris.
Cartoon-like in appearance, the illustrator’s characters distantly reference manga, yet she makes sure there’s a point of difference by taking her work to more outlandish territory, by wrapping limbs wrap around each other and objects or making eyes into psychedelic pools of purple and blue. Throughout her work, many pieces are left with blank backdrops, vivid with smooth colour leaving the viewer to piece together where they might fit in Wakana’s landscapes.
About the Author
Rebecca became staff writer at It’s Nice That in March 2016 before leaving the company at the end of 2017. Before joining the company full time she worked with us on a freelance basis many times, as well as stints at Macmillan Publishers, D&AD, Dazed and frieze.