Thursday 24 December 2020

My Year 2020 - Pandemic and me

The year 2020 is coming to an end. What a year it has been. It has been unpredictable and difficult year. I did go through my anxious moments and ups and downs with my feelings but it was also the year I tried new things, because - well, I had to. 

At the beginning of the year I enjoyed going to few meet ups and meeting new people. I made new friends and was full of hope for doing more of these this year.

In March 2020, the UK went into the first lockdown due to coronavirus pandemic.

At first I was overwhelmed by sad news - how it's taken everyone's normal away, and upset by empty shelves in supermarkets and anxious people on the street, I became anxious myself. Apart from the NHS and key workers, everyone had to pause what we were doing and was told to stay at home and safe. In few weeks I stopped watching news - to avoid the unsettling news around the world.

My industry isn't considered essential but I am really grateful for those who work in art and creative industry. I have to say though when I was feeling down, our industry was the one helped me out from the down. National Theatre's weekly play helped me, music I listened to helped me, all the creatives and illustrators came up with such thoughtful and creative encouraging arts to cheer everyone up. Everyone was so caring and just wanted to help - that was just NICE!

Despite the loss of potential event-related jobs in the spring, I am also grateful that I had a couple of regular jobs this year, which is really rare for me. I usually don't know when the next job comes in. These jobs kept me sane.

Then came August I was miserable again. I was so much under pressure with everything. It had been so long since I met anybody. ( I live with my husband and we had great laugh together but it is still not quite the same as when I was able to see people outside.)  I realized how my thoughts were getting inwards with loops of negative thoughts and I was telling myself "I am not good enough"all the time.

I took a break from work and this time nature helped me out from the depression. 
I went away on beautiful country walks completely free from TV and social media. I felt completely re-born!  

I also tried participating in online markets. These were new for me but since there weren't any physical markets I gave it a go. Promoting on Instagram was hard - I still think I'm terrible at it but hey, I tried something new and learned few things doing it.

These illustrations summarize my 2020. My lockdown house map and my anxious mind. 

Wishing you all a happy and brighter 2021! :)

1月、2月とmeet upに積極的に参加するようになって、新しい方々との出会い、新しい友人との出会い、これからも社交的な一年になりそうだと期待していた矢先、3月にはイギリスはロックダウンに入ってしまった。それからは本当に長い5、6ヶ月。




毎日暗いニュースの中、心が沈んでしまっているときに助けてくれたのは、自分が身を置いている業界だったと思う。演劇を発表する場を失ったイギリスの劇場National Theatreは、オンラインで過去の劇の無料公開をして、その演劇を観て私は演技の凄さに 感動したり、セットやコスチュームなどにもインスピレーションを受けた。そして、音楽もたくさん聞いた。好きなバンドが一早く落ち込んでいる皆に心強いメッセージを届けてくれたり、インスタグラムのイラストレーター達も医療関係者に向けてエールを送るイラストをいくつも上げていた。





Wednesday 8 May 2019

Monkeys and cheese plants at the Canbury Arms Kingston - pub mural project

Do you remember I said I wanted to do more collaboration works this year? So this is the second collaboration project I did this year with my friend and an illustrator Tabitha Macbeth. 😊It's just that I took a long time to write about it...

So back in Feb/March, Tabitha approached me if I wanted to collaborate on a pub mural project.  - I said Yes! It was around the time I was thinking I wanted to work on a larger scale canvas as well, so all of those coincided together I was working an a massive wall at the Canbury Arms pub in Kingston-upon-Thames.

We were given the Tropical foliage(esp. Cheese plant) brief to match the pub's blinds and wall papers. Tabitha had an idea of including the monkeys and we started working on the final design for the wall. 
Here are snapshots of the final painting and its process.

We were initially worried that, as we both have completely different illustration styles the final image might not look coherent, but we were glad with how it turned out.

Thank you very much Tab and the Canbury Arms pub for taking me on board!

Tabitha Macbethとは美大時代からの友人で、彼女もイラストレーションを描いています。2月に彼女に声をかけられてから、3月にオープンするキングストンにあるパブの壁画をコラボレーションしながら描かせていただきました。その頃ちょうど、もっと大きなキャンバスに絵を描きたいなぁとか、外に出て誰かと一緒にお仕事がしたいと思っていた時だったので、偶然が重なり、今年に入って2つ目のコラボプロジェクトをすることとなりました。


The Canbury Arms パブの皆様、タビーにも感謝しております。
以下は、実際パブで作業した際の写真です。(なぜか写真だと壁はそこまで大きく写らないのですが、けっこう大きくて、ハシゴに乗っても上を塗るのが大変でした 笑)




Tuesday 26 March 2019

The Refuge Tree project

I remember it was few days after I've written here or on my Instagram post that I wanted to do more collaboration work this year. I got message from Kate Slater about this exciting collaboration project. Kate and I have studied together at university and she is also an illustrator.
Kate has been running the London marathon for the Refuge charity. Every year she raises money for the Refuge who gives supports to those who suffer from domestic violence and abuse. 
The Refuge Tree project (click this link to Kate's blog for more info on the project) - Kate made a huge paper collage tree and cut them up into A6 sized postcards and sent them to 95 female illustrators. Each and individual illustrators were asked to illustrate anything on the card as long as some part of the tree was visible. These cards were then sent back to Kate and the tree was exhibited in the window of London Review Bookshop from 1st March till 18th March 2019 . The cards were auctioned on the International Women's day and the money raised were donated to the Refuge charity.

美大生時代のクラスメイトでイラストレーターのKate Slaterから連絡が来たのは、私が今年の抱負で、「コラボレーションをもっとしたい」といってから間も無くでした。
Here is my bare tree I received from Kate. The cute giraffe card in the background is by Kate.

「Refuge Tree」プロジェクトでは、ケイトが事前にコラージュで作った大きな木をA6サイズに切り取って、95人の女性イラストレーターに送りました。これをそれぞれのイラストレーターが好きなテーマでイラストに仕上げ、彼女にまたそれを送ります。

This is what I've done with my bit of the tree.


All the returned postcards were then put together back into the tree and Kate had put an exhibition in the window of London Review Bookshop! Here are photos of the beautiful completed tree. 
It was amazing how different each artist's take on the open brief was and I just loved that my illustration was a part of a huge ray of amazing illustrators! Illustrators usually work on their own ( I do most of the time) and I really felt we were working for one goal together. The auction for the artworks were held on International Women's day and it has raised over £4,000 for the Refuge.  

以下は、ロンドンの本屋さん、London Review Bookshopのウィンドウにて展示された96枚(ケイトも含めた)のポストカードが完成された木となっている写真です。みんなそれぞれのアイディアとスタイルで仕上げてあってとても素敵で、多くのイラストレーターの中の一人として参加できたことが感慨深いです。これらの作品は3月8日(インターナショナル・ウーマンズ・デイ)にオークションにかけられ、4千ポンド以上もの売り上げを義援金としてRefugeに寄付しました。

Tall and proud tree in the window of London Review Bookshop.

Tuesday 29 January 2019

Hello 2019!

Beautiful view of Mt. Fuji from Owakudani , Hakone.

My husband and I spent 12 months in Japan in 2018 as I wanted to show him Japan throughout the changing seasons and I also wanted to spend more time closer to my family. I left Japan when I was 15 and since then I never really lived in Japan. I will be posting some of our adventures in Japan every now and then.

So now we are back here in the UK (came back at the end of November), welcomed by something I had forgotten about! -  the dark and early sunset and wet London. Yes, we didn't come back to the best of its season. Now in January we are properly settled back.

I would like to make 2019 a fresh start and maybe trying something new. I will definitely be doing more self-promotions and spend more time into my online shop, coming up with new items.
I would also like to do some collaborations with friends - I have many talented friends in my industry and other industries so it would be nice to do something together. Anybody interested? Let me know!

2018年11月末までの12ヶ月間、旦那さんと日本へ短期移住をしておりました。1年を通して日本の四季を見せてあげたかったのと、私も15歳から幸い留学をさせてもらい家族の近くで過ごせる時間が少なかったため、日本で思い切り家族 と共に時間を過ごし、「生活」してみようと踏み切った12ヶ月でした。去年はブログを書ききれなかったため、またちょこちょこと私たちの日本での経験も書いていく予定です。


2019年はなんだか新しいことに挑戦してみようと思っています。自分からの売り込みをするのはもちろんのこと、ショップにももっと時間を 注いで、新しい商品も作っていきたいと思っています。そして、イラストや他の分野でも活躍している友人が多いため、コラボレーションなどもしていきたいなと思っています。2月にコラボを一つする予定なのでまたお知らせします。

Friday 1 June 2018

Hawaii Style magazine

もう6月に突入してしまいました。信じられないぐらい時が経つのが早いです。4月、5月と少し忙しくしていたのでこのアップが遅くなりましたが、4月にお仕事をさせていただいた、エイ出版社から発売のムック本「ハワイスタイル 53号」にて、ハワイ伝統食7点のイラストを描かせていただきました。実は食べ物のイラストは自作のカレンダーやオリジナルで描いてはいたものの、お仕事で描くのはこれが初でした。過去に描きためた食べ物のイラストを見ていただき、ご依頼をくださったと聞いたときは嬉しかったです。好きなものはやはり描いていれば、どこかでご縁があるのかなと思えた瞬間でした。


Wow, it's the 1st of June already! Time flies!! I have been rather busy with various things so this post is a bit of a late update about the job I have done in April. I have illustrated 7 Hawaiian traditional foods for Hawaii Style magazine issue no.53, published from Ei publishing in Japan. Before this I had never been commissioned to do food illustration so it was amazing when the client told me that she saw my food illustrations I have done for my personal work and commissioned me. I should keep illustrating what I like. 
I have never been to Hawai so some of the food is hard to imagine what it would taste like. I really want to try Poi - sweet dish made from taro, and Haupia- another sweet dish made with coconut but looks life tofu. Some slow cooked food looked amazing too. 

The reference photos I received showed food in polystyrene containers and were mostly monotone ( beige and brown) so the client has asked me to brighten the illustration. I have decided to use colourful plates and crockery to add some colour. 

Friday 2 March 2018

March feeling

もう3月になってしまい、日本に来てから3ヶ月ほどが経ちました。(English to follow.)




さて、2018年に販売する予定で作っていたカレンダー、数人の方にはお渡しすることができたのですが、残りは日本へ来る前にWest elmで販売するために買い取っていただいたために、私のショップで販売ができず、多くの方の目に触れる機会がなかったので、こちらでご紹介させていただきたいと思います。



My gosh, it's March already. It has been about 3 months since my husband and I moved to Japan.

Within those 3 months I have experienced many stuff that I would have done in years if I had lived in Japan. I have never "lived" in Japan after uni, so for me, coming over here was a more scary decision than an exciting one. 

We looked for a room to rent in Tokyo, (but we decided to stay close to my parents since living in Tokyo was an expensive option and we liked the mountains around here. Though finding a room was difficult as my husband is non-Japanese and some landlords are sceptical of foreigners, and my job is freelance and I would be the one signing the contract. They wouldn’t like this either. We hadn't gone further with this so we might have got a place but we don't know..) I also made an inkan - which is a Japanese seal that acts as a signature in western country. I have also written Japanese equivalent of CV - all written by hand and it's a lot of writing! Anyway all these things are natural to those who live here but these were things I had to learn and do. I would have embarrassed myself even more if I was older and didn't know all of these. I was imagining that if I came here I would have fitted in much easier but I discovered that it was much harder and I feel like everyday I am filling in those gaps of knowledge that was missing.

I also had few good things that I experienced because we made the move to Japan. I met a recent client face to face so that I could do a further job with her. Unfortunately it didn't end up being a job but it never happened if I didn't see her here. I wish to do a job with her again in the future and many more opportunities to come while I'm in Japan.

Changing of the subject, I never really got to show you my 2018 London calendar so I thought I might mention it here. I managed to sell few on my Etsy shop and the rest was then sold at west elm Kingston store - which was a big exciting news before I left for Japan. Please see the photos above for detail.
I have illustrated 12 of my favourite places in London and greater London. If you haven't visited any of these places then I really do recommend it.

Finally, this is my wish - I thought I'll mention it so that I should make it happen. I would like to do an exhibition while i'm in Japan.

Thursday 28 December 2017

West elm Kingston store

I wanted to write about West elm before the new year. This was one of the exciting thing that happened this year! Few of my products from my online shop is now stored and available to buy in west elm Kingston store.

West elm is an American furniture and interior store and they also have a programme called west elm LOCAL which is a programme to connect the local makers and the community together in their each store location. The artists are working locally and using locally sourced materials to make the products. I think this is a brilliant way to bring the people and artists together and make each store unique. It was my first wholesale experience and I have learnt a lot from this project.

My stocked items at the store are linocut prints of London icons, 2018 London calendar, map of London poster, set of London postcards and Thames river greeting cards.

Unfortunately I had already left UK for the store opening (which was on 8th December) but so many of my friends were sending me photos of the store with my items. Thank you so much!! And this could not have happened without the help of 2 friends who kindly helped me with the packaging and the delivery of the products to the store. Thank you so much!! xx

Although I was in the amidst of all the packing and sorting out for the move to Japan, it was worth the hustle of getting all my products ready, printed and partially packaged and doing all the product administration. I really want to see the store myself when I get back to London.

年が明けてしまう前に、今年の大きな仕事の話を上げておきたくて書いています。West elm Kingstonへの作品出店は、私にとって今年の大きなニュースのうちの一つとなりました。 オンラインショップで扱っていた商品のいくつかが、今月からキングストンにあるwest elmのお店で購入できます。

west elmはアメリカ全国で展開している、おしゃれな家具とインテリアのお店です。その中でも、west elm LOCALという地域密着型プロジェクトが行われていて、店舗ごとにその地域で活躍するアーティストの作品をお店で取り扱い、地域の皆さんを作品と繋ぐプロジェクトをやっています。アーティストはその店舗地域で活動し、作品に使う材料もその地域、または国で揃えたものを使ってのものづくりということが前提です。私は今回、イギリスでのwest elm2店舗目となる、キングストン店舗でそのプログラムに参加させていただくことになりました。お店で商品を扱ってもらうというのは、初めての経験で、今回色々と学ばせていただきました。