Yuko Shimazu Yuko Shimazu Yuko Shimizu

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

Vampires & Diapers.

Vampires&Diapers cover (small size)

I totally judge books by their covers.
Let’s be honest, we all do. I can be categorized as a book-worm, but still I always have piles of unread books sitting around in my apartment, mostly because I couldn’t resist buying them for their beautiful covers. To add to this, I have countless design books on book covers, also piling up. I just bought one yesterday, and was drooling on it all last evening. (check this out: The Art of American Book Covers 1875-1930 by Richard Minsky)

When John Gall, one of my favorite contemporary book designers, contacted me for 30 Covers 30 Days challenge, it was like dream coming true. I still secretly have a list of people I would LOVE to work with, and he was obviously one of them, for my love of his gorgeous Haruki Murakami covers, 10 times better than the original Japanese version. Drool.

Non profit organization National Novel Writing Month encourage people to spend November writing the first draft of a novel. John’s idea was to invite 30 designers and illustrators, each create a book cover, start to finish, within 24 hours from the brief.
Mine was on November 29th, I was given three synopsis to choose from. The one I picked was Dia’pire by Michelle Zheng. Story about a pathetic  and funny diaper wearing vampire.



There are some amazing covers created by amazing talent, all within 24 hours, and you can see all of them on the link here.

vampires & diapers photo 1

It was a no brainer for me to pick this synopsis. This was the funniest. Besides, during the 90s, my religious view was “Anne Rice”, for real. Thumbnails, thumbnails, thumbnails.


vampires & diapers photo 2

Pick one of the thumbnails I like the best, blow up to the size I want to draw. Cut watercolor paper to the size, get my ink and brush, then go dive into the drawing. I don’t have much time!!!


vampires & diapers photo 3

eerie and funny… that is what I am looking for…


vampires & diapers photo 4

I don’t have babies nor particularly into them. What do diapers and diaper pins look like?? Yeah, those authentic cloth diapers, of course!


vampires & diapers photo 5

Know nothing about type. How sad, but true. At least I can tell what looks good. vampire: gothic type, duh. So, to hide my non-knowledge, I carefully hand draw each type, so it looks better than it actually is.


vampires & diapers photo 6



vampires & diapers photo 7

How ESL of me. Didn’t I know that it would never spell “vampia”????. Go back to the drawing table to fix this up.


vampires & diapers photo 8

minor details: the bat drawings in the original drawing were needed to shift, move and flip around, because after the title type was in, they didn’t work the way they were originally intended. After a lot of back and forth on where they should be, the final result is as below.


vampires & diapers cover

Finished!! All within 24 hours or less. Phew! But I am so nervous if it lives up to all the beautiful 29 other covers other designers have created. Either way, I had FUN!!!