Yuko Shimazu Yuko Shimazu Yuko Shimizu

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

Visualizing Nightmares

Bostonia Magazine (August 2009): Colored Version
Drawing nightmares is tricky.It is easy to draw a nightmare you had last night, but when it comes to drawing the bigger ‘idea’ of nightmares, all of a sudden, it is not that visual.
Besides, there is this iconic nightmare painting already exist by the master of the genre: Fuselli (please see below).

When Ronn Campisi, an AD who works with multiple publications around Boston area, called me for an assignment on this topic for Bostonia Magazine (alumni magazine of Boston University), it was a bit of struggle at first.

After getting rid of really cliché ideas that initially came and went in my head, I settled with two rather simple ideas of drawing the gloominess of the experience of nightmares rather than trying to illustrate too literary.  And, I tried to stay away from Fuselli imagery as much as possible.

We were pretty happy with the final result. This illustration got accepted into this year’s Communicaton Arts illustration annual, which was a nice surprise at the end.  Thank you Ronn and CA!

Bostonia Magazine (August 2009): Fuselli
The ultimate icon of nightmare images by Fuselli
Bostonia Magazine (August 2009): Sketches
Two sketches. I could have done either one of them, but the bottom one probably had a better composition.
Bostonia Magazine (August 2009): Watercolor
Drawing as it was scanned in. Black india ink on watercolor paper.
Bostonia Magazine (August 2009): Swirl
Then using Photoshop I tediously cut out the swirl part to pop it up more from the rest of the drawing.
Bostonia Magazine (August 2009): Final Artwork
This is the final colored version.
Bostonia Magazine (August 2009): Spread
Bostonia Magazine page layout. Ronn did an amazing job, and the illustration got accepted into this year’s Communication Arts illustration annual. Thank you Ronn!