Yuko Shimazu Yuko Shimazu Yuko Shimizu

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

Fall Of Superwoman!

Der Spiegel Magazine (October 2009): Fall Of Superwoman
I still dream about my corporate days and wake up completely stressed, although I left there more than 10 years ago. I never leave home without a few Zantac pills in my bag just in case that ulcer I first got during my 9-9 workdays come back and haunt me. (often enough.)When German magazine Der Spiegel called me, I couldn’t turn down the job although the deadline was extremely short. It was about an over-achieving young career woman’s experience of severe nervous breakdown from work and work environment stress. Listening to AD Antje Klein explains the story with her fluent English over the phone, I felt the woman’s pain. I never got to the point of nervous breakdown, but if I stayed? If I never quit and went back to art school? I am not sure.

Other than that I felt personally attached to the story, the idea of Antje “let’s make her into this superhero character” sounded really fun. I mean, who doesn’t like superheroes? Look at the pile of reference and inspiration books I have in my bookshelf!

Der Spiegel Magazine (October 2009): Yuko's Superhero Book Collection
Obvious reference materials. I have too many superhero books on my bookshelf… ha ha.
Der Spiegel Magazine (October 2009): Sketches
Three ideas. Bottom two ended up as spot illustrations for the same story.During coloring stage on Photoshop, I often go back and forth, trials and errors (and at the end, hopefull, always some level of success). In the middle of coloring this main illustration, something was telling me that it was not going the right direction.

Then, I had an “ah~ha!” moment when I made the drawing into negative. Dark story calls for dark color scheme like this.

Der Spiegel Magazine (October 2009): Adobe Photoshop
Something was telling me that the coloring was not going to the right direction…. then… aha moment follows…
Der Spiegel Magazine (October 2009): Final Illustration
Final illustration finished!
Der Spiegel Magazine (October 2009): Spread
And here is the final layout. Nice and clean..