Illustrator of the Day: Haruka Aoki

ADC Member goes for "the entire pâtisserie"

November is almost at an end, and that means Illustration Month is also drawing to a close here on the ADC blog. Regardless, we continue to celebrate the illustrators within the ADC community with our Illustrator of the Day series. Some are professionals, some are students, and some just draw for fun. All of them are card-carrying members of ADC.

Next up: A New York based illustrator who “draws dreams”.


haruka_headshotHARUKA AOKI

New York, NY


Almost every kid likes to draw. When did it become more than just a kindergarten project for you? How was that interest nurtured?

I’m not sure how I ended up painting nudes at a senior center when I was eleven years old, but I was hooked from the first day of class. I loved the silence and concentration that filled the room. In a weird way, I was also drawn to the smell of turpentine.

How much of your ability is self-taught versus through schooling?

I’d say 50-50. Up until university, art teachers helped me with composition, colour, perspective, and other technical aspects to drawing. When senior year came along, I abruptly ended my relationship with art, thinking that “Art won’t pay. It’s time to grow up.” Unfortunately, these words came out of some of the adults around me at the time. So from university on, it’s been a lot of one-on-one time with tutorials and experimenting at my desk.

How would you best describe your illustration style? Would you say that you had a specialty?

I’d like to foster a style, but at the same time, I try not to. I enjoy using different styles for different purposes. I can say for certain that I’m very passionate about calling attention to the world’s many issues (whether they be our ignorance of violence in American drone strikes or our poor treatment of the environment) with my illustrations. Oftentimes these problems are featured in the news and quickly forgotten.

As for a specialty, I’d say children’s books. They are usually written and illustrated by people who are very awake, but are not afraid to dream.

“I’m not sure how I ended up painting nudes at a senior center when I was eleven years old, but I was hooked from the first day of class.”

What’s your weapon of choice? Any particular brands or models you swear by?

A mix of pen and ink, paintbrush, and digital. Thanks to Pratt’s graduate design programme, I found my one true love: the scanner.

Finish this sentence: “Despite what you might think, illustration is not _______ .”

Illustration is not a piece of cake. It’s the entire pâtisserie.

What other artistic passions do you have?
I secretly love scoping out what other artists are cooking up in their studios. My partner is the founder of OUTLET Fine Art, and he introduced me to the crazy and vibrant art world that is Bushwick.

Which professionals do you look up to the most in the illustration world?

ADC Young Guns winners Christoph Niemann and Roman MuradovRaymond Pettibon and my mentor Scott Menchin.

At the end of the day, what do you love most about being an illustrator?

Drawing dreams.