Asahi’s creative nature and strong interest in traditional printmaking techniques like risograph or screenprinting have made her a favourite artist by many, including us! Her work may seem a little bit of everything, but the one thing that became her signature is the beautiful blend of authentic retro, print-like texture, and bold vintage-style colour palette.
Hi, my name is Asahi (AH-sah-hee, means ‘sunrise’ in Japanese) and I am a freelance illustrator based in Minneapolis Minnesota. I was born in Sapporo, Japan in 1992. Being fascinated by traditional printmaking such as risograph, screen printing, linocut, my work may seem a little bit of everything but all in digital form. I focus on displaying authentic retro effect, print-like texture and bold vintage style colour palette in my work. My brand name ILLO IRRO is a blend of words in which iro-iro means “variety” in Japanese, and illo is a short term for “illustration” in English. When I am not at work I am usually hanging out with my almost two-year-old daughter Ichiko at the park. The oldest picture of myself drawing is when I was 1 year old, and since then drawing has been my number one hobby.
How would you describe your illustrations in three simple words?
Being inspired by 50s and 60s children’s books and commercial prints, I love using vintage bold colour palettes. Also being massively fascinated by traditional printmaking methods such as screen printing, risograph, and block printing, I often use colour overlaying techniques and offset effects to display the authentic retro print-like effect in my illustration. I learned how to mimic this retro print texture myself while I worked at a design firm here in Minneapolis as an illustrator and did vintage prints restoration works for 5 years. In my illustration, I usually limit colours to around 3 in each work because in traditional printing methods numbers of colours were usually limited to about that many. I enjoy challenging myself to think creatively about how I can depict an object using only a few colours, and this challenge has been giving me my own space to express my own creativity within every commission and has been making every commission exciting to work on.
Inspiration-necessary! I go through vintage children’s books, antique stores, and googling old funny things and they all motivate me to draw.
I take a break completely. Walk to the park, watch tv, read comics etc. I always wished I could work non stop, but then I admitted that I am not a computer so that’s impossible. Or I doodle with pens on paper instead of with my computer, like how I used to draw when I was a child – every time I do this I remember how much I like drawing, it motivates me again!