This short excerpt from Yuko Shimizu’s blog post considers the importance of developing a unique visual vocabulary. After reading this article, consider how you can use your sketchbook as a tool to developing your own visual vocabulary. What kind of things are you interested in drawing? What visuals might become important visual signatures for you?  Write a few sentences considering these things.

Post your thoughts on this along with your Sketchbook Pages.


“ I believe many of you who are reading my blog are aspiring illustrators. If you are, here is something you may want to remember, or to work on, if your art school instructors haven’t taught you already: we have to be remembered by something we are good at, so when a prospective client sees a topic that needs to be illustrated, they know who to call.


The most obvious themes prospective clients think of in connection with my work are Japanese or Chinese themes. I am Japanese, but I had also studied Cantonese for three years, and I have strong interest in Chinese culture. And people somehow see that in my work. There are other themes, like sexy girls, action and sports, comic-book look, snow, and water and underwater themes.”

3 thoughts on “Yuko Shimizu on VISUAL VOCABULARY :

  1. After reading this it certainly made realize the importance of using references and makes me want to expand my visual library by study other things because I noticed that throughout my sketchbook if I don’t have an idea or if I’m not thinking about a project, I would start drawing the same things like the male human body, liquids in cups, bottles, and etc. If I’m only drawing these things all the time then I’m not progressing at all.

    • Good Observations Jake! It is vital to use reference. This does not mean be dependent on reference to create, but rather to use it to improve your drawing skills and the breadth of things you are capable of drawing, as well as to fill in gaps.

  2. After reading this, there was saying or quote from Yuko Shimizu that really caught my attention which was “We have to be remembered by something we are good at, so when a prospective client sees a topic that needs to be illustrated, they know who to call.” This really got to me because its true. If I want to be remembered I have to come up with something that’s unique or out of the box that will catch peoples attention. I have to come up with a idea or a style of art that is different from the others and most importantly a style that I’m only known for. When planning my drawings I’ve notice that sometimes I would use more ideas from other peoples work instead of coming up with my own and that’s wrong in my part because if I want others to be inspired by my work, I have to be original and show art that’s never been presented. I don’t really have a specific thing that I’m interested in drawing but if there was one thing that I would like to learn how to draw is humans or even funny themes like human features mixed with none human things or even cartoons. When it comes to the project, my ideas would be to have dancing fruits with human features just to go along with my theme for the item I’m doing my project on which is a peace tea.

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