Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Leeay Aikawa

Leeay Aikawa is a tradition and digital artist, illustrator, and designer, born in Japan and currently living in Toronto. The award winning illustrator for The New York Times, Atlantic Magazine, The Globe and Mail, and more moved to Toronto in 2003 to study General Arts and Science and later switched to Illustration after some self discovering. To her, living and studying in Toronto, a culturally diverse area, has greatly influenced her style and choices in medium. It would make sense that she was into such cut and paste collage art, as she describes the city as being a piece of collage art. All of these different viewpoints, beliefs, and backgrounds combined create an identity for Toronto, similar to how she mixes many different materials to make up an entire illustration, design, or work of art. She states, “I don’t always believe in the concept that Less is more,” she says. “If you do it right, elements as a whole can speak more.” This is compelling to me because I have never thought too far in depth about collaging to illustrate but is now a new style I’ve been considering.

The first image I posted is the cover art Leeay created for the September 2010 edition of The Walrus Magazine. The Walrus is an award winning monthly publication magazine in Canada supporting Canadian writers and artists, showcasing non-fiction, short fiction, poetry, photography, and illustration. On her website she presented the development from her first rough sketches to the final. The cover art was supposed to illustrate a story featured inside, entitled The Boomerang Effect: How Did the Forever Young Generation Turn Into Perpetual Parents?, which she also did an illustration for (second image). The story, written by Marni Jackson, is about a parent having troubles with her 20 year old son’s wished to take time away from school and travel. You can read the story here.

On that same link where she displays her creative process for The Walrus cover art, she also explains color palettes, subjects, and other guidelines she was given for this project. As a student aspiring to be an illustrator, this was helpful to read because it gives a bit of information of what it would be like to take on such a task from a client.

Another example of her work includes her thesis project at Ontario College of Art Design. With this, she illustrated a series of Happy Accident stories. I found these very silly and charming. She has also worked on fashion illustration, and besides working for clients, has dabbled in some personal work with making animation videos with AfterEffects. She seems new at it, but judging by her information pages, she sounds like a very driven person and i think she could go far with some flat animation.

Here’s some more work for her clients:

2010 The Globe and Mail

2010 Atlantic Magazine June issue


  1. I like this switch up from the "less is more" philosophy to "figure out how to make complex things to work together in a non overbearing way". Personally, I can appreciate an artist more if they have a composition that is brimming with detail/interesting shapes and patterns but is still effective at saying one or two things. I think Leeay achieves this wonderfully in the most non-conventional way.

  2. My goodness, this is just so flattering.
    I just found your page because I thought "Hey let's google Leeay Aikawa!" (haha!) and your site came up.
    I appreciate your attention of what I said about my work, Megan!

    And Chelsea, your comment just inspired me more, I am actually working now too, thank you both for this energy:)

    download my desktop wall paper here, merry christmas!