Japan by Car: James Gilleard's illustrative journey through the Land of the Rising Sun

James Gilleard is an illustrator and animator from the UK, currently working as a freelancer in Japan. After studying illustration and animation at Kingston University, he worked in a myriad of agencies, from production houses to games companies and even in children's TV, before being able to take a leap of faith into full-time freelancing around four years ago.

Represented by Folio, an illustration agency, James produces work in a variation of mediums, including children's book and editorial illustration, advertising and TV and film concept art.

This particular series of images, entitled Japan by Car, will form part of a book depicting a journey around Japan.

The artist explains: "It is based on my travels around Japan while I have been here in Matsumoto, and staring out of the car window is one of my favourite things to do as we drive. The landscape is so different to what I am used to in the UK, I find it fascinating.

"I had the idea to do a Japan-based book for a while but couldn't really focus on one thing in particular. After a while I thought it would be a good idea to show no recognisable tourist attractions or monuments (I feel that stuff is quite popular in illustration at the moment), and show daily life instead. It's a side project I dip into when I have the time, but hopefully I will have something near completion by the summer.

"My working process for these is to take photographs and interpret them with simple geometry, often missing out details – as you would speeding past something in a car. Images are often based on around five photographs, the colours are changed and the scenery simplified. I create them in Adobe Illustrator as vectors and put them into Photoshop to add effects, textures and paints." To see more of James's work, visit jamesgilleard.com.


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