Shunsuke Satake creates playful images that show up in books, on clothing and toys, and even on television shows.
After years working as a graphic designer in the advertising industry, the Kobe, Japan–based creative began operating his independent illustration studio in 2007, under the moniker Natural Permanent. He’s also an active member of a six-person art and design collective called Nariyuki Circus, based in Kansai, and he teaches at the Kyoto University of Art and Design.
Often drawn to depicting people, flora, and fauna with a sweet sense of whimsy, Satake, a father of three, specializes in family-friendly, educational, and kid-oriented works that delight viewers of all ages. Here, he shows us how he’s been making use of Adobe Illustrator on the iPad.
Tell us a bit about your work.
The main subjects of my illustrations are stylized animals. I try to create warmth in my digital work, making use of a limited but striking color palette.
How has your childhood informed the way you now create for others?
When I was a kid, I loved to draw cartoons — I remember how happy I was that my friends would admire my work, and look forward to watching me create them. For me, I think maybe that’s when I started to forge connections with others: through painting and drawing.
Can you walk us through how you’ve used Illustrator on the iPad in some of your work?
The first thing I do when I open up a blank artboard is start a sketch. While it’s not really a tool, I find the Grid setting incredibly useful — I often use it to draw shapes that are slightly askew to appear a bit more natural.
For the illustration of the boy with the hat on, I first used the Pen tool to draw an outline of his head, and then used the Blob brush to add facial features such as the hair, eyes, and mouth. Once I’ve selected my colors and filled those in, I set the head and shirt to Intersect mode so the colors overlap. Then, I added the hat. Once the necessary elements are in place and balanced, the work is done.
What advice can you share with creative folks who are interested in becoming illustrators?
Try to see things from a unique perspective, and put what you want to say into your work.