Akiko Fukuda (Illustrator)
Akiko Fukuda was born and raised in Chiba, Japan. Her “playground” was sketch books rather than the outdoors. Akiko always remembers that her most favorite thing was drawing pretty girl faces and figures daily ever since she was little. She was attracted by the world of Makoto Takahashi, the renowned artist for wistful and delicate girl drawings for children’s stationery supplies and magazines. Akiko believes that is the greatest influence on her current illustration works. As a teenager, she was hooked on Japanese teen magazines such as “Olive” and “mc Sister” which were full of fashionable and beautiful images, and that became the gateway to her future interest in the fashion industry. After college Akiko successfully started her fashion career as an assistant buyer in Japan. However, two years later she decided to move to New York to study fashion business at FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology), in order to breakthrough the barriers for Japanese women in this career path. In the meantime, her interest in fashion design only increased. Afterwards Akiko studied both fashion business and design at FIT, leading to her career as a fashion designer.
The trigger for her next great shift was Makoto Takahashi’s exhibition held in Sakura City, Japan, in November 2015. The town is nearby where Akiko was raised, and her visit was just by accident. The show reminded her that she was particularly attached and inspired by Makoto’s art, and the root of her fashion design career was based on illustrations and images that captured her imagination in her childhood rather than any garment designers of mention.
In March 2017, Akiko finally took up a pen and started afresh with Illustrations after her 13 years in fashion design. In the beginning she considered tackling fashion illustrations, however as she drew, she realized that her main theme is expressing imposingness, purity, and elegance that women eternally possess rather than following trend or fashion. Akiko adhered to an entirely hand drawn process. In September 2017, she was aware of the possibility of color rendering using digital tools to explore more flexibility in expression. She began experimenting with new processes; bringing hand sketches by pigment liners to digital files and adding dimensional effects and depth by using digital paint brush and layers. Although Akiko’s main theme is expressing imposing beauty in female expressions, she makes portions of the figures transparent, and enjoys the unity between female figures and backgrounds such as botanical motifs. Through her illustration, Akiko is seeking opportunities to share expressions of beauty, purity, and allure of female images that may remind many women what they used to be through their childhood experiences.