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Inspiration: We Love Japan! Japanese Themed Illustration


Western love of all things Japanese traces back to 1858, following the reopening of trade between Japan and Europe. In fact, the influence of Japanese culture on 19th century art and design was so great that it became known by the term Japonisme.

Japanese Themed Illustrations
Love Japanese style? Then check out our collection of Japanese Themed Illustrations

Today, Japanese culture is once again enjoying a heyday with audiences around the globe, and so for you 'Japanophiles' out there, we thought we'd share some great Japanese style illustrations you can use for inspiration or incorporate in your next project.

Japanese Illustrations From Envato Elements

Envato Elements is a great source for a huge range of gorgeous Japanese style paintings and other graphic resources. 

Japanese Art Styles (AI, EPS)

Japanese Art Styles

Check out this wonderfully whimsical Japan illustration art featuring a collection of cultural symbols identifiable as Japanese in a flat, colourful design so renowned in Japanese style painting. Download it and use it as Japanese illustration wallpaper, a landing page banner, a book illustration, and more. 

Japan Illustration Art (AI, EPS)

Japanese Illustration Wallpaper

Well, this is a collection that should keep lovers of all things Japanese happy for days. It's a collection of 30 vector images that represent familiar icons of Japanese culture: sake bottle, bento lunch box with traditional wrapper cloth, ramen, sushi, fish, instant noodles, and traditional Japanese confections, wagashi, kokeshi dolls in yukata, daruma, maneki neko, yokai, demon mask, kitsune fox mask, folding fan and bonsai, paper cranes, stone lanterns, fish flags, ink stamps, manga books, cat cafe, omamori, and more. 

Watercolor Japan Illustration Art (PNG)

Watercolor Japan Illustration Art

Here's a beautiful Japan illustration art that would look great on a wall or as a screensaver. It features delicately drawn cherry blossoms, lanterns, a Tori gate, parasol, and other symbols of Japanese life. 

Watercolor Geisha Japanese Art Styles (PNG)

Watercolor Geisha Japanese Art Styles

If you're fascinated with Geisha culture, you will love this terrific illustration which features 16 watercolour geishas, each on its own transparent background so that you can use them on invitations, greeting cards, posters, wall art, banners, T-shirts, or however you care to.

Japanese Style Painting (EPS, SVG, JPEG)

Japanese Style Painting

The crane is known as the bird of happiness in Japan. They believe it is a mystical creature that lives for a thousand years and is thus associated with longevity and good fortune. For all these reasons, we had to include this wonderful Japanese illustration wallpaper with cranes flying over the ocean and over mountaintops, because what could be more Japanese?

Japanese Illustration Art From MixKit 

If you haven't checked out Mixkit yet, head on over right now. There you will find a small but wonderful collection of Japanese themed illustrations that are completely free to download! 

Cat Ramen Illustration

Cat Ramen Illustration

How can you resist this wonderful ramen illustration featuring a cat with its chopsticks filled with ramen poised in midair as they eyeball the treat coming their way in anticipation?

Japan Illustration Art

Japanese Illustration Art

From our adorable cat to a Japanese art style that's a bit more serious. This one shows a street scene of men wearing traditional robes on a city street. What makes this illustration so special is that, although the scene is very still and subdued, it is rendered in bold colours of red, blue, and yellow.

Japan Illustration Art with Couple in Traditional Clothing

Japanese Illustration Art with Couple in Traditional Clothing

In contrast with the previous Japanese style painting, this digital art illustration of a couple in traditional Japanese clothing feels more light and summery. Maybe it's because the painting is a riot of colours and the couple is walking past blooming cherry blossoms which fill the sky.

Japanese Illustration Art From GraphicRiver

GraphicRiver is another source for terrific Japan illustration art. Here are some of the best options available.

Anime Portrait- Japanese Art Styles (PSD, PNG)

Well, we really couldn't complete any review of the best Japan illustration art without including anime. So here's a lovely rendition of an anime character just for you. 

Sacura - Japanese Style Painting (PSD)

There are so many things you could use this wonderful Japanese style painting for, including wall art, for greeting cards, or even to create cool Japanese style tattoos.

Koi - Japan Illustration Art (PSD)

How beautiful is this illustration of two golden koi fish on a black background? This illustration is created in a layered PSD file so that you can customise it as needed. Perfect for use in posters, cards, T-shirt design, and more.

Samurai Dragons - Japanese Style Tattoos (PSD)

Here's another hi-res PSD file that's easy to customise to suit your needs. It features Bushido, which is the Japanese word for the way of the samurai life. Use this stunning illustration to create your own Japanese style tattoos or to incorporate into another project.

Sushi — Japanese Illustration (PSD)

This fabulous illustration of sushi, sashimi, and maki is a wonderfully creative representation of these Japanese delicacies. Perfect for incorporating into a menu or using to create a poster. 

Japanese Illustrations From Placeit

Placeit is an excellent online tool that allows you to create a range of digital assets like mockups, T-shirt designs, and more from your web browser! It offers a range of Japanese Illustrations for you to have fun with.

Japanese Style Tattoo-Inspired T-Shirt Design

Japanese Style Tattoo-Inspired T-Shirt Design

Whether you're after Japanese style tattoos or a T-shirt design, Placeit has just about every kind of Japanese inspired illustration to suit your needs. What's more, customising the artwork is done straight in your web browser and doesn't require any special software knowledge. 

T-Shirt Design Creator with Japan Illustration Art of a Bonsai

T-Shirt Design Creator with Japanese Illustration Art of a Bonsai

Bonsai is one of the icons of Japanese culture, and if you're looking for the perfect bonsai illustration, look no further. Placeit has a number of wonderful illustrations you can use to incorporate into whatever design you have in mind. 

T-Shirt Design Creator Featuring Japanese Illustration Art 

T-Shirt Design Creator Featuring Japanese Illustration Art

How stunning is this Japanese illustration of a warrior's mask? It's just one of several offered at Placeit, so if this one doesn't quite meet your needs, there are several others to choose from. 

Logo Maker with Japanese Illustration of Cherry Blossom Graphics

Logo Maker with Japanese Illustration of Cheery Blossom Graphics

This gorgeous illustration is created to be used as a logo that you can incorporate into posters, menus, T-shirts, and more. If you love the design but not the colours, no worries—you can change anything you don't like about the design in a matter of minutes using the Placeit logo maker.

T-Shirt Design Generator Featuring Japanese Style

T-Shirt Design Generator featuring Japanese Style

Let's finish up our Placeit Japanese inspo with an anime design that's created for T-shirts but can be used in any number of ways. And yes, in case you doubt it, girls will save the world. 

Japanese Illustration Inspiration From Envato Tuts+

Envato Tuts+ has been the go-to educational source instruction on illustration for more than a decade, so it stands to reason that if you want to know how to create your own resources, you can find a tutorial to help you at Tuts+. Here's just a small selection.

Create a Traditional Japanese Koi Carp Illustration

Create a Traditional Japanese Koi Carp Illustration

Koi carp have been painted and illustrated by the Japanese for centuries, and if you want to learn how to create your own using the traditional Japanese approach, this tutorial will show you how to use Adobe Illustrator to imitate what the Japanese have perfected.

Create a Japanese Ukiyo-e Style Print

Create a Japanese Ukiyo-e Style Print

Want to learn how to create a landscape in the style of a Japanese Ukiyo-e print? Tuts+ has got the perfect tutorial for you. Using Abode Photoshop, you will learn how to make your work light with Art, Scatter, and Blob Brushes.

Profile: Hyaku, One Hundred Percent Creativity

Profile Hyaku One Hundred Percent Creativity

Find out how Japanese Illustrator Aya Miyazaki and Art Director Shingo Miyazaki run their design business successfully and create amazing illustrations like this one over and over again.

What Is Anime/Manga and Why Should You Create It in Vector?

What Is AnimeManga and Why Should You Create It in Vector

If you love anime but are a bit unclear about exactly what it is and how it differs from manga, you have to read this article. As a bonus, you'll find out why vector is a fantastic medium to work with when creating anime/manga styled artwork and how to approach using it. 

What Exactly is this Japanese Trend Known as "Kawaii" All About?

What Exactly is this Japanese Trend Known as Kawaii All About

And speaking about demystifying Japanese trends, this article deals kawaii (think the genre of Hello Kitty, San-X, etc.). It explains exactly what it is, what makes a piece of art kawaii, and how the culture of kawaii transformed contemporary Japanese culture. 

Learn More About Japanese Illustration!

I hope this article has given you plenty of inspiration and ideas to help you get started as an illustrator. If you want to learn more about Japanese design, we have plenty of tutorials to help you. Here are some great places to start:

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