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.
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. We hope you enjoy these Japanese-themed designs and illustrations.
Japanese Illustrations From Envato Elements
Envato Elements is a great source for a huge range of gorgeous Japanese style paintings and other graphic resources like cool Japanese drawings and illustrations.
Japanese Art Styles (AI, EPS)
Check out this wonderfully whimsical Japanese 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)
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.
Here’s a beautiful piece of Japan illustration art that would look great on a wall or as a Japanese themed wallpaper. It features delicately drawn cherry blossoms, lanterns, a Tori gate, parasol, and other symbols represented in these Japanese illustrations.
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. There are also some handwriting illustrations in Japanese in the background for a more realistic style.
Japanese Style Painting (EPS, SVG, JPEG)
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. These two files are great representations of Japanese illustration styles.
Japanese Illustration Art From MixKit
If you haven’t checked out Mixkit yet, head on over right now. There you’ll find a small but wonderful collection of Japanese-themed designs that are completely free to download!
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? This is filled with Japanese-themed design elements that everyone will love.
From our adorable cat, we move on to a Japanese art style that’s a bit more serious. This one shows a 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. We love illustrations like this one!
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 are walking past blooming cherry blossoms which fill the sky. Use this cool Japanese drawing as a phone wallpaper or for any project about Japan.
Japanese Illustrations From Reshot
Reshot offers free icons, illustrations, and photos. There are some great examples of Japanese-themed illustration on there, as well as Japanese-themed wallpapers. It’s all licensed for commercial use, with no need to sign up or give attribution.
This simple vector illustration captures the elegance of beautifully presented Japanese food. The strong contrast with the black and white background really makes the colourful dishes pop. In the white space of this Japanese-themed wallpaper, you can add any type of text to make a fantastic presentation about Japan or Japanese cuisine.
Here’s something a bit different. This abstract illustration communicates a Japanese design style, without any recognisable Japanese design elements. Is it the circles that remind us of the rising sun? The curved lines that are reminiscent of Mount Fuji, or perhaps of the patterns in the raked stones of a zen garden? The cherry blossom pink colour scheme? You decide.
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. GraphicRiver features cool Japanese drawings with different styles that you’ll love.
There are so many things you could use this floral Japanese style painting for, including wall art, greeting cards, or even as a background for a presentation.
How beautiful is this Japanese illustration style with two golden koi fish on a black background? Download this Japanese illustration 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. You’ll love this illustration as much as we do!
If you love illustration, you can’t miss out on this 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.
This fabulous Japanese illustration of sushi, sashimi, and maki is a wonderfully creative representation of these Japanese delicacies. It’s 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.
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. Find many Japanese illustration styles like this on Placeit!
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 Japanese-themed designs and illustrations you can use to incorporate into whatever design you have in mind.
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.
This is a cute illustration in Japanese 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 for 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+.
Japanese illustrators have developed their own style, which has served as inspiration for artists all over the world. Here’s a small selection of tutorials based on Japanese art:
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 Japanese illustrators have perfected over the years.
Do you want to learn how to create a landscape like the ones painted by Ukiyo-e Japanese illustrators? Envato Tuts+ has the perfect tutorial for you. Using Abode Photoshop, you will learn how to make your work light with Art, Scatter, and Blob Brushes.
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.
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. If you’re an anime or manga fan, you’ll love this illustration tutorial.
And speaking of demystifying Japanese illustration trends, this article deals with 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. Check them out: