Creative Industry Report

Kusaka Akira is a freelance illustrator, graphic designer, and art director from Osaka, Japan. He does mainly illustration works, and creates artworks for advertisements, book covers, children’s illustration book, web design and more using these illustrations.

Blue Bottle by Kusaka Akira

Kusaka’s illustrations possess a distinct style, characterized by a raw and hand drawn quality despite being created purely through photoshop. They have a whimsical aspect which is achieved by juxtaposing unlikely subject matters together. As a freelance illustrator and graphic designer, he has multiple sources of revenue, which include selling his illustrations on Etsy, in local cafes and exhibitions and working for clients such as Yamana Liquer Brewery and Banchaya (tea house).

森の蜜酒 Art Direction, Graphic Design, Illustration by Kusaka Akira

I admire that his works remain in his distinct style across the different clients he has had for his works, showing that clients appreciate Kusaka for his unique works and that his voice as an illustrator and designer are not overshadowed by the needs of the clients

Beyond just an illustrator/ graphic designer

CD album jacket design by Kusaka
Kusaka Akira (trombone) & Taniguchi Yuka (piano)







Kusaka’s work as an illustrator and graphic designer is not limited to just commercial purpose, and extents his drawings to his interest as well. He is a trombone player in his two man band repair. According to Kusaka, the activities of repair revolve around poetry, picture and music. In my opinion it is admirable that his capabilities are not limited to image making, and that his philosophy and style is applied to other mediums – his music. For repair’s performance event and album covers, Kusaka designs them which shows how he practices his craft for his hobbies and interest as well, which I feel constitutes to a dedicated and passionate illustrator who truly enjoys making art.

In terms of illustration style, work ethics and manner, and engagement in other activities, I find that Kusaka is an admirable illustrator and graphic designer and hope to be able to work in a similar manner – not needing to be entirely commercial such that an individual’s working style and identity as an artist gets compromised.