Two Illustrators Who Love Drawing Cute Girls

Japanese illustrator machico

This week I met Machico and gm, two Japanese illustrators who love drawing cute and colorful girls

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“I want to make a cute world,” says Mana Ito, better known as Machico (twitter). The 23 year old illustrator started to become serious about illustration when she graduated from Tokyo Design Senmon Gakko in Harajuku two years ago where she had studied graphic design.


“I got involved with Kumamiki and Junnyann and participated in the Harajuku Fashion Walk and POPNCUTE,” she explains. The colorful fashion of the participants of these two events became the inspiration for her work, cute drawings of girls in a palette of pastel colors. Especially pink dominates. “I think that all girls like pink,” she explains with a shy smile.


Machico looks like she jumped out of one of her own illustrations, she is wearing a pink and blue T-shirt with illustrations by Yurie Sekiya, a beanie with a self-designed unicorn attached to it, a mint green mini skirt, illustrated tights designed by herself, and pink platform shoes. While she is explaining about her art, she puts a pink lollipop in her mouth. It is very easy to understand why she creates this kind of art. She lives it.



Machico has participated in Tokyo’s DESIGN FESTA, Asia’s largest art extravaganza, three times. This week she showed at Design Festa Gallery in Tokyo’s Harajuku district. It’s Machico’s first time to exhibit at a gallery. It’s a good experience,” she explains, “ I have sold at club events, but with an exhibition you learn how to display your work and how to sell it.”


For this exhibit Machiko collaborated with her friend Nana Ito (not related to Machico), who uses the name gm (pronounce as goomy; twitter). Gm’s work is very similar to Machico’s, lots of cute girls in pastel colors, but gm’s colors are a bit darker and her girls a bit more mature. “I try to to express a feeling of antiqueness,” she explains.


Gm graduated from Tokyo Animation College in Takadanobaba last March, but she has decided not to pursue a career in animation. “It’s not for me,” she says, “I like illustration better.” Drawing opens the door to a world of gm’s imagination: “I can draw the clothes and hairstyles that I like, but can’t wear myself,” she explains.


Art work by Machico




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Machico created the cover for Broken Doll’s “Reach for the Sky”

Art work by gm






Kjeld Duits About the Author

Inspired by the stunningly creative street fashion that exploded on the streets of Tokyo and Osaka in the late 1990’s, photo-journalist Kjeld Duits launched JAPANESE STREETS in 2002. This makes JS one of the first fashion blogs on the net, and the very first to cover Japanese street fashion.

Recent articles by Kjeld Duits:

Comment (日本語もOK)

Oh wow the illustration are super cute! Both girls are really talented and I hope they go far with it <3

May 12, 2013 (3436 days ago)

@Sarah: I hope so, too. It’s a crowded field with lots of talented competitors, so they’ll have to work hard and smart.

Kjeld Duits (author)
May 12, 2013 (3436 days ago)

Do they have websites or somewhere I can purchase their prints?

May 12, 2013 (3436 days ago)

@hannah: I am meeting with Machico and gm this week to see if we can sell some of their creations right here on JAPANESE STREETS. That way it will be in English, reliable, and convenient and easy for you. Is there anything in specific that you are interested in?

Kjeld Duits (author)
May 13, 2013 (3435 days ago)

I wish I can express how much I love these desings! I would love to purchase a cellphone case/cover from them! If you start selling their products, would you ship worldwide?

May 14, 2013 (3434 days ago)

@Soru: Yes, we will ship worldwide, Soru. I’m meeting Machico and gm on Thursday; I will keep you informed about everything here.

Kjeld Duits (author)
May 14, 2013 (3434 days ago)

Love these fabulous artists!

LabellaLuxe Boutique
May 15, 2013 (3433 days ago)

@LabellaLuxe: Thank you!

Kjeld Duits (author)
May 15, 2013 (3433 days ago)

I met with Machico and gm today. We have decided to sell their postcards, badges, stickers, iPhone cases and tights on JAPANESE STREETS. Preparations will take about 1 to 2 weeks. Stay tuned!

Kjeld Duits (author)
May 16, 2013 (3431 days ago)

@Kjeld: sounds great! Thank you for the responses!

May 17, 2013 (3431 days ago)

@hannah, Soru: On Wednesday morning 1:00 am Japan time, a page allowing you to purchase the tights will go up. Then every so many days we’ll put up a page for another product item. The number of tights is very limited, so if you are interested, you better purchase them as soon as the page goes live.

1:00 am Japan Time =

Los Angeles – Tuesday, June 4, 2013, 09:00
New York – Tuesday, June 4, 2013, 12:00

Paris (France) – Tuesday, June 4, 2013, 18:00

Kjeld Duits (author)
Jun 4, 2013 (3412 days ago)

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