Mad Skills Monday 065: Nanae Kawahara

Welcome to Mad Skills Monday, where we showcase top work from young creatives to bring some inspiration to beat the post-weekend blues. This week we adore the kawaii but subtly spooky illustrations from Nanae Kawahara.

Power Tools: Kent papers, Posca, acrylics, Adobe Illustrator& Photoshop, coffee
Power Songs: Blood Red Shoes – In Time To Voices, System of a Down – B.Y.O.B.
Power Snack: Japanese salted/soy snacks and chocolates… love food!!

Illustrator Nanae Kawahara draws and crafts imagery of cute, girly elements like bright colours, stars, tea and animals. However hidden in some artworks lurks darker themes of horror and monsters, inspired by the deaths of real and fictional people and pets. On this she says, “I often felt weird when someone suddenly died as he/she was alive a short time ago. I don’t want to think about the deep meaning of death, I believe that everyone is always alive and glowing.”

Nanae currently lives and works in Japan, but those in the UK can check out her winning Secret 7″ entry at their exhibition in London’s Somerset House until May 3rd.


We Are Merlot Family


Dark Merry Christmas


Put My Favorite Stuff Here


Kiiy zine




Stardust Doggies


Darjee Ring Ring

10-feltoy07-war02-hoshikoNanae studied BA Graphic Design at Tama Art University in Tokyo and MA Visual Arts (Illustration) at Camberwell College of Arts. She now lives in Yokohama and works in Tokyo. You can see more of her work at her website, blog, Tumblr and Twitter.

Want us to show off your mad skills? We’re always looking for young creatives, students and graduates to showcase for our Monday feature, so send us an email with some samples or a portfolio link with the subject line “Mad Skills Monday” to and we’ll check you out!

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