よしおか Yoshioka (@010fu) is an up-and-coming Japanese illustrator who creates wonderful fantasy worlds reminiscent of storybooks with compelling characters. The artist has a gift for spinning stories within the confines of a single illustration. Sometimes dark but always gorgeously colored, Yoshioka's painterly compositions often interface elements from Nature with human characters in creative and intriguing ways.

For example, here are a few illustrations from embroidery: The Art of Yoshioka, the artist's first art book:

© Yoshioka © PIE International | © PR Times

In addition to illustrations, Yoshioka creates many narrative works, mainly books and music-related artwork, with a watercolorist’s touch.

Yoshioka has been involved in a wide range of artworks both in Japan and abroad, including the album cover for Who-ya Extended, the musician known for the opening song of the TV anime PSYCHO-PASS (Season 3) as well as Jujutsu Kaisen, and the variant cover for the Bloodborne graphic novel (Ales Kot/Titan Comics), among other things.

"Medusa-chan" drops her ice cream

Yoshioka's wonderful illustrations often draw attention on social media, and deservedly so. It's not uncommon for them to have likes in the several tens of thousands. However, the artist's most recent illustration, posted on February 4th, 2022, has gone viral, garnering over 245,000 likes and 37,500 retweets at the time of writing.

The illustration features a girl, whom Yoshioka identified in a follow-up Tweet as "Medusa-chan" (Miss Medusa), standing in the street, the quadruple-scoop ice cream cone she was presumably enjoying (or about to enjoy) dropped onto the pavement at her feet. The emotions she feels when confronted with this sudden mishap are simultaneously conveyed by her hands as she tensely crunches up the fabric of her dress while hunching her shoulders and, more impressively, by each one of the snakes on her head.

Reproduced with permission from よしおか Yoshioka (@010fu)

This brilliant illustration contains several contrasts. First and most obviously, there's a striking contrast between Medusa-chan's completely placid face and the nuanced emotions conveyed by the kind of body language that only a Medusa could have. Her hands convey anger and frustration, while each one of her snakes seems to exhibit different emotions ranging from shock, anger, surprise, and concern.

Secondly, the appearance of Medusa-chan as a fashionably (albeit somberly) dressed girl, with each of her beautiful emerald-green snakes adorned with elegant black ribbons with chokers complete with little golden pendants just like Medusa-chan has around her neck is not only anachronistic but contrasts sharply with the fearsome image of the Gorgon from Greek mythology. This Medusa-chan doesn't mind being in public, and even enjoys sweets like many girls her age do.

At the same time, the situation begs the question: What happened for her to drop her ice cream in the first place? Was it because of the person who bumped into her and is now standing in front of her? The illustration cleverly draws the viewer into the story. Perhaps you were the one who bumped into her and now she's transfixing you with her gaze.

"Medusa-chan" elicited numerous comments, such as:

  • "Brilliant"
  • "Probably the most original attempt at Medusa, and I love it to bits. Amazing."
  • "Her disappointment and anger without a facial expression. Awesome."
  • "Best version of Medusa ever! Get her more ice cream!!!"
  • "Aw, look at the bows on the snakes they all look so cute..."

If you enjoyed this illustration and want to see more like it, you may be in luck. In another follow-up Tweet, Yoshioka revealed they have "many different Medusa illustrations I want to draw," so perhaps you'll be able to see more Medusas from Yoshioka in the future. In any case, if you'd like to see more of Yoshioka's wonderful works, be sure to follow them on Twitter and Instagram and check out their Pixiv account.

You can also look forward to Yoshioka's art book, embroidery: The Art of Yoshioka, which will be available on February 24th in Japan, and later this year internationally. For more sample illustrations and details, see the official website at publisher PIE International's website here.

There's also a promotional video:

By - Ben K.