This website uses cookies to improve your experience navigating our site. By continuing to browse, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

OK, I understand

Emi Ueoka

Creative People

8th May, 2014
Lucy Feagins
Thursday 8th May 2014


'Summertime Schoolgirl' by Emi Ueoka.


'School girl in Japan' by Emi Ueoka.



'Voilet' by Emi Ueoka.


'School girls talking' by Emi Ueoka.

You all know I have a real soft spot for beautiful illustration.  I think deep down I'm just always in awe of anyone who can draw.  There is something so beautiful and so honest about taking pen to paper to create an image that reflects the outside world, using nothing but a few carefully placed lines on a page.  It's a very special skill.

Today we introduce Melbourne based illustrator Emi Ueoka, whose beautiful soft line drawings are like nothing we've ever seen before!

Emi grew up in Yokohama, Japan.  At age 14 she moved with her family to a tiny Caribbean Island called the Commonwealth of Dominica, because of her Dad's work, and this in turn led to Emi attending boarding school in  the UK countryside.

'Looking back, I think my school's art department was quite well equipped and a good influence' says Emi thoughtfully. 'We were encouraged to explore various mediums other than just drawing and painting. Like making pottery, sculptures, and developing photos. I remember making textile prints before I really knew what silk-screening was all about, and we also did a lot of life drawings. There were excursions to museums and galleries both inside and outside of England, which I now realise was a really fortunate experience'.

Emi went on to study graphic design at Central Saint Martins in London - an inspiring and formative time which Emi says still feels very precious to her.  After graduating from university, she moved back to Tokyo and worked as an editorial designer, while continuing to draw in her spare time. When she moved to Australia in 2011, Emi says it finally felt like the right time to focus entirely on drawing.

Using basic materials, mostly just coloured pencil and paper, Emi creates the most exquisitely delicate line drawings, depicting seemingly mundane scenes inspired by everyday life.  'I get drawn to understated beauty from everyday life' says Emi. 'I try to draw honestly, and get the most out of every line'.

Emi has produced illustrations for The New York Times, The New Yorker and Bloomberg.  Her long term goals are to produce a small publication of her drawings, and to exhibit her work outside of Melbourne.  I have no doubt she'll get there sooner than she thinks!  Emi also has a very sweet blog too, which is well worth a visit!

Emi currently works from a home studio in Melbourne's Westgarth.  She is represented commercially by the Jacky Winter Group.


'Three girls' by Emi Ueoka.


'Lucky Purple' by Emi Ueoka.


'Octavian' by Emi Ueoka.


'A girl with her sketchbook' by Emi Ueoka.

The Design Files acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers, and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files. Please email