Thank you very much for visiting! My name is Ottilia Tanaka (née Stephens) and I am a British illustrator, writer and Japanese language specialist originally from Herefordshire, UK, and currently based in Yokohama, Japan.
I have a BA in Japanese from University of Leeds (2:1, 2014) and an Illustration MA from Falmouth University, UK (merit, 2020). My illustration style is based in analogue methods with a focus on mark-making and traditional materials like watercolor. I also use various digital tools and am constantly seeking to expand my practice. You can see my portfolio here.
For the Final Major Project of my MA, I wrote and illustrated my first ever children’s book. This was a very personal project which I am thrilled to have completed. I am currently looking for an agent or publisher for this work. I am also willing to rework the book under the guidance of a publisher, if necessary. You can see more about this work and its creation on my YouTube channel, or on its Project Page.
You can find downloadable prints of my work for sale on my Etsy shop.
I am also an Adobe Certified Associate in Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop and Illustrator (2020).
Although illustration is my main passion, as the name of this website suggests, I also scribble in various other areas.
I copywrite for web pages, pamphlets or PR publications. I also write for pleasure on topics relating to culture, illustration, nature, art and Japan. You can see my personal writing in the blog section of my site.
I have Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) level N1 (2015), a BA degree in Japanese from University of Leeds (2:1, 2014), and six years’ experience working with the Japanese language every day as Coordinator for International Relations on the JET Program in Hagi City, Yamaguchi Prefecture (2015 – 17) and at Tokyo Convention and Visitors Bureau in Tokyo (2017 – 20).
I can translate from Japanese to English, and have translated one published book, The World Heritage Sites in Hagi, available from Hagi Museum in Yamaguchi Prefecture.
While this background might seem incongruous to pursuing a career in illustration, it was my interest in Art that led me to study Japanese, and my interest in Japan that led me to continue to draw and finally study Illustration. Love of language and writing is ingrained in my illustration and I would not be being true to myself if I denied my interests in language and the written word. I’m an illustrator first and foremost, but also a writer and linguist – which I think is a lot more fun!