With permission from © Angela Pan

Artist recreates scenes of Japan through pleasing pastel-colored illustrations

From the bright crimson of toriis and temples, to the rainbow of neon lights in Shinjuku and all the way to the distant blue of Mount Fuji—Japan is full of colors that stay with you no matter where you go. So it comes as no surprise that artists from all over the world take inspiration from this to create beautiful artwork of Japan that leaves just as much of an impression as the colors do.

One artist who makes brilliant use of colors in her paintings is Angela Pan, a designer from Canada. She spent three weeks travelling all over Japan, covering the usual spots like Tokyo and Kyoto, while also including less popular areas like Matsumoto and Kanazawa in her itinerary.

She’s releasing an artbook titled “21 Days in Japan” at the end of January 2020, which features paintings she made during her visit to the country. We got to talk to her about her background, her reasons for taking the trip and where she got her inspiration for her Japan-themed artbook.


Angela has a degree in animation, and currently works in the animation industry. In her own words, she described drawing as her “one and only hobby.” She also explains that she grew up reading manga, which was where her fascination for Japan started.

“I decided to do a 3-week trip to Japan because although I've been to Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka before, I've never had a chance to go visit other parts of Japan. I wanted to see a wider range of landscapes and scenery of Japan,” Angela says.

When it comes to the art style she uses for her paintings, Angela mentions traditional Japanese art forms, such as ukiyo-e and shin-hanga as her inspiration.

Ukiyo-e is a Japanese woodblock printing style that was popular during the 17th to 19th century. They depicted scenes from nature and everyday life in Tokyo (known as Edo at the time), and the art style made use of detailed lines with flat colors that were painted in using different woodblocks for each color.

Shin-hanga, on the other hand, is an art movement that modernized ukiyo-e during the 20th century. The subjects closely resembled that of ukiyo-e, however, the artists of shin-hanga took inspiration from foreign influences. This resulted in paintings that showed softer colors and the effects of lighting, which gave the style a more three-dimensional look.

Both these influences are evident in her work, not just in the style she uses for her paintings, but also in her subjects: the natural beauty of Japan and the everyday scenes in all of the places she visited.

When asked about what she hopes people will take away from her art, she said, “I wanted to share what moves in me the world—beautiful sights that make me stop and stare. Through my art, I hope people will be inspired to discover the beauty of the world, and record them with their art too.”

You can pre-order Angela’s “21 Days in Japan” art booklet, and her other paintings and prints through her online store here, or you can also see her art through her Instagram or her website.


By - Jen Santelices.