Beautifully Nostalgic Moments Captured in Illustrations That Mix Photorealism and Anime Styles

Digital Illustrations by Kouki Ikegami

Artist Kouki Ikegami creates striking digital artworks that look as though they're stills from an anime. His illustrations juxtapose gritty urban scenes with solitary female characters who are going about their daily lives. From waiting at a railroad crossing to passing through the subway to overlooking a city, these romantic, transient scenes are filled with nostalgia for the quiet moments in life.

Ikegami's art is particularly impactful because of the complex compositions. Although his characters may be walking or standing still, they are complemented by rich, photorealistic backgrounds. Every minute detail of architecture—including traffic lights, signage, and telephone wires—is rendered with equal elaborate care. This applies to the figures as well, who often carry ornately drawn backpacks. The results reveal moments in stories that make us want to learn more.

The artist shares time-lapse videos of his digital art on Twitter, where he shows that each piece begins with a drawing of the architecture itself. Once that's in place, Ikegami begins applying layers of color, stopping partway to add the human figure. Then, he continues to digitally paint the illustration until it reaches his desired level of realism.

Scroll down to see more digital art by Ikegami, and follow the artist on Twitter to keep up to date with his latest creations.

Japanese artist Kouki Ikegami creates striking digital illustrations of everyday urban scenes.

Digital Illustrations by Kouki Ikegami

Digital Illustrations by Kouki Ikegami

Digital Illustrations by Kouki Ikegami

These nostalgic illustrations look as though they are stills from an anime.

Digital Illustrations by Kouki Ikegami

Digital Illustrations by Kouki Ikegami

Digital Illustrations by Kouki Ikegami

Ikegami offers a peek into his work through time-lapse videos:

Kouki Ikegami: Twitter
h/t: [grape]

All images via Kouki Ikegami.

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Margherita Cole

Margherita Cole is a Contributing Writer at My Modern Met and illustrator based in Southern California. She holds a BA in Art History with a minor in Studio Art from Wofford College, and an MA in Illustration: Authorial Practice from Falmouth University in the UK. She wrote and illustrated an instructional art book about how to draw cartoons titled 'Cartooning Made Easy: Circle, Triangle, Square' that was published by Walter Foster in 2022.
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