Masuda Hisashi

Wildlife artist Masuda Hisashi, a resident of Hokkaido who specializes in detailed pen-and-ink portraits of Japanese and Alaskan wildlife.

Having made repeated visits to Alaska he is equally at home sketching in the wilderness as he is working in his Hokkaido studio.

Born in Hokkaido in 1972, he became interested in birds and wild animals after encounters with Red-crowned Cranes and Crested Kingfisher when he was 16-years-old. At about that time, he had the good fortune to meet famed landscape and wildlife photographer Hoshino Michio (1952-1996), and after seeing his pictures he began to dream about following in his footsteps and becoming a wildlife photographer.

On graduating from art school, Masuda took a job at an advertizing agency, but could not stop thinking about his dream of the outdoors, wilderness and wildlife. Deeply impressed by the works of wildlife artists Andrew Wyeth and Robert Bateman, he decided to quit his job and rather than become a photographer he determined to become a wildlife artist.

Taking part time jobs to raise funds, in his free time he taught himself to observe and depict wildlife, traveling in his native Hokkaido, and to Alaska in search of subjects relating to his main interests – the nature of northern regions. The species and encounters that have most impressed him have been with orca and wolves, and though Hokkaido has its fair share of wild places, he is always planning to return to the majestic scenery of Alaska.

Currently, Masuda works as a freelance wildlife artist, contributing artwork to magazines (such as Birder), books and pictorial books. For his monochrome art, he uses pen with ink and pencils. For his colored art he mainly uses acrylic colours. He is available for commissions and can be contacted directly through his own website.

Masuda's art has drawn him into the realms of ornithology and mammalogy, but recent projects have involved him in illustrating dinosaurs for books and exhibits.

Masuda holds regular exhibitions in Sapporo and Tokyo and it was at one of these exhibits in 2010 that Mark became impressed both by his work and his dedication to his art. At his exhibition the following year they discussed the possibility of working together on a project, which came to fruition in 2014.

During 2012/2013, Masuda worked on illustrations for The Nature of Japan: From Dancing Cranes to Flying Fish, a collaborative work with Mark Brazil.

Masuda's studies of Japanese wildlife are delicate, evocative and imaginative and enhance each chapter of this delightful book, which is designed to showcase his art while commorating 30 years of Mark's writing. 

Continue scrolling down to see more of his artworks.

These illustrations of Ural Owl, Eurasian Red Squirrel and Red-flanked Bluetail all by Masuda Hisashi are samples of the artwork that is included in The Nature of Japan.

© 2013 Mark Brazil & Chris Cook (text)

© 2013 Masuda Hisashi (illustrations)

Last updated: 20150929