Erica Ward - Artist in Tokyo

Erica Ward

I'm an artist in Tokyo, Japan

Available for contracts

I speak English and Japanese

Find me at

About me

Hello! I am an American illustrator from Santa Cruz, California. I have been fascinated with Japan since a young age, and after studying abroad in Nagoya during my university years I decided to move here in 2010. I spent three years living in coastal Iwate, two in southern Osaka Prefecture, and am in Tokyo.

I work mostly in pen and watercolor, and my illustrations are largely inspired by my Japanese surroundings.

I have held exhibitions of my pen and watercolor illustrations inTokyo, Osaka, Wakayama, Iwate, and Kochi, as well as in the United States.

I am always hoping to connect and co-inspire with other artists here in Tokyo.

My Creations

  1. Tiger Year

    1 February 2022

    Happy Lunar New Year, 2022.

    Ink, watercolor on paper.

  2. 願い事の歪 Wishes’ distortion       
    160 x 230mm, framed to 220 x 270mm
    Ink, watercolor on paper

    A new piece for my current exhibition
    Ryokan Sawanoya Art and Book Project: "Welcome to Engiyado" Erica Ward + Sakai Takao
    Dates: 9/1~9/30,
    10:00~18:00 Mon~Thur
    10:00~20:00 Fri, Sat, Sun, Holidays (10:00~18:00 on Sun 9/30) ... continue reading (1, 1 image)

  3. Solo Exhibition: BONSAI

    23 November 2021

    Flyer design featuring three paintings that will be on view at my upcoming solor exhibition, BONSAI. At BLANK gallery in Koenji 12/7~12/12. Open 13:00~19:00 (~17:00 on the final day). Would love to see you there
    For map and other gallery info:

    2021.12.7 TUE -... continue reading (1, 1 image)

  4. City Face

    24 October 2016

    When I arrived in Tokyo in January 2016 after five years living in the Japanese countryside (and the rest of my life living in the Californian countryside) I wondered when my eyes and brain would adjust to the buzzing detail of the surrounding metropolis. Factories, offices, houses, apartment buildings-- every... continue reading (1, 1 image)

  5. Erica Ward Solo Exhibition

    at CLOUDS ART + COFFEE in Koenji Tokyo
    Open 13:00~19:00

    I am excited to announce that I will be holding a solo exhibition in July-August this year. 2020 has been a strange year for everyone, filled with lots of fears and uncertainties. I... continue reading (0, 1 image)

  6. Happy Year of the Ox

    1 January 2021


    Grateful for my Tokyo creative family and looking forward to a creative 2021!

  7. Engimono: Daruma

    21 July 2020

    An open wish for the City.

    From my new series, "Engimono" which will be unveiled in full at my solo exhibition in Koenji next week (please come if you are free, or check out our online sales page if you feel more comfortable staying in)

    Erica Ward Solo Exhibition
    えんぎもの... continue reading (1, 1 image)

  8. 6月12-13日(土日)と19-20日(土日)柴又のギャラライー Atelier 485 Tokyo で個展開催
    Solo Exhibition at Atelier 485 Tokyo in Shibamata
    6/12-13 and 6/19-20
    Opening hours are 13:00~17:00 on the above listed WEEKENDS ONLY.
    On 6/12 (Sat) the gallery will be open until 20:00pm

    I will be showing a selection of past and new pen and watercolor works... continue reading (0, 1 image)

  9. Murasaki

    26 April 2017

    "Murasaki Kanjo"「紫感情」
    Watercolor, ink, on watercolor paper
    24.5 x 32cm
    "Before I went to Court I tried to avoid sadness by writing to those who were in the same state of mind, even to those with whom I was only slightly acquainted, and associating with them I consoled my heart... continue reading (1, 1 image)

  10. The year is 2020, a new decade turns
    At my first exhibition of the 2020s, I will be showing a selection of artworks from throughout the past decade, as well as new work from the start of this new one.
    Please join us for the reception on 2/28!

    Friday,... continue reading (0, 1 image)

  11. Happy New Year 2020
    Looking forward to all the new creations in Tokyo this year
    This watercolor painting, "Medetashi/Celebratory" is the January illustration in a series titled "Toshitsuki" that I created last year that illustrates each of the twelve months of the year. In January we have both Shogatsu and... continue reading (0, 1 image)

  12. Year of the Dog

    9 January 2018

    Happy Year of the Dog.

    Ink, watercolor on paper.

  13. Ink, watercolor on watercolor paper
    This is a piece that was commissioned at the start of this year as a "3rd Anniversary Celebration" design by Osaka cafe and roaster, Lilo Coffee Roasters.

    The initial request was definitely one of the most dynamic I've ever received, with a vision of "a... continue reading (1, 1 image)

  14. Hello Canvas Friends! I'm happy to announce my Solo Exhibition "Rosenzuiro" in Koenji next month. It would be lovely to see you--feel free to message me if you think you can make it and I can try to meet up at the gallery.

    Erica Ward 2019 Solo Exhibition: 路線図色
    6/11... continue reading (1, 1 image)

  15. Konomachi: This Town

    13 March 2017

    This Town
    Erica Ward, 2016
    55 x 78cm ink, charcoal, watercolor, paper

    Before she knew it her mind was full of such scenery:
    the details that extend out into nothing.
    Stepping out into such
    is to be seen,
    is to be unseen.
    It is both freedom and bondage,
    this town.

    ... continue reading (0, 1 image)

  16. Halloween night has ended with today's dawn, but every year November 1st allows one more day of festivities as the Day of the Dead. For the past six years I have done a Dia de los Muertos themed artwork which I've shared on November 1st. This will be the first... continue reading (0, 1 image)

  17. Celebrate Iwate

    28 January 2018

    A celebration of Iwate
    The Hayabusa Tohoku Shinkansen, taiko dancers of the Morioka Sansa festival, Mt. Iwate, the beautiful seasons, and decorative manhole covers. Takizawa's cover depicts the Chagu-chagu Horse Parade Festival.

    Watercolor and Ink on Paper.

    This image was personally commissioned by a friend to remind her of what... continue reading (0, 1 image)

  18. "Planes: B3" ink, watercolor, on paper.

    This is the cover image for my upcoming solo exhibition in Koenji:
    Erica Ward Solo Exhibition
    6/5 (Tue) - 6/10 (sun)
    Reception 6/9 (Sat) 6pm ~ 8pm
    at Clouds Art + Coffee
    25-4 Koenjikita 2-Chome Suginami-ku Tokyo
    facebook event page:


    ... continue reading (0, 1 image)

  19. Street Cat

    25 May 2016

    A walk through my shitamachi neighborhood
    In the sun the surrounding buildings start to blend into a patch-work: white, brown, black
    they become the
    random spots
    of a calico cat,
    who I then spot sitting disinterested in an alley.
    Large and small,
    grand and minute,
    I don't know which is... continue reading (0, 1 image)

  20. Trainlines in Bloom

    31 March 2018

    "線路満開" "Trainlines in Bloom" Ink, watercolor on paper.

    This image will used as the cover for a new collaborative zine, "hajime" which will be debuting on April 14th. "hajime" is a collection of works from seven non-Tokyo-native artists (including myself) who have produced brand new, four-page artworks on the collective... continue reading (1, 1 image)

  21. The Season

    8 April 2016

    Yesterday's rain may have brought it to an end, but this year too we saw those two short weeks where flowers grow from trees and humans grow from the blue tarps spread out in every park. For me, and each of us in our own way, there is more than... continue reading (0, 1 image)

  22. Wings

    20 February 2018

    Ink, Watercolor, on Paper

    soft and light,
    so lovely to examine
    when pinned, unfurled, unmoving.
    for form.

    This piece and others will be on display at CLOUD ART + COFFEE in Koenji from Tuesday 2/27 through Sunday 3/4 as part of their “Color Series: Pink” group... continue reading (0, 1 image)

  23. Kyo

    25 March 2016

    My first upload to Canvas. I'm excited to be a part of the Tokyo Creatives Community! "Kyo," ink, watercolor on paper. The stimuli of Kyoto.

  24. Views of Spring I

    12 April 2016

    First complete in a series of small watercolors depicting Tokyo Spring.

    "Views of Spring I"
    Watercolor, ink, on watercolor paper
    17 x 21 cm

  25. Lotus

    13 August 2017

    23cm x 30 cm Watercolor, ink, on watercolor paper.Summer in Japan is full of colourful visual stimuli, from matsuri yukata to the vibrant greens of the jungle that see...

    Read more
  26. Transfer

    30 March 2016

    I was living in Iwate up in Tohoku from 2010 to 2013. From that far north and where I was out on the coast, even domestic travel meant a trek of distance and money. However I was never sorry to ride the shinkansen when I had the chance and the... continue reading (0, 1 image)

  27. Original watercolor LINE Creators' Sticker series, "Bikkluri Animals" is now available on the LINE Stamp Shop

    I knew I eventually wanted to make my own series of "Creators' Stickers" for the LINE messaging app ever since they introduced the option a few years ago. The original guidelines required 40... continue reading (1, 1 image)

  28. VW Bus Cafe

    15 August 2016

    Original work in ink and watercolor on watercolor paper (with a digital touch of 60s purple), this image is a personification of the Roppongi cafe and eatery "Cafe Frangipani." I'm very excited to be having an exhibition of my art at the cafe this month (Exhibition info below--check it out!)... continue reading (1, 1 image)

  29. Setsubun: Not a fun night for Oni
    Original watercolor and pen on watercolor paper, 15 x 25 cm.

  30. Embrace Spring

    26 March 2017

    This piece was done in time for the opening of spring, and also for the Artcomplex Centre of Tokyo's upcoming group exhibition, "Animal World 10," in which I am participating. See below for more details!

    "Embrace Spring"
    March, 2017
    23cm x 31.5cm
    Pen, Watercolor on Watercolor Paper

    Group Exhibition:"Animal World... continue reading (1, 1 image)

  31. Kiyosumi Daruma

    5 October 2017

    Outside the oldest house in the neighborhood stands a stone statue of Daruma.

    The house must be the residence of the stonecutter, as his handiwork guards not only both sides of the door, but also under the windows, and continues to march in a frozen processional to wrap around the... continue reading (1, 1 image)

  32. I’ve just released a new LINE sticker series: Calico Kappa!

    So I, personally, am actually a huge fan of simple-design animal character LINE stickers, so I decided to make my own. This time it’s a funky little kappa-cat (catpa?) named “Calico Kappa.” He’s mostly cat, so he hates water, but... continue reading (0, 1 image)

  33. Breath of a Metropolis

    12 April 2018

    都会の深呼吸 Breath of a Metropolis
    210 x 297mm
    Ink on paper

    This is a partial page illustration for my section of a collaborative zine, "hajime," in which seven artists have submitted their freely interpreted "first impressions of Tokyo" as four-page, black and white artworks.

    This original piece and others of... continue reading (0, 1 image)

  34. One of four new paintings to accompany Vivat Veritas' kimono remake fashion collection for a joint Art x Fashion exhibition "渋色モード” (Shibuiro Mode) that runs from Tuesday 5/15 through Friday 5/25 at Ego Arts and Entertainment Gallery in Nihonbashi. My contribution to the 3-artist-show are watercolor paintings inspired by the... continue reading (0, 1 image)