Studio Visits

Yuko Shimizu’s Fresh Look for an Iconic Beast

Inside Criterion / Criterion Designs — Oct 24, 2019


Arguably the greatest movie monster of all time, Godzilla has appeared on countless screens, posters, and merchandise since it first stomped its way into theaters in 1954. While working on the cover of Godzilla: The Showa-Era Films, 1954–1975—one of the most colossal editions in our collection—Tokyo-born, New York–based artist Yuko Shimizu faced the challenge of delivering a new, distinctive take on the kaiju titan while remaining faithful to a look that has been legendary for more than six decades.

In the latest episode of Studio Visits, we took a trip to Shimizu’s work space, where she spends much of her week painting for clients like the New Yorker and the New York Times. The award-winning illustrator—who has previously brought her eye-popping two-dimensional style to the Criterion releases of The Samurai Trilogy, The Ballad of Narayama, The Mikado, and Topsy-Turvy—details the process behind her artwork for the Godzilla set, which is prominently featured on the front and back of the set as well as on a double-page spread that depicts the beast laying waste to Tokyo Tower. Watch the video above to get a look at the remarkable brush-and-ink drawings that served as the foundation for Shimizu’s illustrations, and to hear her talk about how Godzilla permeates her memories of moviegoing as a child.