This Japanese Graphic Designer Creates Tiny Food Items That Almost Look Like the Real Thing

Check out that detailed packaging!

The works of Tomoko Misumi, a miniature food artist full of originality


There are a lot of people collecting miniature art these days. Some of these collector’s items are created to express the artist’s unique view of the world. We interviewed
Tomoko Misumi, a miniature food artist who makes a whole new world of cute, mini versions of different food items. She talks about her work, which continues to evolve every day.


Miniature art used as expression


Tomoko Misumi started making miniature art 20 years ago. She tells us, “I saw a dollhouse for the first time on TV and I was so impressed I made a confectionery shop all by myself. After that, I stopped for a while, and started making miniatures again 10 years ago mainly of food.”


One of Tomoko’s pieces that got the most attention online are her animal ice pops. “A lot of people found the transparent packaging with a face on it fascinating,” she recalls. She also notes that it was quite popular among foreigners. “Recently, the flower candies and summer candies are also drawing attention, she shares. “It seems that transparent pieces made of resin are a crowd favorite.”


The animal ice pops are refreshing to look at


A lot of people would be happier if flower candies actually existed


“Summer candy” gives you a cool summer vibe


When asked about the process, Tomoko shares how important it is to introduce your identity in the pieces you make, too. “Of course technique is also important, but I value being excited about my work more,” she tells us.


The challenge is to create something life-like but isn’t real


Among the many themes of miniature art gaining popularity, Tomoko chooses to focus on sweets and souvenirs. “The number one reason is that I like eating, especially sweets,” she says. There’s something about seeing something cute IRL that makes her want to create a miniature version of it. “The good thing about miniatures is that you can easily start making one the moment you feel inspired,” she shares.


Traditional Japanese sweets with exquisite pastel colors


The food itself is eye-catching, but the packaging and the containers are impressive works of art as well.


Realistic packaging and paper bag designs


Tomoko does graphic design, so she has always thought miniature food and packaging go together. She enjoys imagining what type of box the miniature food should be packaged in. She even sometimes wonders if there’s actually a product packaged like her miniatures.

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A refreshing design that fits summer perfectly, but this is only a miniature.


When it comes to miniature work, nothing is ever easy. According to Tomoko, “The more you create, the more flaws you notice, and that makes you feel the depth in making miniature art. For example, for the packaging, I try to create designs that look good in small sizes.”


The fine details in the packaging require a lot of skills and technique


There’s a challenge in creating realistic designs. “I create designs that I wish were real, but if I make it too fanciful, it becomes hard to figure out what exactly I was aiming for, so I make it a point to settle for something likely but not real,” she tells us.


There’s something exciting about miniatures


When asked which of her work is her favorite, Tomoko shares that the Santa boots and Christmas cake (complete with packaging) are some of her faves. “Also, the
wappa bento and osechi dishes (New Year dishes) have a special place in my heart because I spent a long time making them,” she adds.


Cat and panda Christmas cake


The New Year dishes she has made came in different sizes every year. “For the
osechi dishes, I made a 1/6 size in 2017, 1/8 size in 2018, and 1/12 size in 2019 all with exactly the same design. I felt so happy when I put the 3 pieces I made over 3 years side by side and took a photo of them together,” she recalls.


Notice the fine details of the osechi dishes


It’s easy to see the size difference of the same osechi design when arranged side by side. Is there anything you take into consideration when taking pictures?


Seeing all the
osechi dishes side by side, you can see the size difference. When it comes to taking photos of her miniatures, we asked what are the considerations she takes into account. Tomoko says, “It’s hard to convey how small the miniatures are if you take a photo of them alone, so I include my hand in the photo too, for reference.”


Another trick she does to make sure her photos are unique is to put the original item in the background for comparison. She also likes to add the season’s flowers as decoration.


By adding seasonal flowers, the photo looks more complete


Miniature art is fascinating. For Tomoko, it’s about expressing yourself at the size of a fingertip. “It may be miniature, but for me, it has a huge significance in my life,” she says.

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As for her future plans, she admits that it’s been difficult to start anything with the spread of Coronavirus. It’s her hope that when things settle down, she’ll be able to hold an exhibit or a workshop. “Until then, I’d like to try new tools and materials to broaden the style of my work. Miniatures have a world separate from reality. It lifts my mood just by looking at them! It’s also fun to see the different ways different artists make their miniature art. Please check them out!” she continues.


Size comparison of strawberries and their miniature version


What do you think of these adorable miniatures? Have you started your own collection? Share them with us by tagging us on your photos @spotjapanph!


Provided by Japan Walker™, Walkerplus™, and Tokyo Walker™ (23 May 2020)


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