It began, as so many things do in life, with a cup of coffee. One day, Japanese artist Tomoko Shintani decided to draw on hers. The result is a series of engaging illustrations that flow from Starbucks coffee cups.
"There was no particular reason or idea. I just drew on a cup because it was 'paper,'" Shintani says. The resulting doodle, which integrated the Starbucks cup that helped fuel its creation, begat a new hobby and a whimsical series of images that have captured the attention of Instagram, and the Internet by extension.
Shintani’s drawings are steeped in the childhood imagery of Halloween costumes, bedtime stories, and dreams. Her accompanying Starbucks cup is always drawn on in an un-breaking pattern that adds a 3-D pop to each piece. The string an illustrated young girl is holding on the page, for example, is attached to a giant balloon that rises toward the viewer on the side of the coffee cup. Each drawing takes between 30 minutes and an hour.
Although she started last spring, with a series that illustrated the alphabet one letter a day, it wasn’t until Instagram introduced a new way to browse photos in a grid that she began to display her coffee cup collection. "Since then, I always post my drawings with cups," Shintani says.
Although coffee has certainly played an important role in the success of many artistic endeavors, it’s not often that the supercharged beverage is paid tribute in the art itself. Have a look through more of the caffeinated imagery in the slide show above.