Tatsuro Kiuchi's illustrations of the 2013 Masters Tournament, one of the four major professional golf championships, can now be seen accompanying the article “Fresh Take,” by Ashley Mayo, in the April 2014 issue of Golf Digest (print version only). Tatsuro had no prior exposure to the sport before the magazine chose him for this coveted assignment and flew him from Tokyo to Augusta, Georgia, where the tournament is held every April. But having seen illustrations of the event by other artists, he was, as he puts it, “definitely expecting a spectacular landscape.” He was not disappointed.

Being a golf newbie gave Tatsuro the chance to view his surroundings through a purely aesthetic lens. “Compared to the other golf fans there,” he explains, “I was viewing more of the wholeness, including golfers, games, patrons, trees, bunkers, and landscape, trying to come up with good compositions and contemplating how to capture the sense of this mood.” His pieces convey the lush color and delicate light of the Augusta National Golf Course (which in his Drawger blog Tatsuro compares to a Japanese miniature garden). “I was especially drawn to the interesting shapes of trees, as I love doing trees in my illustrations.”

There's a reason that illustrating the Masters is considered such a plum job; there is, of course, the eminence of the subject matter, but perhaps just as appealing is the editorial leeway built into the project. Tatsuro says that he was “given the maximum freedom,” adding, “There were no particular art directions or limitations from Ken [Ken DeLago, Creative Director at Golf Digest]. This is something very rare these days. I am also grateful to learn that they really trusted and believed in my creativity