You may not know the name Mitsukazu Mihara (let alone be able to pronounce it), but I’ll wager that you’re familiar with her art. The Osaka-based illustrator is the maven behind the first eight covers of the Gothic & Lolita Bible. She is recognized for her contributions to Gothic Lolita, both through the style of her drawings and the themes of her manga.

Gothic & Lolita Bible magazine covers and art by Mitsukazu Mihara.

Mihara’s art conveys a deep sensitivity to Gothic Lolita. Her style is daintier and less exaggerated than typical anime; I love the fragility of the girls’ hands and faces in the drawings above. The neo-Victorian garments always hang well and are rendered in caring detail. Mihara captures every Gothic Lolita fashion signature: the sweet headdress, the tiny crown, the lace capelet.

The artist has received wide acclaim for her manga, some of which has been published by TokyoPop. She likes to explore boundaries, and her plots tread between the disturbing and the sublime. “Beautiful People” is inspired by Frankenstein and vampire legends. “The Embalmer” dwells on the relationship between the dead and the living (and yes, that includes necrophilia). “R.I.P” has a gory premise: an angel named Transylvania Rose rips off her wing and gives it to an undertaker who slits his wrists, trapping them both between life and death. “Doll,” her most famous work, is a series about lifelike robots that serve human masters, leading to explorations of the sadistic lust for possession.

Mitsukazu Mihara’s illustrations are dark, provocative, and unexpectedly beautiful – a perfect visual transmission of Gothic Lolita. More of her art is visible here, and several of her books are available from TokyoPop (just search for her name).