Hello! If you read last week’s post you’ll know I’ve just started a new project, 100 days of drawing Japan. So each day, I’m trying to draw something related to Japan, and attempt to learn more about Japanese language and culture along the way. I’m trying to depict little everyday moments and things that interest me, as a way of virtually travelling there and exploring.
This first week has been really fun! I think making time each day to sit and just draw something that interests me is great for my mood, and I’ve actually found I’ve been more productive with other work too. It’s like drawing is exercise for my brain, and once it’s been warmed up by doing my daily sketch, I’m able to get going on other things easier.
Here's the drawings I did this week...
Day 1 - Koi Carp
This is quite unlike my usual style as I don’t normally use watercolours as wet as this, letting the colours all bleed together, but I think it was honestly the most fun to do! I love how loose and sketchy the fish are - later in the week I got a bit too finicky with details, think I prefer the more relaxed inky style I did here.
Day 2 - Bonsai Trees
I used a calligraphy pen for these which I do enjoy, as you can get lovely variations in line weight. Bonsai trees are so great, I’ve been really into gardening & plants lately so think that inspired this choice.
Day 3 - Currency (Yen)
I’m always interested in what coins and bank notes look like in different countries, and when I researched I found Japan has beautiful designs on theirs, so I had to sketch them. This was the first of a lot of Japanese writing I attempted throughout the week, and some characters were so small to draw in this illustration that I resorted to squiggles!
Day 4 - Post Box
With 100 days to fill I'm sure I'll end up drawing more obvious things from Japanese culture, but I'm always intrigued by everyday moments in other cultures, like posting a letter in a little red box surrounded by hydrangea flowers! I normally start with my lineart and wash with watercolour over the top, but I mixed things up this time.
Day 5 - Bento
This was the quickest drawing of the week but possibly my favourite. I love drawing food, and I ended up labelling the different components of the bento box, which I enjoyed too. I think this one just felt more spontaneous, quickly sketching down the food and noting down the ingredients.
Day 6 - Vending Machine
This one became fiddly and laborious real fast! I think I got too perfectionistic with it, but I’m pleased with the end result, even though it took ages! A lot of Hiragana/Katakana/Kanji here which were fun to practise (I used reference photos, I don’t know very much myself yet!) so here’s hoping they all look correct - it’s meant to say ‘Vending Machine’ down the side.
Day 7 - Pocky
Again, pleased with the end result but lots more fiddly details and I ended up straining my eyes! I think the box looks a bit stiff because I used a ruler, I usually draw things freehand and like the wobbly-ness! I think my favourite part is the strawberries, really makes me feel summery.
I’m pleased with how the first few have come out, although my advice to myself for the rest of the 100 days is to loosen up more!
I was filming all the drawings at the start of the week, but that got to be a bit too much work so I’m taking a break from that. Also, it was starting to limit what time of the day I had to get them done by, due to the lighting on my desk, and I wasn’t able to relax much as I drew them. I am pleased I made a few videos though, as it’s taught me more about video editing. The videos are all over on my YouTube channel if you fancy checking them out!
If you’d like a print of any of the illustrations, just ask - I am aiming to get prints of some of them up in my Etsy shop each week rather than waiting and doing a big update at the end of the project, which would take forever. Keep an eye out in the shop for prints soon!
I’m looking forward to the upcoming week, got lots of ideas for more Japan themed drawings! Any suggestions of course I’d love to hear, and thanks so much for reading!
I'm going to be challenging myself to take part in the 100 day project! It's pretty simple, you just do a creative activity every day for 100 days, and it starts today, 1st June. I think this is the boost I need to get me feeling inspired again, as I've got out of the habit of daily drawing lately, something I very much love to do! Read more about the project at www.100daysscotland.co.uk.
My theme is just simply going to be Japan. Literally anything to do with Japan, which will keep it varied enough so I stay interested. I’m thinking of little shop fronts with signs in Japanese, pagodas and temples and shrines, and allllll the food. I’ve started a list of possible prompts but any ideas are welcome! I’m really interested in Japan and it’s culture, and hope to visit someday! I constantly listen to podcasts and watch videos about it, and dabbled with learning a bit of the language (although I haven’t got very far!) It'll be a good way to tide myself over until I can finally visit Japan, and learn more about the culture along the way.
I’ve decided to work on loose sheets for this project, so to make myself commit I bought a huge stack of paper! I got A3 and A4 pads so I can vary up the paper size, and cut them down to make A5 too. Even though I use watercolours a lot I rarely use actual watercolour paper (I really should!) so I've gone for these very reasonable Cass Art pads, recommended to me by a few people so I'm excited to try them out.
I’ll share some of the illustrations over on my Instagram page, but it probably won’t be every day, as I don't want to pressure myself. This project is mostly about getting myself back into the habit of daily drawing, without rushing to create things just to post on social media. I want to be able to really enjoy illustrating each piece and get as much out of the experience as possible. I am planning on writing blog posts weekly updating how the project is going and showing all the drawings from that week, and chatting about them, so keep your eyes peeled here on my blog for those!