Hello again! Week 4 of my 100 Days Drawing Japan project is done - over a quarter of the way through already! If you want to read a bit more about the project, check out my first blog post all about it.
This week was pretty busy for me with a lot of other things on, but I felt more inspired than the previous week and really enjoyed drawing all these. Also I had a little break at the weekend as I was away having some much needed chill time. I caught up on Tuesday, doing three in one day - think I was nice and refreshed after my little holiday!
Here's this week's illustrations...
Day 22 - Kadomatsu
Kadomatsu are bamboo decorations which are displayed outside Japanese homes during New Years celebrations. I'll admit I first found out what these were through playing Animal Crossing! I like how natural they are, made from pine branches, plants and flowers, and woven straw binding.
Day 23 & 24 - Harajuku Street Style
For these illustrations I used references from a photography book by Fruits, a Japanese street style magazine which documented the fashion culture in Tokyo, mainly focusing on Harajuku. I love flicking through to look at all the different styles, from lolita to goth and punk! Their Instagram page (@fruitsmag) is also great for drawing inspiration.
Day 25 - Taiyaki
A quick one - I used Payne's Grey colour pencil for the lines rather than my usual ink, and quite like the effect over the watercolour wash. Taiyaki are Japanese fish shaped cakes, often filled will red bean paste - a popular street food!
Day 26 - Hanafuda Cards
Hanafuda are beautiful Japanese playing cards, used to play games like Koi-Koi. One of my favourite games on the Nintendo DS as a kid included this game, it's really fun to play! There's 4 cards for each month, and each month has a different flower/plant theme. For example, in my illustration above the left card is from September, Chrysanthemum with a Sake cup, the middle card is March, Cherry blossom, and the right card is August, Pampas grass, with the Moon in the sky.
Day 27 - Kei Car Campervan
I watched a great video by Tokyo Lens on YouTube this week, giving a tour of a tiny Japanese campervan! Kei cars are mini cars in Japan, which look much more economical (and easy to park) than the huge cars everyone seems to have here in the UK. The Kei Campervan looked very compact but so many clever little storage spaces, and a pop up top and awning! I'd love to take a road trip and travel around Japan in one of these. Check out the video, they're really cool!
Day 28 - Gyoza
Couldn't end the week without another food illustration! I used to live in Edinburgh and there was a Japanese restaurant I loved - the best part was the Vegetable Gyoza dumplings with the spicy soy sauce dip. Makes my mouth water just thinking about it, maybe I'll try and find a recipe and make some at home.
Hope you've enjoyed seeing this week's drawings & thanks so much for reading!
Have a great week ahead :)
Hello again! Just finished week 3 of my 100 Days Drawing Japan project! If you want to read a bit more about the project, check out my first blog post all about it.
It's been a hectic week (again) and the lovely June weather has meant I've not felt as motivated as the past couple of weeks. Nearly all of these were quite small, quick sketches but I quite like that. There's no pressure with the 100 days project to draw something huge and amazing each day, just to get into the habit of daily drawing. Anyway, here's this weeks illustrations...
Day 15 - Origami Cranes
I was going to leave these as simple line drawings, but they seemed like they were crying out for some bright patterned origami paper patterns! I had fun painting all the little details.
Day 16 - Veggie Sushi
I think sushi is the number one most obvious thing I could draw under the theme of Japan, but it's one of my fave things to draw! I'm a vegetarian and don't eat fish, so decided to adapt it with avocado, egg, grated carrot, bell pepper and cucumber filling in my maki roll - yum!
Day 17 - Tori Gate
I saw a stunning photo online of a tori gate in the sea, with mountains in the background and the reflection on the water, so tried to recreate it as a little watercolour postcard. I can't wait to visit Japan someday, and draw things like this from life!
Day 18 - Miso Udon Noodle Soup
If ever I'm stuck for an idea for my daily drawing, I usually end up going back to food. This noodle soup recipe with lots of spring onion and tofu looked so tasy!
Day 19 - Instant Ramen
This is the first drawing I've done for this project which was from life! I was eating some of these noodles whilst sketching the packet, just for a truly immersive experience, haha. I'm quite pleased with this one even though it's a bit wonky and messy, it feels full of life!
Day 20 - Japanese House
I'm always inspired by Japanese architecture, the tatami mats, sliding doors and intricate roof tiles were great to draw. I'm planning to drawing more buildings, like houses and shopfronts, for my future daily Japan sketches.
Day 21 - Shinkansen (Bullet Train)
This day was the closest I've got so far to missing a day of sketching, but I did a really quick scribble of a bullet train and added the ink washes the next day. Hope to ride on one of these super fast trains someday!
Looking back at these seven paintings together I think it was a nice selection this week! I hope in the coming week I have more time to draw some of the more detailed ideas I have in mind, but it's not looking likely, haha.
Have a great week ahead and thanks so much for reading!
Hello again! Here we are on week 2 of my 100 Days Drawing Japan project! If you want to read a bit more about the project, check out my first blog post all about it.
This week seemed to go really quickly, but I'm more used to the routine of doing one each day so it doesn't feel like a big task anymore. Also, you may notice the drawings being simpler and quicker, which I'm pleased about; looking back at Week 1's illustrations they were a lot of work! One of the main aims of this project for me is to loosen up and not overthink each sketch, and I definitely had a bit of a turning point this week...
Day 8 - Teruterubozu
I've been trying to research and find interesting things to draw, and I'm glad I stumbled across the folk tale about Teruterubozu. Apparently hanging one of these little ghost dolls in the window brings sunshine the next day; so they're commonly used in the rainy season in Japan. I decided to draw him against a raindrop covered window, with purple hydrangea bushes outside in the background.
Day 9 - Tea
I feel like I learnt a lot this week, by looking up the Japanese words and Kanji for the things I was drawing, to expand my vocab. The kanji character on the tin here means 'Tea' I believe, and it's pronounced 'cha' - as in mat-CHA, or sen-CHA. Discovering new links in language learning always fascinates me!
I also watched a great video about a Japanese tea ceremony and enjoyed looking at fancy tea sets, strainers and brushes. I love drawing tea pots and cups so really enjoyed this one!
Day 10 - Hanami Dango
Quite a simple sketch for this one! Dango is a sweet Japanese dumpling (similar to Mochi) usually served on a skewer. I'd seen pictures of these cute three-coloured dango, and discovered they are eaten in spring for the Hanami season. Hanami means flower viewing, when all the cherry blossoms are in bloom people have picnics under the trees. I'd love to see it myself someday!
Day 11 - Yakitori Stall
Yakitori is a popular street food in Japan, I think it consists of grilled meat on skewers sometimes with marinades. I found a really cool photo of a bustling food stall and just loved the atmosphere.
This sketch was a bit of a turning point into a more loose way of working for this project! I just felt like using some ink, but went full flow and didn't do any kind of pencil sketch first, just straight in with the ink. It's messy in places and the kanji characters on the lanterns almost certainly make no sense, but I like how loose and energetic this one turned out!
Day 12 - Mushrooms
This one was straight back to my comfort zone, as mushrooms are one of my favourite things to draw! After getting back into using ink I couldn't resist doodling some inky shrooms. I did research different types of edible Japanese mushrooms and they all look so tasty. As a veggie, when I do visit Japan one day I think I'll be eating a lot of these!
Day 13 - Mount Fuji
I have really tried to stay away from the really obvious drawings I could do for Japan, but couldn't resist sketching this sunrise - mountain - pagoda - cherry blossom scene. I worked on a watercolour postcard for this so it's the smallest drawing so far; I really liked the size limitation and think I'll definitely be doing more postcard ones.
Day 14 - Onigiri - Rice Balls
I really didn't feel like drawing at all on this day, but I still wanted to sketch something. It's become a good habit now, which is the intention of the project so I'm pleased I still picked up the brush! Just some simple onigiri rice balls, with umeboshi (pickled plum) and chopsticks. Monochrome inks with little pops of red watercolour seem to be the vibe of this week!
Hope you're enjoying seeing the drawings I've done each week, and as always any suggestions are always great to hear! Have a lovely week ahead :)
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!