Hello! I've been working on a 100 day project to draw something related to Japan every day, see my first blog post to read more about the project.
Last week I got to 49 drawings, and when I hit 50 I decided to pause the project for a while. I've enjoyed it so much so far, but I have a lot of other projects and commissions on the go so I didn't want to end up rushing my Japan drawing each day. I'm so pleased I got 50 drawings completed, and aim to return to this project later in the year if possible.
I'm working on a lot of other exciting things right now - sign up to my newsletter if you'd like to receive email updates about my illustration work.
Day 50 - Another Lucky Cat!
Thanks so much for reading these blog posts, I'm looking forward to returning to the other half of this project in future. In the meantime, there's 7 weeks of posts for you to catch up on!
Have a great day!
Hello! This is week 7 of my 100 days Drawing Japan project, halfway through! If you want to read a bit more about the project, check out my first blog post all about it.
Last week I was feeling great about this project, I'd really got into the flow of drawing everyday and it had become a natural part of my routine. However, it went down the drain a bit this week to be honest, as I was super busy with other projects and ended up missing quite a few. I've caught up today though and it feels great to be back on top of it! Here's the drawings I did this week:
Day 43 - Capsule Machine
Japanese capsule-toy machines, also known as Gachapon, are like mini mystery vending machines. You don't see them often here in the UK, and they're just for kids toys, whereas in Japan they're more popular, containing higher quality collectable figures etc. I'd love to visit a Japanese arcade one day, to see all the different machines lined up and all the fun things you can win!
Day 44 - Tamagotchi
I still have all the Tamagotchis I had as a kid, they were my fave toys. This was my beloved version 4, I must have spent hours playing with my little virtual pet on this tiny screen. Probably one of the earliest things that got me interested in Japanese culture, although I didn't know it at the time.
Day 45 - Uchiwa fan
Uchiwa fans are traditional Japanese flat fans that don't fold up, and can be decorated with beautiful ornate designs. I experimented a little with this illustration, using just gouache and colour pencil - it was hard not to outline the edges of the fans! I like how the one on the left came out, just a simple painted bamboo design.
Day 46 - Wasabi
Wasabi is the spicy green paste that you often have with sushi, but apparently it's much different in Japan to the west. Real Japanese wasabi is made from a plant stem, which is ground into powder, whereas outside Japan it's just an alternative made from horseradish, with green food colouring. The random things I've ended up reading about online thanks to this project!
Day 47 & 48 - Babahera Ice Cream
I was watching a vlog on YouTube by Sharla in Japan, visiting Akita for the day. Apparently they're famous for little ice cream stands called 'Babahera Ice' - 'Baba' meaning 'Grandmother' as they're mainly run by elderly ladies. They make the ice creams into the shape of a rose on the cone, by using a flat utensil to layer the ice cream. This one I've illustrated is strawberry and banana flavour! I originally just painted the ice cream but I'm so glad I also did the little stall with the umbrella and signs - I think it's been the most fun drawing to do so far!
Day 49 - Geisha & Parasol
I just can't stop drawing Geisha! I use Pinterest for a lot of my reference photos and every time I look on there I spot more lovely Geisha photos. I've been meaning to draw a Japanese parasol for one of my 100 days so this was a nice combo.
Halfway through the 100 day project already, it's going pretty fast!
Thanks for reading & looking at this week's drawings - have a great week :)
Hello! I'm on week 6 of my 100 days Drawing Japan project, getting close to the halfway mark now! If you want to read a bit more about the project, check out my first blog post all about it.
I think 100 days is just over 14 weeks in total, still a fair way to go but I've still got lots of ideas left on my list. Thanks to everyone that has messaged me with your ideas too, it's great to have extra prompts to work from. Here's the drawings I did this week...
Day 36 - Strawberry Sandwich (Ichigo Sando)
I've seen lots of photos of Japanese Fruit Sando (Sandwiches) and although they seem like a bizarre combination, I bet they're quite tasty. That really white, super soft bread seems more like cake to me! I just love the look of them, how the strawberries are perfectly cut and arranged.
Day 37 - Kyudo (Japanese Archery)
A friend gave me this prompt after she saw a demonstration of Japanese Archery (Kyudo) at a festival; I researched a bit more and it looks like a really interesting martial art! The bows used for Kyudo are so big, taller than the archer, so it was hard to fit it on a page! I decided to scan and edit this one so I could balance the composition, and fix a couple of mistakes. I also added a few Japanese words for the equipment used too (I can't seem to help adding text to my illustrations these days!)
Day 38 - Maneki Neko (Lucky Cat)
A classic symbol of Japanese culture, the lucky cat, also one of the most requested for this challenge when I asked for ideas over on Instagram. I decided to do a black lucky cat with gold highlights and green eyes - but I think I might also do a white or gold lucky cat on another day. I really like how this one came out; I used gouache and tried to make it look 3D but not too smooth and polished, I like the blocky paint texture.
Day 39 - Japanese Meal
I had a day out to York during the week, and one of the places I visited was Ippuku Tea House in the city centre. It's a Japanese cafe and Izakaya bar, serving food as well as sweets & desserts and of course a variety of green tea! My friend and I shared some vegetable gyoza (dumplings) and onigiri rice balls with umeboshi (pickled plum) filling. She also had miso soup whilst I polished off the pickled cucumber! It was so good I had to sketch it when I got home.
Day 40 - Vegan Sushi
After the delicious food the previous day, I got out my copy of 'Vegan Japaneasy', a brilliant recipe book by Tim Anderson, to see if I could re-create the lovely rice balls we had. They didn't turn out amazingly, but ok for a first try! I ended up painting some of the more fancy sushi ideas from the book, using nori seaweed and rice as well as other vegan ingredients like tofu, peppers, avocado, spring onions and grated carrot. One recipe used corn flakes around the dragon roll to add a crunchy texture! I challenged myself to do these illustrations fully using gouache, no pen, ink or pencil allowed.
Day 41 - Matcha Cheesecake
This ended up being a very food-filled week for my Japan drawings! I saw a photo of a delicious looking slice of matcha cheesecake and thought it might be interesting to illustrate as it's such a simple shape. Trying to push myself out of my usual comfort zone with drawing, no ink pen lines here! I created the dusting of tea powder on the top just using a paintbrush and flicking it onto the page, after I'd covered up the rest with paper towels.
Day 42 - Ukiyo-e
I also went to an amazing exhibition at York Art Gallery this week, called 'Pictures of the Floating World: Japanese Ukiyo-e Prints', showing Japanese woodblock prints from the 17th-19th centuries. It was so interesting to read about this period in Japan, influences on the artwork and see these incredibly detailed works. I was in complete awe of the linework and style of these prints; when I draw my favourite part is inking the lines - but imagine having to carve them all by hand! I couldn't resist buying a set of postcards from the gallery gift shop, and having a go at re-drawing one in my own style. Looking at something closely to interpret it into a drawing always makes me observe things in greater detail, so I really enjoyed doing this one.
As always thanks for reading and looking at my blog posts, and I'll be back next week with another set of Japan-themed drawings! Have a great week :)
Hello again! I've just finished Week 5 of my 100 Days Drawing Japan project, that's 35 drawings down and 65 to go! If you want to read a bit more about the project, check out my first blog post all about it.
This week has been quite steady - I think the further into the 100 days I get the more I'm enjoying it, which I didn't anticipate, I thought I'd be running out of steam! Seeing daily drawing a good habit rather than a challenge makes it more relaxing for me.
I got a bit more adventurous with materials this week too, experimenting with gouache paints and creating more texture using colour pencils. Here's all the drawings I did this week...
Day 29 - Coolish
I can't decide if this Japanese brand of ice cream in a pouch looks delicious or awful! I always have warm hands so it'd just instantly melt if I ever tried any. It's thanks to the Abroad in Japan podcast that I even know this exists - definitely recommend a listen if you're interested in all things Japan!
Day 30 - Famicom
Every once in a while I decide to get my gouache paints out instead of watercolours, and remember how much harder I find gouache to use! Mixing the colours more meticulously, and having to add more and more white paint to lighten colours rather than just watering them down as I do with watercolour is time-consuming for me, but I actually like how this came out.
I asked my partner for an idea of something Japanese to draw and, of course, he went straight to retro Nintendo consoles. Maybe I'll draw / paint more as the 100 days continue!
Day 31 - Toro (Stone Lantern)
Another gouache experiment! It's a completely different process to watercolour, it's more traditional layered painting and I have to think harder about it - I'm a little out of practise with gouache.
Toro are Japanese stone lanterns, there's so many shapes and sizes. I liked seeing photos of ones overrun with moss and leaves - plants are always fun to paint.
Day 32 - Kitsune Statue
A very mixed media drawing for me - I used ink, gouache and colour pencils for this. I struggled with this one, kept really not liking it and adding more layers, but looking back it was a good experiment. I stumbled upon adding a nice worn texture by lightly shading pencil over the gouache, and the texture of the watercolour paper showed through like a bark rubbing. Still picking up new techniques to use in future!
The reference photo for this was a stone statue of a Fox (Kitsune) at Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto. One of many places in Japan I hope to visit someday!
Day 33 & 34 - Geisha
I think these were some of my favourite drawings to do so far, using really loose ink lines and lots of bright colours. I absolutely love drawing clothing and fabric, capturing all the folds and creases, how the fabric hangs and the way patterns warp and curve. Maybe I should be do more fashion illustration!
I missed a day so caught up by doing two - which I quite enjoy as it's nice to do a mini series of two illustrations on the same subject. I'll definitely be drawing more traditional Japanese clothing as the project goes on.
Day 35 - Koinobori (Carp Streamer)
These cute fish windsocks are decorations to celebrate Children's Day, a national holiday in Japan that takes place on on May 5th. There's so many colours and patterns, I couldn't resist a quick sketch of them.
Hope you have a great week ahead, and thanks so much for reading these weekly posts! :)