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 :)