Tag Archives: Ukiyo-e

Bokashi!

26 Nov

Hiroshige 1

Husb and I spent a few days away in Northern Italy, exploring museums and galleries on a guided tour arranged by New Scientist magazine. We took in a fabulous exhibition, “Beyond The Wave”, of Japanese Ukiyo e printmakers, Hokusai and Hiroshige in Bologna. I was fascinated by their process. To my surprise, the artists themselves didn’t do any printmaking, but just provided the initial simple ink line drawing (which didn’t survive the process). The drawing was transferred to a number of blocks, up to fifteen depending on the amount of colours, and cut by a carver. Finally the blocks were handed over to a printmaker to produce the fabulous full-colour images that we’re used to seeing today. This process reminds me of that used in the production of modern comics, with the artist producing pencil drawings, handing them over to an inker and then to a letterer. Coincidentally, Hokusai and Hiroshige are a great influence on Japanese Manga and Anime.

In my small sketchbook, I made some little studies of the beautiful simple compositions of some of the prints. Most had very sparse detail and the artist’s original line drawings are usually quite basic. The richness of pattern and colour are down to the skills of the printmaker who often used a blending technique called Bokashi which gives beautifully graduated colours. Ukiyo e prints became very fashionable through Japonism and had an enormous influence on later 19th century and 20th century European art and artists including the Impressionists and post-Impressionists and individual artists including Cassatt, Degas, Toulouse-Lautrec and van Gogh.

Bits Of Backs

6 Jan

liberal club 2

Husb and I went to a fab arty party last night, several artists shared a birthday and organised an evening of performance and goings on. It was lovely. Of course, I had to have a scribble, but I could only see people’s backs, but that’s ok. It’s all good practice.

And there’s some interesting things going on, wild hair, wacky tattoos and eyecatching boots. I scribbled into my tiny little Paper Blanks Ukiyo-e Kimono sketchbook with a biro (ballpoint) pen.

A Little Bit Of Kimono

5 Jan

Ynyshir 040118 b

Here are a couple more heads I scribbled last night at the WAM (Words Art Music) monthly event at the excellent Workers Gallery in Ynyshir. I did my usual thing of being an art voyeur, scribbling people’s likenesses when they were absorbed in what was going on.

sketchbook

I am very fond of this tiny sketchbook, you can get an idea of its size from the pepper next to it. It’s by Paper Blanks, hardback with a fabric cover which is based on a Japanese Ukiyo-e kimono pattern and the whole thing is so beautifully made, with acid-free paper and a precisely folded paper pocket on the inside back cover. Ukiyo-e is a genre of woodblock prints dating back to the 1600s (the Edo period) and the word means “pictures of the floating world“.

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