Friday, February 28, 2014

illustrated recipe contest

They Draw and Cook has announced a new illustrated recipe contest that is actually open to worldwide submissions, and not just the US (believe me, this is rare). Who wants to take up the challenge?

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

a beginner's guide to etegami

Hooray!! My step-by-step guide to making etegami is finally published. As far as I know, it is the first book of its kind in English. Click here to see sample pages. Both print version and ebook version (for iPad and iPhone) can be ordered through my bookstore on the Blurb website.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

a minibook of fruits and vegetables

This is a very simple way to make an 8-page minibook. Any size of paper will do as long as you can divide it into eight equal-sized blocks. Note that pages 1-4 are the reverse of pages 5-8 (the top of each section meets at the center line), and that pages 7 and 8 will be your book covers. Fold on the broken lines, and cut on the solid line, which extends for only the connecting line between the four middle blocks.

I made my etegami minibook by taping the etegami cards together to form eight equal-sized blocks, leaving the connecting line between the four middle blocks un-taped to make the equivalent of the book pattern shown.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

my first ebook!

BIG NEWS! This book is now available via Blurb as an ebook (only $7.99) for the iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch. To view sample pages and read the details of how to order and download a copy, click this link.

Print copies are still available through my Etsy shop.  

Saturday, February 15, 2014

art from the refrigerator

The sun came out a few times last week and really lifted my spirits. I started painting a yuzu fruit and imagined that the sun would taste like this (tart and bitter at the same time), but I added too much orange color for it to be a yuzu. Maybe it wanted to be a mikan. In any case, I felt like breaking the etegami standard of outlining the whole image in sumi ink. I wanted the fruit to have the feel of sunshine-- just glowing and spreading and infecting its surroundings with warmth.

Then today, as I was eating my daily apple and thinking about Snow White and about curses and temptations, I stumbled across this quote from a memo by Emily Dickinson.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

the barnyard

Looking back, I think I started a barnyard series without realizing it. Many more of my etegami besides the ones posted here were inspired by farm animals. There's something comforting about these creatures. I don't know why that would be. I wasn't raised on a farm. But I think I would have liked it.

During my high school years, I worked as a volunteer for two weeks out of each summer on small dairy farms in southern Hokkaido. Unskilled, and stupid-but-eager, high school students like myself volunteered their labor to help struggling farmers start from scratch, beginning with the burning off of stubborn and ungrazeable bamboo grass to make way for grass and hay.

When the time came to harvest the hay, we did everything by hand and horse-drawn truck bed. None of the young farmers could afford machinery back then. And the wilderness they were converting to pasture land was all hills, steep enough that machines couldn't have climbed the slopes anyway. The main industry in the area was fisheries, and the coastal hills had never been cultivated.

Hokkaido is famous for the wide open plains that farmers in Japan's main islands drool over, and it didn't make sense for this first wave of graduates from the Dairy College near Sapporo to choose this impossibly hilly part of the prefecture for establishing a foothold. Well, they had their reasons, which I won't go into here. And they were reasons that I believed in, which was why I was there.

The etegami are displayed in my most recent hand-painted frames. The etegami are also for sale.

Friday, February 7, 2014

hand-painted frame #3

My most recent painted frame is a very small, hinged frame. You can see by comparing it to the 4 x 6 inch card I cut out of a box top, that whole frame is the same size as a postcard. I had to cut one of my etegami into fourths to have something to display in it. Didn't feel there was enough space left for adding words, but on reflection, I could have fit in just one Chinese character. Maybe I still will.

I plan to paint three more of these mini-frames, making each as different from the others as I can. But I desperately need a smaller brush before I tackle the next one.