Sunday, April 26, 2009

one part of the whole (crab claw)

One of my personal favorites among etegami I have received over the years is this one from Ogawa Yoko. The card she used is pinkish-brown rather than white. The subject is one crab claw reaching out from the bottom edge of the card. It stimulates the imagination in several ways. For one thing, you can almost feel the bumpy texture of the claw with your fingertips. And because only the claw is visible, while the main body of the crab is hidden from view, your mind is stimulated to imagine how the rest of the crab looks. Really interesting etegami seldom show the whole subject. Like this one of the crab claw, some part--or even most-- of the subject is left outside the "frame" of the card. I often do this myself by laying the card on a large sheet of cheap washi (the kind Japanese children use for writing brush practice). I start the drawing on the card, then spread outside the card onto the washi paper to complete the picture. This way, the part of the drawing that is on the card is more believable as a segment of the whole, and the imagination is stimulated to "see" beyond the frame of the card. Yoko accompanied her drawing with the words: " let's sit and talk a while." The words make you imagine that the claw is beckoning invitingly.


  1. Just lovely! I will be following along to learn more about this Japanese art form.

    Thanks for sharing it with us.

    Beautiful card, i think crab is a delight to the senses, i am still facinated by them. When we head to the ocean i always become the "offical crab catcher" for the kids on the beach. Are you looking for any other specific items ?? I can get photos of whats indigious here

  3. Red, Thanks for the offer, but I try, as much as possible, to draw from close-up observation of the actual subject, things that are part of my daily life and living environment. Why don't YOU draw etegami of your local crabs? I'd love to see them. Really!

  4. This card is enticing! Thanks for sharing...