Sunday, April 5, 2009

etegami penpals

This card was drawn by Chida Takako, one of my many etegami penpals. We have never actually met, but we exchange etegami about once a month. Takako has far more experience than I do, and is, in fact, a certified instructor of etegami. (I didn't even know there was such a thing!) So I study the cards I receive from her and try to learn as much from them as I can. My favorite etegami are the simple ones. This one is a simple drawing of a tangerine. You can see that she leaves blotches of uncolored space within the borders of the tangerine. I tend to lay the paint on the paper so that different shades and colors blend into one another, but she uses fewer shades and colors to begin with, and doesn't try to make them blend together. What I find most charming about this card is the way the letters are formed. I tend to space individual letters and strings of letters evenly, as though they were text on a printed page. I have to keep reminding myself that the words are part of the artwork. Takako's words are squished in places and elongated in others, and deformed to fit into the space beside the tangerine. They have a playful quality. The words say: "Never neglect curiosity," and refer to an etegami I had sent her, on which I did some experimenting (with mixed results).

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