Friday, April 3, 2009

the reason for this blog: an introduction

I am a big fan of the Japanese folk art called etegami. I love creating my own etegami, and I enjoy looking at etegami made by other people.

Etegami (e="picture" tegami="letter") are simple drawings accompanied by a few apt words, done on a soft absorbent postcards. They are meant to be mailed off to one's friends, not hoarded. They often depict some ordinary item from everyday life. Seasonal flowers, vegetables, and fruit are popular themes.

There are very few rules on how to draw etegami. The usual tools include two brush pens (one for the black outline, one for the colored paints), small bricks of etegami paints called gansai, and sumi (india ink), but, if that is not possible, you can use whatever is available to you-- even crayons. The postcards used for etegami are usually of the washi variety, soft and absorbent (often handmade), so that the ink soaks in and spreads to a certain degree. The brief message accompanying the drawing can be as simple as "Hi, I miss you." Or it can be a quote from something like a proverb or song.

My intention is to use this blog to record my own work, and to post explanatory notes and informative links, in the hope that it will draw you, the reader, into the intriguing world of etegami art.


  1. Hi, Deb! It's so nice to see you here! Now i have you and Kim, i'm glad! I have loved your art work. Kudos to you for making your own website and for sharing your talent. Pam has been interested w/ your etagami album in the other site now i can show her this.

  2. I have one here that you sent and i love it. it is safe and secure in his baby book :) Thank you!

  3. i am thrilled!

    is it a good idea to draw etegami with watercolours on watercolour paper? or is it better to use coloured inks?

  4. @Maria, that is a difficult question. Traditional etegami is done on washi postcards with mineral-based water-soluble paint blocks. But you can use any paper and any paint or inks.

    The main thing to remember is (1) there must be both image and words; and (2) it should be mailable.