Friday, August 6, 2010
illustration friday (caged)
Since ancient times, it has been the custom in Japan to seek respite from the heat of late summer and early fall by listening to the tinkling song of Suzumushi (Homoeogryllus japonicus), or Bell Crickets. I don't know how many people in the 21st century still enjoy this practice, but I fairly soaked myself in the silvery sounds one summer when my son and I raised bell crickets from eggs as a science experiment. Traditionally these creatures are kept in bamboo cages, though nowadays plastic cases are more common. It's like having a music box in your house that can't be turned off.
The accompanying words are a Japanese saying that translates roughly to: "the suzumushi is kept in a cage because of its song." The idea it conveys is this: One's own talents are sometimes the cause of one's misery. Kind of sad, isn't it.
As I was in an experimental mood, I drew this etegami with a Pelikan-brand fountain pen filled with blue-black ink. I waited for the ink to dry completely before adding the gansai paint, but (as I feared it would) the fountain pen ink smeared as soon as it got wet. That's okay, though. Like I'm always saying, the best etegami is that which you don't have complete control over.