Friday, September 30, 2011

illustration friday (hibernate)

Above: Hibernating Dormouse. (Isn't he a cutie?) The quote is from the last stanza of Winter Sleep, a poem by Elinor Wylie (1885 -1928). To the left: Hibernating bats in a cave.

Monday, September 26, 2011


My mind is currently full of dragons; The reason being that I start thinking of designs for my etegami nengajou (Japanese New Year cards) around this time of year, and 2012 happens to be The Year of the Dragon.

Here are a couple that I just finished. The first was inspired by The Tale of Custard the Dragon, a sweet and funny poem by Ogden Nash, which is too long to post here. The second was inspired by The Dragon of Grindly Grun, a funny poem by Shel Silverstein, which (in a strange way) appeals to my passion for cooking. It's short enough to quote in full, so here it is:

The Dragon of Grindly Grun

I'm the Dragon of Grindly Grun,
I breathe fire as hot as the sun.
When a knight comes to fight
I just toast him on sight,
Like a hot crispy cinnamon bun.

When I see a fair damsel go by,
I just sigh a fiery sigh,
And she'd baked like a 'tater-
I think of her later
With a romantic tear in my eye.

I'm the Dragon of Grindly Grun,
But my lunches aren't very much fun,
For I like my damsels medium rare,
and they always come out well done.

by Shel Silverstein (1930-1999)

Saturday, September 24, 2011

more cats

Lately I've noticed that I am surrounded by people who are passionate about cats. I had to muffle my own childhood affection for cats for the sake of my husband and kids, all of whom have serious asthma and cat allergies.

But under the influence of the aforementioned cat fanatics, my old affections are stirring again. Well, I don't think etegami ever gave anyone an asthma attack, so these days I'm expressing that affection more and more in cat paintings. The last two are the latest additions to my Eliot's Cats series which gets its inspiration from Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats by T.S.Eliot, the basis for the musical CATS.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

halloween daruma

I don't remember the exact location, but there used to be an outdoor daruma doll market, right next to a temple honoring the Bodhidarma, founder of Zen Buddhism. Maybe it's still there. I often passed by it when I rode my bicycle on many a Saturday, during my high school years at a certain international school in Tokyo. My solitary Saturday bike rides were a precious escape from the dormitory, from high school social life, and from group-life and group-think in general.

I would pack myself a lunch and swing my leg over the saddle, give the handle bars an encouraging pat, and off we galloped (my bike and I) into the urban wilderness. I loved to get utterly lost in the maze-like sprawl of greater Tokyo, and then find my way home again before it got dark. Only, no matter how lost I thought I was, I always ended up in the vicinity of this daruma market. It became my habit to stop off there to eat my lunch and take pleasure in the piles of bright, orangey-red paper-mache dolls.

Anyway, that's part of the reason I have a soft spot for daruma dolls. I really like the daruma etegami I made for my EarthQuake Series, so I decided to do another series featuring daruma. I think I'll call this one my Holiday Daruma Series. Probably most of them will be tongue-in-cheek. We'll see.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

illustration friday (mesmerizing)

I like to cut vegetables and fruits crosswise to see the fascinating shapes and patterns hidden inside. Cabbage and other densely packed leafy veggies reveal mesmerizing mazes. I often imagine myself as a tiny creature lost inside such mazes.

Monday, September 12, 2011

illustration friday (boundaries)

Mending Wall has always been one of my favorite poems by Robert Frost, not only for the debate it provokes within me about walls and boundaries, but also for the humor in it.

Whenever I read the part about apple trees and pine cones, I picture a pine cone version of a horror movie in which apples go after the pine cones with a crazy hunger in their eyes and sharp, flashing teeth.

For this week's Illustration Friday, I only had time to throw together a collage using bits and pieces of etegami I've painted in the past. Mending Wall has so many other delicious lines that I'd like to use in etegami some day. Here are some more that I'm just itching to quote:

Before I built a wall I'd ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offence.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

more illustrated recipes for kids (#3)

This is my third and last submission to TDAC's Cooking 4 Kids contest. The color is more somber than my other illustrated recipes, but the fact is, I feel very passionate about lotus root. The flavor, texture, and versatility of this vegetable is enough to make it a star in my cookbook, but it's the shape that really enchants me. The cool shape adds fun and excitement to any dish you use it in. And-- assuming you have a choice-- fun food beats boring food every time.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

sketchbook project 2012 (fourth tale)

My last Ainu folk tale The Swamp Mussel's Song, the front & back covers, and misc. pages. It's all done and ready to mail. You can click through the whole thing on my Art House Co-op profile page.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

more illustrated recipes for kids (#2)

It's been so long since my kids were little (and even longer since I was a kid), that it wasn't easy to remember what amuses a child's mind and tickles his taste buds, but I thiiiiink this recipe and illo get pretty close. This is my second submission to TDAC's Cooking 4 Kids contest. If you haven't seen my earlier submission, it's here.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

more peachy links

Jo Ebisujima's website A Bit of This and a Bit of That is celebrating a New Skills Festival, in which a different art/craft will be introduced each day during the month of September. Check out my guest post about Etegami.

Chandler A to Z is a blog of fascinating photos, but what makes it fun to return to again and again is Therese's special way of getting people to interact with her photos. It works with me. : )

Thanks to They Draw and Cook, my illustrated recipes can now be purchased as gallery-wrapped canvas wall art from Great Big Canvas. In fact, so can my illustrated maps!

illustrated recipes for kids

Here is my latest illustrated recipe. I painted it for TDAC's Cooking 4 Kids contest. It's a simplified version of the Sushi Jewels on my cooking blog Itadakimasu!