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Japan Book Club: The Old Man Mad About Drawing – Part 3

October 12, 2011

The author of The Old Man Mad About Drawing is a French illustrator named Francois Place.  I think it’s kind of fitting that a book about one of the most famous book illustrators in the world, Hokusai, is written by another illustrator.

If you pay close attention to the illustrations, you can see that in a lot of ways Place is trying to copy Hokusai’s artistic style.  We’re going to spend a lot of time in the next few weeks talking about Japanese art, so now I’d like you to take a little bit of time to try and draw in the Japanese style.

Of course, some of you are probably fantastic artists, and some of you are probably mediocre, and (let’s be honest) there’s probably a few of you who are just plain terrible at drawing.  We don’t care.  We didn’t say create a work of art that’s worthy of a spot in a museum – said we’d like you to TRY to draw in the Japanese style.  You’re going to become the Young Man (or Woman) Mad About Drawing!!!

Pick a section of the book and copy (let’s not trace) the illustration either Hokusai or Place did.  If you want to challenge yourself, change the piece a little – see if you can include some of yourself in the scene, or maybe some of your friends that are in TAP, or maybe even the TAP teachers.  (Seriously, look at page 51 and tell me it wouldn’t be awesome to replace the two sumo wrestlers with Mr. Curtis and Mr. Doerr about to do fat dude battle).  In your drawing try to use Japanese style and incorporate some of the Japanese culture that we’ve learned about (sumo, torii gates, shrines, style of dress, kabuki makeup….).  The point isn’t to create great drawings (although some of you will), but to force you to focus on the details of Japanese art and culture.

When you’re done with your drawing, scan it or take a picture of it and send it to TAP’s email –  We will take each of your drawings and post them here on the website so that other people can comment on them.  We’ll all be nice in our comments, so just try to do your best.  

Every student in our Japan group is required to participate.  You must submit your drawing, then come back and comment on what other people have created – you are required to make an effort to keep the conversation going by replying to at least 2 other students (more than just “I agree” or “you are right.” Give them reasons why you agree/disagree or what they said that was meaningful – make this a discussion). 

Next, we’ll be reading Bushido: The Soul of Japan a story about the samurai by Inazo Nitobe – you can look for a copy if you want, but I will be sending everyone a free ebook copy of Bushido when we get to it.    We’ll start that in about two-three weeks.  

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