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Monday, January 30, 2012

Home, Sweet Home (Sketching Architecture)

Well, as I promised you, I'm challenging architecture in 2012.
Let's explore
old houses in Parramatta. Parramatta has an old history in both Indigenous Australians and colonialism. Parramatta originally comes from the Aboriginal word Baramada or Burramatta, "the place where the eels lie down" or "head of waters." The Burramatta people (Burra meaning place, matta meaning eels) belonged to the Dharug people. So, Parra has so many historical and old architectures.

Let's sketch "ordinary" people's houses.
Below. A lusted roof is so eye catchy. Too beautiful to miss it. The contrast between green and white is lovely. Technically, making rust on paper was really fun.

Below, the decorated roof is very interesting. Who started decoration? Rich guys? It stimulates imagination.
The green roof and red bricks make a
very charming colour harmony.
Very the essential part of a house...
Ohhh, loo, my sweet loo... Today, this toilet is used for a storage. Hey, it has a great, great character.
Finally, a cemetery, another essential place for a society.
St Patrick's Cemetery. Tomb stones tell the history from about 1820s. Oh...under a shower of cicadas signings, tombs talk to a passenger silently. Quiet.
Actually, light rain drops gave the sketch a lovely spitting technique.

Did you enjoy my archtecture sketches?
I seem to get tips to handle buildings.
I do not play with colours like my portraits (below at a cafe). But celebrate small achievements.
Step by step, one goes far!
I'll have a hand surgery this Tuesday.
Please understand my absence for a while till recovery.
Thank you for great cheers.

You, too, take care.
Friends, Happy Painting!!


Monday, January 23, 2012

Artist's Dilemma Between Self-Growth & Business

Hi, Friends, how are you? In Australia, summer. Cicadas make a shower of sounds and conduct a symphony.

By the way, cicada shells reminds me of an artist's dilemma
in art market. Conflicts between Artists, Consumers and Art Dealers(=eg, Publisher, Gallery) in a benefits orientated business. Because artists are changing styles like cicadas leave shells, sometimes not easy to respond to a customer's order and meet public expectation. Changing styles is equivalent to an artist's growing process. 
So, appreciation of art work can be "looking at old work," or shells left on the earth. As far as I know, all illustrators change styles and want to challenge something new. Artist is not a one-trick pony.

But ironically, once, an aritst makes a very big hit, market demands
same products. In order to pay bills, an artist does reproduce it. In my eyes, sometimes, the more artist becomes famous, the more a tragedy becomes serious. 

After knowing famous artists' pains, I've become sensitive for chats. A commercial success does not always promise an artist happiness in a creative journey.
One artist said, "Being famous is...empty. Empty..."
Yes, a shell is empty...not alive...
I thank for my being nameless in market.

Also, many artists have varied styles together.
Several years ago, I sought a very successful illustrator's advice on what sorts of styles to keep. The illustrator said, "I used many different styles to pay bills. But keep the most comfortable one. Stick with it." I see...
Again, the answer taught me how important to be
faithful to what I am.

Anyway, c
icadas sing as much as they can in a short life after years under a ground. Like cicadas, most of us do not come up on a central stage. Often art income is not either enough or stable. My dear friend and artist affirms, "Yeah, our artist life is not long!" in a merrily and positive way.

Yet, cicadas sing loud with all their lives.
Yey! Go, go, cicadas. Live short lives fully.
Friends, happy painting!!(*I watercolour painted the below really looking upward a summer sky.)


Monday, January 16, 2012

Are You/Am I an Artist?--How to Find Answer For Your Own

We encounter this objective and subjective Q, "Are you/Am I an artist?" in life. Some seek an answer in techniques, others in a financial income, others in fame etc. My approach is different from above. Yet, my answer is yes.
I'd share the experiences and thoughts.

Stormy sea
A German poet, Rilke's "Letters to a Young Poet," has answered me. I've been reading this book since a teenage. A very short book. Rilke's 10 letters to a poet wannabe, Kappus. Full of beautiful sentences, deep thoughts and spot on.

A wondering sheep, Kappus asks Rilke, newspaper editors and so ons, if his work is good, comparing with others. Well, we tend to do the same, too much worried about others comments on our job and skeptical about our talent or ability.
Deep thoughts in sunshine at Narrabeen beach

Rilke's caring and sensitive answer is below,
"Now(as you have permitted me to do advise you) I beg you to give all that up. You're looking outwards.... Nobody can advice and help you, nobody. There's one single means. Go inside yourself. Discover the motive that bids you write: examine it sends its roots down to the deepest place of your heart, confess to yourself whether you would have to die if writing were denied you."

...a teenage Sadami gave up writing, but drawing!

Rilke goes on.

"Ask yourself in the quietest hour of your night : must I write? Dig down into yourself for a deep answer. If this should be in the affirmative, if you may meet this question with a strong and simple, "I must," then, build your life according to this necessity...."

I was convinced that I'm an artist = drawer, painter, even though it took ages to feel the "strong short yes."
You see,
Friends, technical, financial, social status etc are not a matter at all.

Furthermore, Rilke suggests Kappus what subjects should be for poems. I admire Rilke's attitude.
"Draw near to Nature. Try as if you were one of the first men, to day what you see and experience and love and lose."(*Friends, I always try to see the world like a new born baby.) Also, our "daily life" is rich inspiration resources. Rilke says. "If your everyday life seems poor to you, do not accuse it; accuse yourself, tell yourself you're not poet enough to summon up its riches ; since the creator there is no poverty and no poor or unimportant place."

Yes, so true.

I sketch our everyday life and feel the beauty all the time. As if I were finding gold out of mud. But in fact, all is gold, not a single junk exists in our life -- it's all up to an artist's eyes.(Hope my poor English makes sense!)
Critics may say, "Sadami, Rilke's thoughts are much like vocation or too abstract." Of course, you can find other ways. But for me, Rilke has shown really the 'concrete' methods to know "who/what I am." It has enlightened me. Today, I'm the artist.Friends, let us listen to our hearts, trust in ourselves and go on.
The answer is in ourselves. That awaits our awareness.

And the answer is so special. Precious and very private.
There's no need to disclose it to others.

Happy Painting!!

"Selected Letters 1902-1926, Rainer Maria Rilke" (1988)
Quartet Books Ltd, London, pp409-410.


Monday, January 9, 2012

Children Picture Book Illustration Process

This week, I'll chat over children picture book illustration process. Sadly, our job is often underestimated and not appreciated properly. Last year, a man boasting "studied design" said to me with contempt, "Children picture book illustration? They draw a big head child(*=distorted composition). Easy piecy," was all his knowledge about our job. I doubted what he had studied.
Picture book illustration is very time consuming. Usually, 32 pages for a trade picture book. Often 1 year contract. But no surprise, a few years take to finish up one project.

1) text analysis,
What's the theme? Who is the target audience?
Brain storm, rough idea for page divide.
2) character design
Drawing, drawing, drawing! Know characters. From this stage, Illustrator develops a text further than the original.
3) Story Board & Dummy Book 
Story board = thumb nailed pages like film cells.
Dummy = miniature of a picture book.
Lots of experiments. So many drawings. Takes a lot of time. Check the dummy repeatedly to see information flow. Pace and space are important. Decide a text's position.
Make "several" dummies. Often Illustrator makes 5-6 dummies. Please figure out 6 by 32. How many pages?
4) Colour
Put colour.
Check the dummy. Lots of experiments.In the process, use all what we have---such as emotions, sensations, memories, research data etc, etc, to depict a given text. Editor helps Illustrator and Publisher gives feedback. Then, Illustrator gets back on the project. Repeat 1) to 4) again and again.

So, Illustrator job classified ad should go like this way;

"Want Children Picture Book Illustrator.
: Feel
reality & fantasy in physical world & inner world.Skills : Draw everything, anything visible and invisible.
Fast job, preferable ( = keep deadline)."

Now, you get why I always keep sketching anything. Last Thursday, I sketched a watchrepair while he was repairing my watch band. Done in really several minutes. These daily sketches become important references.
Seeing is believing.
This Victoria State Library website shows the foremost Australian illustrators working processes.
Ann Spudvilas's video shows the process mentioned above in 3 minutes. I really admire other illustrators. My wonderful mentor Ann James is mothering Australian illustrators. Shaun Tan won an academy award last year.
Unfortunately, it seems Australian picture book illustrators are not internationally known. The American market is the place for a big commercial success. But I love Australia.

tons of unpublished drawings are behind 32 pages. If you come across a picture book illustrator down-&-out from job, please cheer her/him up.
Now, I'm ready for a hand surgery.

Happy painting!!


Sunday, January 1, 2012

Everyday Is Bonus! Let's Challenge Everything!

Happy New Year~~~!!! Everyday is a NEW day. But often we are blind and deaf to appreciate it.I met an old lady at hospital. Once, doctors told her, "Only 2 years are left for you..." Yes, literally, a death sentence. BUT that lady, with a big smile, said, "I've kept on living more than 20(30?) yrs after that! So, ever since, everyday is a bonus and I thank for each day." OOOOhhhh! Touching! I held her hand with thanks. The story encourages me to live life fully with thanks. Don't waste your time! Sadami, challenge it!
Last year, I challenged sketching a sea. Today, I love it. An ocean is full
of energy and life. Waves' sounds and scents...and wash away dust from a heart. Often silently people just wantching waves...
I sketched above after 1km swimming (A4). Do you kne? A sea changes colours and waves. It depends on time and a weather. Very fascinating. The technical problem is "humidity." Paints slowly get dry. Be careful about wash.I sketched the boy below after finishing the rough sea above. Although very exhausted, I thought, "If I miss this, when will I encounter it again? Go, challenge it!"
Their family cheered up this little boy, "You're a legend!" "Good job!" They happily let me sketch him. The boy came to me and exclaimed, "It's me!!" Ahahaha, the wonderful feedback! That's the beauty of spot-on sketching, sharing joy and life!

Regarding resolutions, I'll challenge still life and architecture, particularly, flowers and buildings. These golden flowers picked up on the way back from the beach. Yet rough, this work might enable me to get a breakthrough how to handle flowers in a loose style. Friends, I thank for our precious encounters on the earth. Let us enjoy challenging and share joy at each moment of 2012.
I'll have a hand surgery on 31st Jan. I'm computing posts and leaving comments on your blogs after getting the doctor's permission.Happy painting!! Have wonderful days! Yey!!!