Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Sketching Adventures in Japan...part 3

 June 25, 2016...

This must be the place...

 The Suidobata Fine Arts Academy.

The picture of me on the poster (above) was taken by Adrienne-Brown Norman (married to Floyd Norman). We were both working at Walt Disney Publications Worldwide at the time. We were often  'early birds' to work  and one morning she asked me to sit for her. With the eastern sunlight coming through the window she photographed a number of dramatic shots. This one was my favorite.

The series of photos she took, like my quick sketches will never be repeated again. A  high rise  building was constructed a short time later blocking our view of the rising sun.

Ki Innis and I were driven by car to the academy by Sanae Hiraya (the main translator of Quick Sketching with Ron Husband).  Sanae generously gave of her time to chauffeur us around on this and other occasions.

Sanae (below-striped shirt) also doubled as a translator for interviewer Sahoko Hyakutake of Genkosha Publishing (below-left in blue) before the workshop began.

Results of Sahoko's interview as it appeared in Illustration magazine. 



 Ki wanted me to look over his sketch pad and pass on some sketching advice before we started (below).  I always enjoy looking at fellow artists' work. Especially talented artists.

   As the students enter, Walter Edwards and Ki (below) check names for registration and book sales. 

Today we concentrate on "ILLUSTRATION", beginning with a lecture translated by Russell Goodall and followed by a Q & A session (below).

Next, a section on "Comparative Anatomy"- pointing out the similarities and differences in animals and humans using a white board (below and right).

Then, we had live models for an examination of Anatomy.  Here I am juxtaposing human male and female body types (below)...


 and then some "hands on" instruction...

And above all, a reminder to think before you commit pencil to paper (below).

About six hours later the workshop ended followed by an interview at a restaurant with Russell again doing the interpreting.

Finally, a subway back to the hotel and in bed by 11 pm.

June 26, 2016...

The workshop began at noon with some encouraging words.


Today's topic is "ANIMATION" with the emphasis on Scene Planning. I utilized both white board and power point (below).

 Then, our drawing session began...

 with instruction, emphasizing simple shapes using a paper towel roll (below right).

Drawing with plenty of hands on instruction (below).


The workshops came to an end and all the students gathered around for a class picture.


 That night I shared a great celebration dinner of bar-b-que ribs and apple pie a-la-mode with Ki and Walter.  Then back to the hotel for some much needed rest.

The taxi let Ki and me out at the back side of the Senso-ji Temple complex which had been closed since I arrived and now was open.
Here I am (below) standing under the newly renovated Kaminarimon Gate (Kaminari='lightning/thunder'  mon='gate') .

June 27-28, 2016...

With just a few days to unwind before heading home, I decided to do some last minute souvenir hunting and sketching. And maybe make a friend or two in the next two days.

While sketching at my favorite people watching spot (Senso-ji Temple area), these two young school girls , who had been watching me from afar, ventured close enough to see what I was drawing...

A conversation ensued.  They were from China.  One spoke English well enough to communicate as I speak no Chinese.  I drew one girl's picture. Before I could draw the other, their parents/guardians called them..."it is time to go".

I had such a hard time trying to pronounce their names, I had them write them down for me in my sketchbook.

Ki, who has a friend who reads the language translated them for me.

Lin Zin and Mei Xuan (below right). 

Another two friends.


 I continued to people watch and sketch...


My sketching had caught the eyes of the young and now I had the interest of a couple of older gentlemen.  We exchanged smiles as they zeroed in for a closer look.

The universal language of art had made me a couple more friends.

Ki and Walter escorted me to the airport and walked me as far as they were permitted.

I said my good-byes to these two gracious hosts.

A special thank you to Ki Innis of Master Drawing Japan and publisher Born Digital for making this all come to fruition.

I will cherish the memories, sketches and the friendships made forever.
(Ki and Walter say good-bye)
Now for the non-stop ten hour ride home:-)

dated 6/17/16
Thank you Mr Ron! 
I'm the girl you drew in Asakusa Starbucks this morning.
You definitely made us surprised and happy! Because of the suddenness, we couldn't say
thank you in person but what you did made me big smile!
Thank you! Have a wonderful stay in Japan!
(Facebook message I received after returning home)

Until next time...

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Sketching Adventures in Japan...part 2

June 21, 2016...

A light mist fell and it was humid enough for a t-shirt and umbrella. The only 'bad' weather since my arrival seven days ago.

As usual my trip to the Senso-Ji Temple was rewarded with subjects to sketch and another opportunity to meet new friends.

Off and on drizzle brought out umbrellas to add to the mix of body types and dress.

  The colorfully clad Kimono wearers were a treat for my eyes and pen. Many other interesting 'subjects' wandered through this area.

          A constant stream of humanity stood over a giant incense pot taking in the scent it emitted and individuals continued to add their own burning sticks to the mix.                                                          

My sketching in public always draws a crowd. A curious onlooker or two and/or those passing by just wanting a closer look.

Sometimes a conversation ensues, this is one of those times:-)....Yujing and family (below) are  tourist from China. She is the general manager of the Central Forest Tennis Academy and lucky for me, speaks English!  After our conversation she left with me the invitation ..."if you are ever in Beijing..."

Another friendship forged in pen. 

(New friend Yujing, myself and sketchbook)

(Yujing, myself and one of her companions)
(The rest of the group from China with Yujing (far right) and myself)

June 22, 2016...
I always try to get in a little sketching daily.  In this case, I did some in before the  day began with Ki as my escort and tour guide.

Sketches done around the Senjo-ji Temple area, in front of my hotel and on the subway (above) on our way to the....

(Ticket to the Tokyo Tower)

Ki and I took a seven kilometer (4 miles) subway ride to see the Tokyo Tower, the second tallest structure in Japan.

(Me with our destination, the Tokyo Tower in the background)

Eiffel Tower like construction looking up (top) and from directly beneath (below).

(View from atop the structure-not all the way up:-)

A little ways from the Tokyo Tower is the 'Spider Sculpture' (above).

Ki and I took a taxi to the Rippongi section to see an exhibition of Roman Wall Paintings from Pompei, Italy at the Mori Arts Center and Gallery (below).

That evening on our way back to my hotel Ki said, "don't get your hopes up too high but we might get to see and sketch some Sumo wrestlers tomorrow". 

June 23, 2016...

On a hunch Ki and I took the subway (during rush hour) to hopefully see real Sumo wrestlers working out as subjects for my sketchbook.

For the last few months in California I had been watching Japanese television programing in preparation for my trip. This programming helped me get a glimpse of culture, dress, customs and the environment.  It was through this medium that  I found out how popular Sumo wrestling is in Japan. The wrestlers are treated and revered in Japan like we do our rock stars/athletes in America.

I had only sketched the wrestlers from television.
I now had the possibility of  sketching them in real life but...

(Sketches done from television)

..."not admitted" we were told.

The major Sumo wrestling tournaments had taken place a few weeks ago and just a few wrestlers were working out and we were too late for their exercises.

One of the wrestlers allowed us to take a picture with him in front of the 'stable' where they work out.  (below).

Slightly disappointed we walked to the Edo-Tokyo Museum to see an exhibition of Japanese/Tokyo history.

(Ticket to the Edo-Tokyo Museum)

 What was really fun for me was the many 'hands on' exhibits on display.

(Me in Palaquin)

     This is a Palanquin (men's carrier) .
Pull the door on top down, I sit back and a man or men in front and in back carry me around using the poles (in black lacquer).                                  

A vegetable and fruit vendor would carry his wares for sale. (right)

This was used by firefighters during a blaze (below). Houses constructed of wood and built close together burned quickly during a fire. A person holding this pole would go ahead of the blaze, climb on top of a house away from the fire but in its path and wave the pole. Every house in front of the pole and was to be set a fire causing a 'fire break' to let the fire burn itself out.

All this information and more courtesy of
 our English speaking guide Toshiji Motohashi (left).


June 24, 2016...

I thought it would be nice to give Ki a break from running me all over Tokyo (or was it the other way around?) After all he lives over an hour away from my hotel by subway.

I filled the day with...you guessed it...sketching.
Quick walk to the Senso-ji Temple area to people watch, sketch and maybe make a friend or two.

An abundance of eye candy...school kids in uniform with backpacks. Those sitting, standing and walking. The usual Kimono wearing men and women. The young, old, pairs of people, those bowing and a man on his bicycle.

I also spotted some unusual activity.  A gentleman with an owl on his shoulder and a usually reserved Kimono dressed girl twirling around.




I observed most everybody taking pictures (and selfies).

Among all the interesting characters I decided to zero in on the amateur photographer. Yes, selfie sticks are a world phenomenon:-)


The Kimono Girl...

These quick sketches in black and white do not do justice to the vibrant color and materials that caught my eye.

My sketching held the same curiosity for the wearers. They peeked over my shoulder and smiled their approval.  I asked if I could draw their picture (in china marker).  Natasha volunteered..."if it didn't take too long".

Quickly drawn and I had a new friend.


Before this sketching safari was over I was to make a few more friends...Three high school age kids were on a class assignment to interview/record random people at the temple site.

My sketching drew their attention. They quizzed me and found out "...Lion King!...you worked on Lion King!...". Another group of young friends made.

more to come...