About Leonardo da Vinci

I like Leonardo's drawings.
These days I often look at them in my book and try to copy them onto my sketch book.
I have read an artist had said, "His works are too completed and not much interesting."
I think Leonardo was simply curious about nature, and he made pictures of not only correct figures of human bodies but many abstract and conceptual drawings of water flood and strange characters of people.
For myself, I also found the way of understanding the real world is very important, as well as the technique to make drawings.
I think we are lucky because you can get many photo copies of Leonardo or other old masters' drawings in good quality.


Makino Yonekich's Exhibition

Today, I went to see an exhibition of illustrations of animals and creatures.
I was to meet Akiko , the editor of Kin no Hoshi sha, at the entrance.
I arrived there on time. While I was waiting for her, I walked around the Gallery.
There also was another exhibition of prints.
The illustrations made by Yonekichi Makino were really good, great.
Though each picture was small, as large as 10 by 10, the animals looked real and lively.
His biography cheered me up, that he found the style and theme of his illustration in his 30s.
I , know , feel hasty and nervous about my work... that I haven't found my best style of making pictures.
After that, I walked in the ISETAN department store, by myself. I checked Margaret's shop and found a simple pierced earring. They said it costs about 7000 yen.
Then I took Metro to Ochanomizu, the town you can find books , musical instruments, and good tools and materials for printmaking.
I went to Sanseido book store first, to buy a text book of French. I found one for beginners.
Then I went to Bunpodo , which is the best material shop for me.
I bought some paper and copper plates for the workshop that I will be the teacher, at Pinpoint Gallery , at the end of this month.
I was really tired when I ended my shopping.


Started writing

I read some part of "Growing Pains" by Wanda Gag.
It reminded me that I had been thinking about making that kind of records of my work.


I am making pictures for a picture book, "OIKAKETE"(Going after ...).Text by Hatsue Nakawaki.
Yesterday I sterted to "etch" the copper plates with new ached, using the technique, called "soft-ground etching".
Which I paint sticky ground thin on the plate, and put a thin paper on it and draw on the paper.
Then you put the plate in the ached.Then... you can get the line of a pencil etched on the plate!
Today I made three test prints.
I don't have the time to know some data such as how long should I put the plates in the ached, with a test plate.
So I tried to check how it goes, making pictures which are going to be dark.
It worked anyway.

I read "Kouchan" written by Atsuko Suga, illustrated by Komako Sakai.
I love Komako's pictures , and they are getting better and better.
The story was good, too. I am going to write to Komako later, but what would I write?

No phone call. I love Sundays.


A meeting

I had a meeting with an editor and a writer, in Kichijoji, Tokyo.
The editor, Kikue, who is the same age as me.
The writer, Areno, who is a little older than us, is going to make a picture book with us.
Areno is a writer of novels, and a translator of foreign picture books into Japanese, too. She wrote the text of "Mizutama no chihuahua (After polka dot chihuahua)" , which was my first professional picture book and it had been published 7 years ago. Her original picture books hadn't been published since then, although she's been interested in.
3 years ago she gave me some stories for picture books and I promised to find someone who want to edit it and publish it. Fortunately, Kikue, who is a freelance editor of children's books, offered editing my new picture book, while she and I was working together on stories for a magazine. She liked one of Areno's stories, and she wondered how come it hadn't been published for such a long time.
At the meeting, I was a little nervous because I hadn't seen Areno since she gave me the text. She is now one of the most popular writers of young generation. She looked happy and relax. Kikue leaded our subjects well, and we discussed about the schedule.
I got an energy by talking to the positive, interesting people, and now I am sure that the book will be a good one.


Korean picture books

I watched a TV program about the success of Korean cultural policy. It said that Korean government encouraged their "contents" industries such as movie, music, game, and animation. The policy worked successfully, and they (Korean creators) have created a lot of attractive works which are popular not only in Japan, but also most Asian countries.

When I visited an exhibition of Korean picture books in 2000 (The title was "The Wold Of Original Illustrations for Children's Picture Books from Korea" ), I was attracted by the beautiful illustrations.
Since I was wondering what is my originality as a Japanese illustrator, the exhibited illustrations gave me many hints to think.
I really liked Korean traditional techniques. I was surprised that some of the illustrators were as young as me. They were good, just like well trained, experienced painters.
After the exhibition held, some of the Korean picture books published in Japan. I bought them of course! I wish more Korean picture books had been published in Japan. Maybe I would find by myself in Korea some day.
Any way, I myself got an energy by Korean culture, and got a confidence to be an Asian illustrator. ( By the way, my most favorite restaurant in my neighborhood is a Korean place. Whenever I want energy, I eat hot Korean food.)



These days, picture books are popular among not only mothers and children, but young people in Japan. Some magazines about picture books have started and acclaimed by young women from the majority who want to enjoy handicrafts to serious artists. Some singers and actors say "I wanted to become a picture books writer or illustrator" in their interviews.
Maybe you think that this movement as usual things. I think, at least in Japan, it is a change.

I've been interested in cultural exchanges from my childhood, so I'd like to write something about picture books and our culture in Japan and far-east Asia.