Art Walk 1: Turning Up with the J-pop

Back in November, in the midst of sorting oodles of doodles, I suggested an artistic walk down memory lane. 4 months & 4 million sketches later (exaggeration), it’s here. Welcome to the Art Walk. Expect to see elementary school art, punny stuff, and J-pop art(ists).

Notes: Long post ahead. Some images still mysteriously stretch. Clicking opens them at their proper dimensions.

Long-time readers & friends might have expected me to say Japanese comics or video games, not Japanese music (though I have much of those, too). Selections from the J-pop collection, circa my last 2 years of high school, are included because

  1. During this time, I started regularly using real people & photos as models.
  2. I significantly improved at drawing realistically. One doesn’t go from this (top image) to that (bottom) overnight.

3. Of all the revisited drawings, they excited me the most. After multiple curatorial culls, there were still too many to share in one post, & half were of Arashi. (Lol.) Solution? Two posts, starting with an Arashi exclusive/homage. Oh Yeah!

Pronunciation note: please say “AH-rah-shi,” not “ah-RAH-shi.” Perfect. (Now, America, let’s work on karaoke.)

Some fun facts:

  • “Arashi” (嵐) means “storm.” Members: Aiba Masaki, Matsumoto Jun, Ninomiya Kazunari, Ohno Satoshi, & Sakurai Sho. (Family names are first.)
  • They sang at the enthronement celebration of Japan’s new emperor in 2019. (Ray of water, 3rd movement, by acclaimed composer Kanno Yoko. In the linked video, she is conducting.)
  • Per the IFPI, their 20th anniversary compilation was 2019’s top-selling album globally, outselling Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga, Ed Sheeran, & 방탄소년단 / BTS, the current princes of K-pop (Korean pop).
  • Their songs have been used to promote the Olympics (on Japanese TV), including Kaze no Mukou e (“Beyond the wind”) for 2008, Power of the Paradise for 2016, and Kaito (“Kite,” composed by Yonezu Kenshi, another popular musician) for 2020. If the Olympics proceed this summer, I hope it is somehow included. The world should hear it; it’s beautiful.
  • Did any of you see Clint Eastwood’s Letters from Iwo Jima, the companion film to Flags of Our Fathers? Nino played Saigo.
  • Do any of you like Bruno Mars? He wrote Arashi’s first all-English release, Whenever You Call (2020).

Let’s begin. めましょう! Hajimemashou!

For more alliteration, add “from an adolescent artist’s archives.”

The episode title comes from the chorus of Arashi’s 2019 single, Turning Up. I’m elated they finally made a music video that includes a weather forecast.

Sometimes I used music videos for references. Here’s an example, the “Ni no umbrella.” (MV: Kotoba Yori Taisetsu na Mono, “Something more important than words”).

For Christmas & birthdays, I often gave my friends drawings of their favorite singers & characters. Here’s a birthday card, straight out of the Happiness music video. Happiness was released during my senior year of high school (and skyrocketed onto the favorite song list). It’s been regular in concert repertoire ever since.

Back: Sho (L), Aiba, Jun. Front: Ohno, Nino.
Pronunciation tips: “Ai” in “Aiba” is like “I”/”aye.” “Jun” is similar to “June.” The “Oh” in “Ohno” is a long “o” sound.

Even though I messed up when I inked (Jun’s hand & Sho’s face), this is one of my favorite things I’ve drawn for someone. Having fun drawing it, my friend’s delighted response, & wordplay made a good mix.

Back of card. Wish is another Arashi song.

We had fun making J-pop puns. To name a few,

  • Ohno / Oh, no. (Obvious, overused, yet never old.)
  • It’s Sho / show time!
  • SubArashi~! Subarashii (“soo-bah-rah-shee”) means “wonderful.” SubArashi can describe an awesome song or performance or, facetiously, Arashi on a sandwich or in a yellow submarine.
  • Sholo: A Sho solo. Or this.
Hitomi no Naka no Galaxy is a somber song from their first 5 years.

Good times fo’ Sho! (For sure.) Like when my friends & I went to my little brother’s middle school play & and all giggled when he came onstage with Matsumoto Jun hair.

Here’s another birthday drawing. I think the pencil draft looks more accurate than the final, but for similar reasons to the Happiness card, it’s another favorite thing I’ve drawn for someone else.

This stylized Ohno accompanied another gift.

One more. This draft is from an independent oil painting class my senior year. I used an image of Nino, Aiba, & Jun for the poses & tried to change their faces so they wouldn’t look like them (though “not Aiba” particularly still resembles Aiba).

I liked the drawing, but I was not satisfied with the painting. Consequently, I was shocked to learn the school administrators had chosen it for an award! There were 2 senior art awards: one merit award & one legacy award that meant the school bought 1 graduating student’s artwork. (I won both.) Bench Buddies / “not Arashi” / whatever I titled it was the legacy selection. At the awards assembly, the head of school announced that it was selected because it expressed camaraderie and simple joy. At least the reason was decent.

Thus a little bit of J-pop is preserved at Principia.

That’s the end. Thanks for coming this far. I hope you had some fun; I did. I will try to make the next Art Walk episode shorter. じゃあまたね. Jaa, mata ne. (See you later.)

Repurposing an Art Caddy

November already? Time seems to pass in ways that defy human perception.

I haven’t had much opportunity to draw or paint lately, but over the last few weeks, my art space has been another kind of project zone. Project #1: the annual or semi-annual organization overhaul, which always takes the better part of a week. During this, I emptied an art supply caddy–one of many that friends & family bestowed on me as a wee bairn, filled with bright colored pencils, paints, and pastels, and the obligatory small metal pencil sharpener. Rather than chuck the caddy, I thought I’d convert it into artwork storage (project #2). All it would take was adding 4 panels to prevent papers from sliding.

“All it would take” — ha. Na bi gòrach. (Scottish Gaelic for “Don’t be silly/stupid.”) Of course it took more than that. DIYers, let’s get ready to roll.

1) Remove black plastic art supply holders/lining. (Please excuse any funny-looking images; recently some blog images have started to appear stretched while others do not. Not sure why WordPress is displaying them differently.)

2) Remove or smooth as much of the hard glue that held liners in place. This involved a razor blade, flying glue chips, sandpaper, and safety goggles.

3) Cut fabric rectangles to line the box.

4) Glue fabric to interior of box.

5) Cut used mat board for panels.

6) Glue panels to box — the trickiest part (getting them to stick and to keep them from falling down).

Books, old awards, wood, and old mat board were all called into service to keep the panels from falling while the glue dried.

All done? Nope. I had to reglue the rightmost panel so that papers wouldn’t fall to the center when the caddy closed. Then it was done. Whoo hoo!

Here’s how it closes. Isn’t expanding storage great?

Presently it is only storing air because I am in the midst of project #3: sorting & digitizing hundreds of drawings from middle school, high school & college (plus some more recent things). This weekend alone, I’ve recycled 2 piles of dog-eared, battered, & other sketches I don’t feel inspired to keep. Apparently an artist’s work is never done, even when not making art.

Maybe the next post will be an artistic yearbook/blast from the past. ‘Til then, thanks as always for reading.

Newsletter fix & more streaming sketches

Hi, everyone. Just a quick post to say I’ve been doing some tweaking & with the newsletter mailing list. Today when adding a new subscriber, I discovered I have to do an additional step to assign email addresses to mailings — so some of you whom I thought I had added or updated a few months ago should now actually receive updates in your inbox. (You may or may not have received a default welcome email from Draws the Eventide as a result.) Thanks for your understanding. I’m still learning how this new mail client works.

Also, welcome to the newest subscribers who signed up recently. For anyone who’d like to catch up on the latest posts, you can skim the Captain’s Log page/blog reel. The most recent posts were about using media streaming services for figure drawing practice, a purple painting of my oboe, and some animal artwork.

Where would we be if I didn’t share some art before the post ends? Here are some more “streaming” sketches described in the previous post. This week I’ve tried to do more quick gesture drawing instead of detailed rendering (though that’s there, too) and using pen to force myself to commit to the page, even if the lines end up icky.

For better or worse, there are no bad James Bond jokes in this post. 🙂

“Rock, paper, scissor…” “Shoot, you won again.”

A few notes on the next one: I ran out of blank pages in this sketchbook, so I drew on the inside cover before starting a new book. Shonen Jump is a popular Japanese comics magazine anthology. Eyeshield 21, which he is reading, is a Shonen Jump manga (and I replaced whatever the character was actually reading with that.)

“Perusing my sketchbook without permission? That’s almost as naughty as taking my Shonen Jump.”

That’s all for now. ‘Til next time. Thanks for reading.

Sketches & Streaming

There’s no question that these days, a large percent of the American population has increased media/video streaming for amusement. But how many folks have started using streaming services for figure drawing practice?

Sounds like a package deal: A bunch of complete strangers striking interesting poses under good lighting in the comfort of my home. And they can stay still as long as I want grâce à pause button.

For fun, I’ve been using old colored pencils (“old” meaning “I’ve had them since I was a kid”). They don’t always provide a good range of values (lights & darks), but using different colors from the usual pencil grays is enjoyable. I did adjust some of the scans so they show up better onscreen. Some oranges and most yellows just can’t go to the Dark Side — maybe that’s why Rey’s lightsaber is yellow at the end of The Last Jedi! Just kidding.

Sometimes, partway through a drawing, my oblique humor will surface, and I add silly comments. (They have nothing to do with the action onscreen. It’s kind of like those “add a caption to this photo” contests in magazines.) Watch out for bad James Bond jokes further down.

“Hey, Mom said I could have the last bottle of YooHoo~”
“I saw on Daniel Craigslist that you’re seeking a new James Bond actor.” (I’m a math major, so I have a perfect skill set for “Casio” Royal & Divide Another Day remakes.)
That’s enough TV for tonight. Thanks for reading.