Inspiration: Japan, Pt. 1

I just returned from a 3-week trip to Japan, which was a great experience and a highly recommended country to go on holidays. It was an intense trip, being on the road all the time, moving from city to city, and seeing so many different things, learning something new every day, making new experiences. It was also great to get out of my daily routine with work and this course, to find new inspirations for my creative pieces.

Based on my tutor’s feedback, I took a small-scale sketchbook on the trip, in which I tried to capture some of my impressions of Japan regularly. Not every day, but most days. It was specific scenes that I encountered, e.g. being on the superfast train Shinkansen, eating where the locals eat, experiencing the calmness of a Zen Garden, or just impressions I had from different cities, like seeing the same street signs over and over again, hearing Jazz music everywhere. Japanese museums or stations often also have stamps for you to put on your leaflets, or in my case in my sketchbook, so I tried to incorporate those in my quick illustrations.

The material I used were colourpencils that can also be turned into watercolours. I took them because I find them easy to transport and they don’t necessarily require water, and you can work with them quickly because they don’t need to dry if you don’t mix them with water. I like working with them to a certain extend, but to be frank, they are not my favourite material to use for full illustrations. I like to add certain effects with them to other materials, e.g. aquarells or ink, but on their own, I find that they often don’t turn out like it want them to turn out. So using them as the only materials on the trip for me was a great experience to practise with them, to see what I can do with them, how I can improve my skills using colourpencils.

Please see my trip’s sketchbook here (trying to figure out why the format changed from how I recorded it… will update once I know why it’s happening).

I will upload some more posts of my trip here because I found Japan inspiring in so many ways, and I plan to do a series of Japanese illustrations/collages at some point. I visited many cities, saw many advertisings that were typically Japanese to me, as well as fantastic nature, and I learned that Japanese are crazy about hunting autumn colours (it’s called Koyo and was happening while I was there). The latter I could truly identify with because autumn is one of my favourite seasons, too. The bright red, yellow and orange colours that are around you is quite fascinating. So I also joined the Koyo hunt.

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