Art Gallery – Six Modern Bijin Artists You Should Follow

Bijin-ga (美人画) literally means “picture of beautiful person”. They originate in the woodblock prints of the Edo era, and typically depicted beautiful women from various walks of life – from everyday women doing everyday things to famous courtesans reclining in luxurious surroundings. Many famous artists produced bijin-ga prints; some of the most well-known being Utagawa Kunisada, Kitagawa Utamaro, and Tsukioka Yoshitoshi.

Around the transitional period from late Meiji through Taisho into early Showa era, artists such as Jun’ichi Nakahara, Yumeji Takehisa, and Katsuji Matsumoto‘s modern styles made an enormous impact on traditional bijin-ga and produced works that helped form the flowery, large-eyed shoujo manga aesthetic as we know it.

With the advent of more modern printing technologies and digital painting, art has become more accessible than ever before. There are incredible modern artists out there today producing breathtaking works that continue to challenge the way we think of traditional Japanese art of gorgeous women. These are the sorts of artists I’m going to focus on. I urge you to check out their galleries, follow them on social media, and buy their prints to support them if you can.

While these featured artists are all incredibly versatile and do portraits of women in kimono and modern clothes as well as floral studies and still-lifes, I chose to focus on kimono-clad beauties to keep with the spirit of bijin-ga.

This entry will be long and image-heavy, so please click through to keep reading! Continue reading

Art Gallery – Rilakkuma & Friends


There are a number of Rilakkuma cafés spreading across parts of Asia, and on their coasters is this absolutely charming little drawing of Rilakkuma, Korilakkuma, and Kiiroitori in furisode-style kimono. The first time I saw it, I knew I wanted to make a little drawing based off of it, because it was just too cute. I ended up making this sort of quilted-style illustration and I think it turned out really well.

Now, I realise Rilakkuma is supposedly a boy bear, and putting him in a pink furisode seems a bit odd, but I figured since the original illustration had all three of them in furisode with female-type dressing and accessories, I’d just run with it. I’m glad I did, because this is so adorable it’s kind of making my teeth hurt. I’m quite happy with the end result.

If you’d like a print of this goofy little drawing, you can always click here to buy one from my Society6 shop. You get art, I get a few dollars to help defray the costs of this blog. Everyone wins!

Lastly, a quick note; for the next week or two, I will likely not be changing the mannequin. I’m in the throes of a nasty sciatica flare-up and it’s making it difficult to stand, let alone do something like wrestle with kimono. I’ve got lots of other fun things to share with you all in the meantime, and I appreciate your patience and understanding in advance.

Art Gallery – New Wave Portrait by Mousetivity

About a month back, a friend posted an awesome portrait she’d had commissioned that brought to mind the iconic new wave pop art of Patrick Nagel. She linked me to the artist’s commission page and I bookmarked it for later perusal.

Fast-forward a few weeks and I’m still riding on the high of finding a kimono that fits me and happens to be in one of my favourite colours. I realised that the graphic design of the kimono, bold red lip, and funky glasses would be a perfect fit for the art style, so I contacted the artist and asked if it would be possible to replicate the pattern in his style.

He totally went above and put so much lovely detail into the kimono and my glasses, and even made the portrait larger than necessary to show it off to its best potential and included a background that helped balance the whole piece out. Be sure to view the full-sized version. He was an absolute pleasure to work with, and his prices start at a base five dollars, if you can believe that! If you’re interested in a funky and unique portrait like this, kimono or not, definitely check out Mousetivity on Fiverr.

Happy Hina-Matsuri!

I hope everyone is having a great day! While it’s still March 2nd here in Canada, it’s been March 3rd, Hinamatsuri, in Japan for several hours already. Last year, I made a set of dolls with perler beads. The year before that, origami. This year I decided to go for a double-whammy. I drew a set which are also available as a print, and I made this adorable set from Nanoblock that was super fun to put together.

May this year be filled with luck and love to you and all the girls and women in your lives.

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Art Gallery – Sakura Valentine

Sakura Valentine

Happy Valentine’s Day! I had grand plans to do a really sweet, romantic coordination on the mannequin but that went awry as plans are wont to do. I still wanted to share something though, since I love you all so much for continuing to support me. I’ve been working on this illustration for a while now. Initially I was going to share it during cherry blossom season, but the pink floral theme seemed perfect for a Valentine. It’s not much, but it sure is pretty, and I hope you like it!

I’ve also set up a shop on Society6 with some prints of the occasional artwork I do and share here, including this one. I get a few dollars from each one sold, all of which will go back into the fund to help support the blog.