Inktober is an interesting initiative to try to encourage people to get out the old traditional media and be creative. For every day during the month of October, the goal is to produce one ink drawing. There are lists of prompts, but you can also choose to work off your own designs if you wish. It’s been quite a while since I did any real-media work so I thought this year I would participate, but rather than use the official prompts, I’d draw one kimono motif a day. I had a lot of fun doing this, and I think I might make it a yearly tradition. Maybe next year I’ll pick one common motif and draw a different variation of it each day. I’m certain I could find thirty-one ways to interpret sakura or ume, for example.
If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve probably seen these already, but I really wanted to put them all together for posterity and reference. I really love the variety in these. Some of them were clearly done on days when I had more free time than others but when you put them all together I feel like they flow very nicely. I think forcing myself to stick to two widths of black ink pen and only gold accents helped make sure that they really do feel like one cohesive project instead of just a pile of unrelated doodles. They’re also all in the same sketchbook on the same paper, the variations in colour are due to lighting differences and instagram filters.
I recently bought myself a Microsoft Surface to be able to work on the go, and one of the greatest appeals for me was the fact that I could draw directly on the screen. What I didn’t take into account is the significant learning curve. Painting with a graphics tablet like a Wacom is markedly different from painting on a canvas, and painting directly on your work surface is different from both. The Surface has the benefit of allowing me to put my input tool directly on top of the artwork, more like a traditional painting, but the screen itself is so smooth, there’s no tooth at all like there would be with “real” paper or canvas.
I found a photo of a lovely painting of a moonflower in a book recently and it called out to me. As you may know, moonflowers are kind of my “thing”, hence the moonblossom.net domain, my moon and flower custom kamon, etc etc. So when I found this, I thought I would use it as inspiration to start to get the hang of painting directly on the Surface! I’ve definitely got a ways to go, but I’m happy with my progress.
I suspect I will be doing digital painting much more often now that I have this thing, so be prepared for an influx of kimono and woodblock-inspired doodles!
Ikigai (生き甲斐) is most accurately translated as a reason for being, but often referred to more colloquially as a reason for getting up in the morning. Each circle represents an ideal; that which you love, that which you are good at, that which the world needs, that which can support you. Where all four overlap, there is your ikigai, your purpose for living.
I will be honest with you all right now. I haven’t been in a great place mentally this month. While there’s no one thing seriously wrong, there have just been a lot of little frustrations and disappointments piling up, and it’s weighing heavily on me now. I miss being able to actually wear kimono, but my health is a constant challenge, as is my size. I’ve been trying to do more, to share more things with you lovely readers, but work exhausts me and eats my free time. Last week I ordered a garment rack to display kimono so I could update my catalogue, and that became a whole absurd saga in and of itself (which I will share with you soon!). My point is, sometimes this passion of mine feels more like a chore, and I found myself wondering why I do it.
That was when I was reminded of the concept of ikigai. While I may not be able to use this blog to support myself financially (in fact, rather the opposite – as many of you know, this hobby ain’t cheap!) collecting, coordinating, and displaying kimono fulfill me in a way not many things can. Sometimes the thing you love the most can be the thing that drives you the craziest, but in the end it’s always worth it. I just need to keep reminding myself that frustrations are temporary. So thank you all for reading, subscribing, and sticking with me. Sharing with you gives me purpose. You are the reason this blog exists. 💗
Just a little entry today! I’ve been very busy with work and art commissions and was really in the mood to create something for myself. To celebrate coming up on the end of one year of seasonal themes on the blog, I thought I would make my own little custom Kimmidolls. I used real ones as inspiration for their faces, and then gave them each a custom body to match the four varying themes. They’re very simple, but they make me happy! I’ll be back soon with real content, but for now I hope these little ladies made you smile.