Etegami – Dragonfly, a photo by Fergiemoto on Flickr.
(click on photo to enlarge)
Also linking up with Illustration Friday’s topic of Fuel. “Food = Fuel” “Creative Juices = Fuel”
Crimson wraps and gleaming beds
Meditate on autumn beds
Awaiting fast food!
I recently came across a blog called Dosankodebbie’s Etegami Notebook that really intrigued me and has inspired some creative juices to flow in a slightly different direction. It involves another form of traditional Japanese art called “etegami”. Etegami is a Japanese word which means picture message/letter, which are “simple drawings accompanied by a few apt words.” According to Dosankodebbie, the blog author, the size is generally 10cm by 14cm (roughly 4 inches by 6 inches). There needs to be both an image and words, and be mailable, like a postcard. There are few rules for etegami, which are traditionally done by hand. I have broken a rule already by producing a digital adaptation of etegami…..but…..I’m pursuing new creative avenues! If I size my image to 4×6 and print it, it would then be mailable. I have made many greetings cards from my photos and images in the past and mailed them.
Perusing her blog even more, I found that she has carved her own personalized Japanese hanko stamps that she uses on her artwork (click here). A hanko is a name stamp, or a name seal, which is pressed into a document or, in this case, artwork in red ink. It is a way to sign your name.
Several years ago when I was in Japan, I bought two off-the-shelf hanko stamps of my name. I bought an inexpensive one, and a much nicer one with a fancy carrying case and red ink stamp. I wanted to have a customized hanko like my Japanese friends and colleagues had, but it was going to take longer to create than the time I was going to be in Japan. I made two more trips to Japan, but wasn’t able to pursue the customized hanko I desired. No regrets! I’ve gotten married since then and I no longer use my maiden name.
After reading the blog post about her hanko, the thought occurred to me to design my own digital name seal in Photoshop that I could use with some of my artwork. Most of my artwork are digital or are photomanipulations anyway, so I figured, “why not.” But I wonder if it is still ok to call it a hanko if the name seal is now digital.
The product of my first digital etegami attempt is the image I posted above (which is another photomanipulation) along with the digital hanko I created. I think it looks similar to some of my digital woodblock print images. So, I will either need time and practice to improve the etegami look, or just develop my own style. The message I opted for on this image was my usual haiku, therefore, the image could still be considered a haiga. I’ll be expanding my horizons in this area since a haiku is only one of the options for a message.
A few days ago, I was pleasantly surprised to see Dosankodebbie’s comment on one of my blog posts. She said she was amazed by my “21st century, digital age reinterpretations” of the traditional Japanese arts, of which she is a huge fan. Thanks Debbie.
I’ll be making many more attempts with these arts.
Check out these blogs from others who have created etegami: