Here are the first four of what will eventually be a collection of twelve drawings to be bound into little books in the coming month [censor bubbles won't actually appear in print]. All drawn with sumi ink, then colored digitally.
These are all directly inspired by the floating world wood-block prints of sixteenth-to-eighteenth century Japan, commonly referred to as shunga. These were gathered together into little booklets called “pillow books”, used as instructional manuals by the bourgeois, gifts to new brides, and interestingly, good luck charms (to ward off death, of course!) to samurai.
The goal is to have the twelve drawings done, have an limited printing done, and have them hand-bound by mid-November.
Something else I came across during research which is rather interesting (mature warning):
This is my recent project, my hand shows the scale. This is the largest cute girl yet, and this is only after one day of her tattoo session. Sumi ink and acrylic paint on Arches printmaking paper, around 3.5′x5′. Updates will follow.
If you haven’t yet seen the illustrative work of Brooklyn-based Ray Jones, do it now. Do it. Go here. I’ll wait.
His traditional sumi ink work is stunning, and his work is both inspiring and maddening because of its seeming effortlessness. His work is simple and complex, clean and dirty. His subject matter follows body parts enveloped in seas of ink resembling bracken, water, and nest-like beds, insects, decay, waves and bones. His black and white ink work is beautiful, but his colored work also shows restraint and strength in all the right places. I’m insanely jealous of his remarkable body of work, and excited to keep seeing what comes next.
One of the best exercises I’ve come across for loosening up and brainstorming for drawings I learned at school in Seattle: the China Wall exercise. Ideally, you shut yourself in a room with only a stack of 100 sheets of newsprint, ink, a stick or brush (or your face, or toes; whatever…), and a pot of coffee (or drug of choice), and not leave the room until there is something on every single one of those pieces of paper.
Your drawings can be representational, they can take two seconds to make, you can spend an hour on one if you like; the point is to basically puke your brains out onto the paper and free up all of the things that stop us from the pleasure of just drawing. Shunryu Suzuki says something very profound on this release and non-attachment in his book, Not Always So: Practicing the True Spirit of Zen:
“Each one of us knows how to go to the rest room without attaching to something we have in our bodies. When we realize that we already have everything, we will not be attached to anything. Actually, we have everything. Even without going to the moon, we have it. When we try to go to the moon, it means that we think the moon is not ours.” (44)
So, basically, this is your brain taking a crap. Something which I personally know I need to work on a great deal.