Drawing Inspiration from the Far East and the Masters of Shin Hanga Woodblock Prints

When a prospective client recently asked if I could create an illustration with Josephine on the beach, I was stumped.  Somehow, all that came to mind was wide swaths of yellow sand and blue water – nice if you’re experiencing it, but not so interesting in an illustration.

Then, last week, I had the good fortune to see the Women of Shin Hanga exhibit at Dartmouth’s Hood Museum.  While my illustrations don’t originate from wood block carvings like the Japanese prints that made up the exhibit, my concept is still similar in that I always start from a clean line drawing.  Like the Shin Hanga prints, the outlines remain visible in my finished artwork.  The elegant sense of line in these artworks is perfectly balanced with the use of sparse and contrasting colors which create visual geometry and a unifying sense of composition.

Although I wasn’t able to find an online reproduction of one of my favorite prints from the exhibit (a print that featured a lady in a black and white striped kimono), I did find reproductions of some of the other prints online.  Drawing from my memory of the black and white kimono striped print and this Shin Hanga print…

Shin Hanga snow fall print

I created this new illustration.

beach going babe

She might not be a geisha, but she’ll be the belle of the (beach) ball!

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4 Comments

Filed under art, Influences, Joana Miranda Studio, New work, print

4 responses to “Drawing Inspiration from the Far East and the Masters of Shin Hanga Woodblock Prints

  1. Hi
    Great post. I love knowing what inspires other artists. Very few in our business actually talk about this. My guess is that it’s considered more original to assume that the works come only and directly from the particular artist.
    I love to look at other artists and arts of different periods and around the world. I learn so much this way. So I’m grateful to you for this post and can’t wait to,see the finished Josephone at the beach.Andrea

    • Hi Andrea,
      Thanks so much! The choreographer George Balanchine apparently said “There are no new steps – only new combinations.” I think the same holds true of art.

      I’ve been having fun doing self-timed photographs (of myself as model) to provide the inspirations for Josephine’s poses. The pose in my beach illustration came from one such self-timed photo…with ample “refinement” in the proportions and “va-va-voomness” of the resulting line drawing.;-)

      I look forward to seeing what you’ve been up to in your next blog post.
      XOX – Joana

  2. Helen Reich

    Neat idea!

    • Thanks, Helen!

      I’m hoping to put in some good work on the coloring-in today.

      Stay warm…I hear it’s cold in Milwaukee! Weird weather, eh? 🙂 Joana

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