Finding Inspiration: Japanese Wood Block Prints

This week, I’m planning to do one or two pen drawings that somehow mimic the style of Japanese woodblock prints. I’m not exactly sure how I’m going to do this, so it will be a bit experimental.

Below are several of the pieces that I find exceptionally beautiful. You can find additional pieces on the Japanese Woodblock Prints Pinterest board that I recently made.

Sarusawa Pond by Hiroshi Yoshida

Sarusawa Pond by Hiroshi Yoshida

Sparrows in the Sazanka in Snow

Sparrows in the Sazanka in Snow by Ando Hiroshige

I really love Japanese woodblock prints, but to be honest, I don’t know much about them, apart from what I read on Wikipedia tonight. Luckily, I did learn that the type of prints I like are mostly part of the ukiyo-e genre.

The name of the genre, ukiyo, means “floating world” in English and is meant to represent the need to embrace each moment and the fleeting beauty you find in it.

The Wikipedia article mentions a lovely quote from novelist Asai Ryōi that describes the concept of this floating world.

“… Living only for the moment, turning our full attention to the pleasures of the moon, the snow, the cherry blossoms and the maple leaves; singing songs, drinking wine, diverting ourselves in just floating, floating; … refusing to be disheartened, like a gourd floating along with the river current: this is what we call the floating world…”

It’s no wonder I’m drawn to this art form. How wonderful!

Birds and Snow-covered Peonies by Kono Bairei

Birds and Snow-covered Peonies by Kono Bairei

Kawase Hasui

By Kawase Hasui

In a Temple Yard

In a Temple Yard by Hiroshi Yoshida


Finding Inspiration: Collages

This week, I’m planning to do a series of collages so I’ve spent the past few days scouring the internet for collage pieces that inspire me. I created a collage pinterest board with many of the examples. Here are some of my favorites.

Slow MagicCover art collage for the band Slow Magic


Collage by Caro-Ma


Collage by Bene Rohlmann



Collage by gvmma



Collage by James Dawe


Collage by Bene Rohlmann

Day 339: Think Big

Think BigAfter 339 days of making something this year, this phrase makes me chuckle and think, “What? Bigger than this project? How?” Perhaps that’s a little silly, but it feels true. Making something every day has been extremely tough!

That said, this phrase does make me look ahead and think about next year. In case anyone is curious, next year I plan to do 52 projects, one each week, that are all more challenging, elaborate, and hopefully impressive than the ones I did this year. I plan to post to this blog more than once a week, though. Perhaps I’ll provide background on the project development at the beginning of the week and even provide updates on progress during the week. We shall see!

Day 256: Quote

Art LoveAs I mentioned in my very first post back on January 1, I have zero practice doing hand lettering, so last night I did a little bit using a random quote on the internet. It looks cute, but the next time I do something like this, I think I’ll try to do something a bit fancier.

For inspiration, next time I should probably refer to The Art of Hand Lettering, an amazing blog chronicling one artists adventures in making letters.

Day 43: Zombie

Zombie Drawing

Tonight was the return of Walking Dead so some friends and I had a viewing party! During the festivities, I drew a Zombie. I used one of the Walking Dead comic books as inspiration since I’m very ill-experienced in monster drawing.

Day 38: Texture

Fire Hydrant Closeup

Orange Crate Closeup

Yellow Texture

Green Texture

Stained Glass Closeup


A few weeks ago, I focused on taking pictures of Chicago on a large scale, so today I decided to focus on the details and textures of the Loop. I took inspiration for these photos from the beautiful and tactile photography from Sarah Takes Pictures. Although her photos are much more organic in nature than the photos I took today, they helped me think about the beauty that can be seen when looking at an object close-up.