Resources for copying Japanese line drawings or patterns.
December 14, 2017 5:01 PM   Subscribe

A client gave me a gorgeous leather-bound blank book as a present. Oh, I love it! I already have a dandy drawing pencil, so I want to draw in this book, not journalize.

When I was a kid, I liked to draw bamboo stalks and kimono patterns (peonies, water lilies, etc.) from books. I don't remember which books those were. I've searched our public library's catalog, and can't find exactly what I want, and an Amazon search yields a ton of Manga which is NOT what I'm looking for.

I want black and white line drawings of nature forms: gingko leaves, bamboo, flowers, etc, done in a Japanese style to copy into my new book. Serenity awaits, if only I can find it. Please make some suggestions.
posted by BostonTerrier to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (7 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
What about books of Japanese traditional tattoo flash? E.g.

Or adult coloring books?
posted by supercres at 5:13 PM on December 14, 2017

You probably want the Dover Japanese design resource books. (Link is to their Japanese, Chinese, Egyptian, and African resource collections.)
posted by xyzzy at 5:30 PM on December 14, 2017 [7 favorites]

It's not all black and white, but this should keep you busy for a while.
posted by adamrice at 5:51 PM on December 14, 2017

Use the camera in your phone, and find a koi pond somewhere. There is a dealer in Asian items in this town, and people call him for estate buys. He has more amazing stuff. He had a whole bin of antique Japanese linens, table cloths and rare lace they made back, back. I bought a sumi-e box, with a student book, of practice paintings, and the sensei's book of painted images. This has antique Holbein watercolors, ink brushes, ink and a grinder, a porcelain palette, porcelain paint cups to hold the colors. The Sumi-e renderings are so dear. The box is painted with cinnabar paint, and is maybe 18 inches by 12. Anyway I taught some sumi-e to high school students, and there are a lot of pictures of motifs on the web. A lot of motifs are around you depending on where you are. There are a lot of pictures of carp, and water on the web too. Lots of pictures of chrysanthemums. Sumi-e painters paint a lot of natural images, birds, limbs, flowers, anyway. Best to you.
posted by Oyéah at 6:44 PM on December 14, 2017 [1 favorite]

On one hand, you have scanned old Japanese books online in places like the Smithsonian, like this one or this one. Hinagata books were Edo period catalogues of kimono designs and patterns.

On the other hand, you have Japanese coloring books. This one made with patterns from a kimono shop you can get imported (the texts are bilingual) or wait until next summer when it's published in English. There are others with traditional motifs like this one, this one, this one, or this. Check Otakumode's tag for a few more, and search Amazon Japan for ぬり絵 or ぬりえ (nurie = coloring). For example, this one I own has chiyogami paper motifs from Isetatsu.
posted by sukeban at 12:00 AM on December 15, 2017 [1 favorite]

This scanned book in particular might be what you're looking for (important vocab: 模様/ moyô = pattern, motif)
posted by sukeban at 12:18 AM on December 15, 2017 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thank you for ALL your suggestions.
There is no better way to ward off Seasonal Affective Disorder than drawing!
posted by BostonTerrier at 6:50 AM on December 15, 2017

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