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Part 3: Summer 2008 to Fall 2009

Postcard size Sketches

During the cold season, I decided to switch to postcard size sketches using sketch references done earlier on location. I've done plenty of postcard sketches outside since their size makes them very portable, but this is the first time I've done them at home.

One advantage of working at home is you can rest your arm on the desk surface, take your time, and draw more carefully. Plus, you aren't hindered by rain (or frozen fingers in the winter). The big disadvantage is the absence of sunshine and fresh air and the thrill of communicating with your subject.

The postcard size format is supposed to allow me to produce sketches quicker, but since I'm sitting in the comfort of my home, these actually end up taking longer.

High resolution reproductions of some of these sketches are available postcards or greeting cards here.


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Old Shop in Tsukishima, Tokyo

This is an old shop in Tokyo in the Tsukishima area. The name of this shop is Ten An (two kanji which mean heaven and peace). It's been around a long time, and remains the same even though the neighborhood around it goes through constant change. I did this in brush and ink (with a yatate) and watercolor.


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Sakurada-Niju Turret, Imperial Palace, Tokyo (2)

This is another sketch of Sakurada-Niju Turret (cherry field double turret) which sits on the corner of the wall overlooking the moat of former Edo castle, the home of the shoguns. I've sketched this structure and even this scene several times in the past. I did this in brush and ink (with a yatate) and watercolor.


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Sakurada-Niju Turret, Imperial Palace, Tokyo (3)

This is another sketch of Sakurada-Niju Turret (cherry field double turret) which sits on the corner of the wall overlooking the moat of former Edo castle, the home of the shoguns. I was standing a short distance to the left of the spot from which I sketched the same subject above. I did this in brush and ink (with a yatate) and watercolor.


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Sakuradamon at the Imperial Palace, Tokyo (3)

This is another sketch of Sakuradamon at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo. It's one of my favorite sketch subjects at Edo Castle, as you may have noticed. I did this in brush and ink (with a yatate) and watercolor.


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Otemon at the Imperial Palace

Otemon means basically big hand gate (in case you wanted to know). It's one of several gates surrounding the Imperial palace which used to be Edo Castle, headquarters of the Tokugawa Shogunate. I have done a bigger, quicker version of this sketch in the past, and it appears in my online book about sketching. This one was done at home where I did not enjoy the benefits of sunshine and fresh air, but I was able to rest my arm on a desk top and take my time to make a more carefully rendered drawing. I did this sketch in brush and ink (with a yatate) and watercolors.


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Old Sembei Shop in Yanaka, Tokyo

This is an old sembei (rice cracker) shop in Tokyo in one of the old neighborhoods that time forgot, Yanaka near Nezu Station. Old shops often had unique and very heavy signs on the front roof, but this round one is a real eye catcher. The base and frame of the sign is apparently bronze or some metal that turns green with exposure to the elements. I did this sketch in brush and ink (with a yatate) and watercolor. I did this sketch in brush and ink (with a yatate) and watercolors. After I had sketched this shop, I walked around the neighborhood and later passed this spot again where another I found another artist standing near this spot, sketching the same shop.


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Bell Tower in Kawagoe, Saitama, near Tokyo

This is the famous bell tower in Kawagoe, Saitama, Japan (just north west of Tokyo). This landmark is a favorite subject for sketchers and photographers. This town is called "Little Edo" because many of the buildings remain from the Edo era. I did this sketch in brush and ink (using a yatate) and watercolor.


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Old Shop in Kawagoe, Saitama, near Tokyo

This is an old shop in Kawagoe, Saitama. The area is full of old shops like this, and is a very popular spot for visitors from all over the country. As you walk the streets you start to feel as if you went back in time to the Edo era. There's another street in this neighborhood that makes you feel as if you went back to the Taisho era as well. I did this sketch in brush and ink (using a yatate) and watercolor.


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Bentendo on Shinobazu pond, Tokyo (2)

This is another sketch of Bentendo on Shinobazu pond in Tokyo, this time in this smaller postcard format. I did this sketch in brush and ink (using a yatate) and watercolor.


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