Senshafuda Project - design evolution
Posted by Dave Bull at 6:50 AM, March 10, 2011 [Permalink]
Although not moving along quite as quickly as I would have liked, progress on the senshafuda project is happening. Part of the reason for the slowness is that none of the people involved but me really have a clear idea of what it is that we are trying to build.
Designer Kaori Seki, although plenty experienced at doing illustration work for other formats, doesn't yet have a good concept of what makes a good design for a print. (This is not a criticism of course, just a statement of the fact ...) And it has been quite difficult for me to explain in words just what it is that I want her to produce. If I could draw it, I wouldn't need her!
Here, for example, is how we have progressed on one of the three designs ... I had given her the mandate to include something 'contemporary' in the set, and she came up with the idea of doing something on the new Sky Tree that is currently being built here in Tokyo. Just the other day, construction progressed to the point where the structure is now the tallest in the world, and it is very much in our news. Here's the first sketch she sent in:
Contemporary this is ... not only the SkyTree, but the crowd of people shooting it on their cellphones! Problem though, there is just too much tiny detail; all the impact is lost, not to mention difficulty in carving/printing. So she came back with the next version - the crowd gone:
Better, but still too 'detailed'. I realized we don't have to show the SkyTree twice, do we ... And I'm also not so partial to the typical Japanese cellphones, with all their tiny buttons ... So the suggestion on which way to take it was a no-brainer, and she quickly replied with:
Now it's looking much better! I told her to work this one up and get it to the next stage, and she came back with this:
Cool! We're nearly there I think. One little problem though, is with the stylized clouds. I think that quite a lot of the people who will be purchasing these senshafuda will be people also collecting my current print series - the Mystique of the Japanese Print - and the most recent print in that set is also by Seki-san, and look at the highlight in the water ...
I'd rather that people didn't start to think she was a 'one-trick' designer, so asked her to think of something else for the 'cloud'. The rest of the image is fairly realistic, so perhaps a more 'natural' cloud would be suitable? She just sent me a sketch with some sample clouds:
I'm meeting her tomorrow (to do the signing of the latest batch of copies of the Urashima Taro print), and we'll sit down and decide which way to go with this. (Should some of the clouds perhaps intrude in front of the tower perhaps?)
So that's where we are at just now; the three designs will be nailed down tomorrow and she should have the sen-gaki in my hands by the weekend. Calligrapher Tauchi-san has been watching over our shoulders as this process has moved forward, and tells me that she has some good titles/lettering worked out for these, using literary allusions that are way over my head, but which should please at least the Japanese collectors. Once I get these components in hand, I'll quickly prepare the thin tracing for carving, and get that off to waiting carver Sato-san, along with some pieces of wood.
Later on, perhaps I'll share some of the process for the other two designs in the set, but for now, let's keep them under wraps!
One more thing to share with you. A couple of days after Seki-san drew the iPhone version of this design for me, I opened up my newspaper and found this image:
That's our idea! We'll sue!
This thread continues here ...
Added by: Dale on March 11, 2011 11:04 AM
Dave, a perfect example of life imitating art!
Who can wait for you to get the website ready to sign up for the purchase of these interesting prints...sign me up!
Added by: Dave on March 12, 2011 9:17 PM
sign me up ...
Well, no signing necessary ... but sure, I'll start keeping a list for when I get the order page ready. Thanks for the interest!
At present my thinking is that I'll be adding these to the Mokuhankan catalogue the day we get the first test prints off the blocks, ready for scanning.
These are not intended to be on a 'subscription' basis, but simply single items in the catalogue. But I guess there are probably going to be people wanting to get them 'all' (or at least the four seasonal sets planned) so I guess I'll have to work out a system for that too ...
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