Tag Archives: etegami

Etegami (sort of) Three

I made a few postcards in April, 2022, inspired by a class I was taking at the time that compared Eastern and Western art. I was thinking of the scrolls I had seen in class that contained poetry and artwork.

I drew on the tradition of etegami to guide me, doing a loose interpretation by illustrating a haiku (written by me) rather than including a simple phrase, but I stuck with the idea of mail art, spontaneous art work, and something pleasant that a person would like to receive in the mail.

This is the third and last postcard I made in this small series.

I used India ink and a bamboo brush, and I painted the colors with gouache. It’s done on a watercolor paper postcard.

Etegami (sort of) Two

I made a few postcards in April, 2022, inspired by a class I was taking at the time that compared Eastern and Western art. I was thinking of the scrolls I had seen in class that contained poetry and artwork.

I drew on the tradition of etegami to guide me, doing a loose interpretation by illustrating a haiku (written by me) rather than including a simple phrase, but I stuck with the idea of mail art, spontaneous art work, and something pleasant that a person would like to receive in the mail.

This is the second postcard I made.

I used India ink and a bamboo brush, and I painted the colors with gouache. It’s done on a watercolor paper postcard.

Etegami (sort of) One

I made this postcard in April, 2022, inspired by a class I was taking at the time that compared Eastern and Western art. I was thinking of the scrolls I had seen in class that contained poetry and artwork.

I decided to draw on the tradition of etegami to guide me. I’ve done a somewhat loose interpretation, by illustrating a haiku (written by me) rather than including a simple phrase, but I stuck with the idea of mail art, spontaneous art work, and something pleasant that a person would like to receive in the mail.

Here is the first one:

I used India ink and a bamboo brush, and I painted the colors with gouache. It’s done on a watercolor paper postcard.

Postcard and Photo

A couple of days ago I posted a photo of sun hanging low in the sky over an industrial landscape, taken in December, 2019.

I liked the image. I used it as the inspiration for an etegami postcard, made in March, 2020.

Here they are together.

Yes and No

I was interested in the idea of etegami, a form of Japanese mail art. I bought some paper meant for this subject, postcard-sized and very soft. Following my version of the technique, I drew the figures in India ink.

Then I used watery acrylic paints to color the images.

I was not having a good time with this project. The paper is very soft, I think I said that! and I tend to scrub at my surfaces with my brush. Oh dear, the paper began to pill. I let the images dry, very sorry for hurting them.

The next step would be to write something on each card, a few words. I just did not feel like doing that, so I left them blank.

I am not going to do etegami, I decided. I’ll just do these.

I will say I like the philosophy behind etegami-making: anyone can do it and imperfection is welcome.

More Cards Inspired by Etegami

Here are some more postcards inspired by etegami, like the cats I did around the same time as these pieces. Here I took a word from the dictionary pages I used to cover the ad cards that form the background of the pictures. (That is, except for the picnic table – that’s a thought right out of my head, as I looked at my real-world picnic table in my back yard, all covered with leaves…).

It’s funny how a random word seems to fit the pictures I assign it to – I notice this again and again.

Cats Take to the Road

A short time ago I received a card from a mail art friend featuring a drawing she had done in the style of etegami. I did not know anything about etegami so I looked it up. It seems it’s not a hard and fast tradition, such as haiku with its prescribed number of syllables, but the form has a general set of guidelines to follow. It’s the process of creating a picture of an ordinary, everyday subject, drawn or painted quickly and freely, accompanied by a written message – any kind of message, poem, quote, etc. Usually it is done in the postcard size, and it’s meant to be sent, not sold. It’s something like an artist trading card in that it carries good wishes and greetings in a visual form to someone else, freely given.

So I made these cat-subject etegami-inspired pieces. They are larger than the postcard size – I did them on ad cards, typically 8″ x 5″ or about that. I glued pages from the dictionary on to the cards to give me a fairly plain surface, and then I used acrylic paints, watered down, for the drawings. The dictionary paper takes this watery paint very well and allows for quick and light strokes.

I chose cats as my subject because we have three of them at my house and they are certainly an everyday sight for me!

Once I finished these cards, I sent them all to my son, all on the same day, from different mailboxes. No reason, just thought they might all like to go out into the world together since that’s how they started off.