A love for drawing, a history of Asia, we will try to explain how drawing and illustration has been in a long time history linked to Asian culture.
Chinese paintings refer to any form of painting originating from China or Chinese artists outside of China. The most celebrated is the traditional Chinese paint on rolls which comes in various vertical or horizontal formats and the support can be in silk or paper. But there are also many paintings on silk or paper fan. But Chinese art allows itself to use a multitude of media for painting like mural (palaces and temples) or also ceramics. The traditional functions of painting are many: ritual, religious, ornamental but also for entertainment, educational or poetic.
Before the empire, most of paintings are made on potteries and turtle shelves but it really was under the empire (221 BC – 1912) that traditional Chinese paintings appeared. There was an important religious painting in temples and other places like tombs. There was also an erotic painting in China, which begins to be better known than before.
After the end of the empire, more and more young Chinese students traveled to Europe in purpose to improve and diversify their style. They brought a comeback of Chinese paintings and added western features. This influence of western painting grows on a part of Chinese painters, notably via Russian school under the people’s republic of china, while retaining arts in traditional lines. During 21st century, contemporary painting is ubiquitous in china.
Types of painting.
They are classified into three major groups:
Characters: Always represents one person, a group or a genre scene which depicts aspects of everyday life by portraying ordinary people engaged in common activities.
Landscape [Shanshui]: it presents natural landscapes, not urban, and is always paint with calligraphic descriptions.
Flowers and birds [Huaniao Hua]
But it is really important to understand that these categories have to be heard in the broad sense. For example, the character painting includes a large number of forms that integrate the human figure. It means that the categories do not necessarily includes specifics forms of characters, of birds or flowers.
The Emakinomo is an illustrated and horizontal narrative system which took place between the 8th and 16th century. First based on the Chinese pieces – it quickly distinguished itself to have a strict japanese style from the 11th century. It combines calligraphy with illustrations, most of the time painted, drawn or stamped on a paper or silk roll up to several meters. They often depict battles, religion, romance, stories of the supernatural world [Yokai] and folk tales. This different stories are written from right to left and can cover one to three scrolls, a regular handscroll measure 30 centimeters in height and 9 to 12 meters in length.
One of the most celebrated Emakimono is the “Genji Monogatari Emaki” ( made around 1130). It illustrates Muraski Shikibu’s novel “The Tale of Genji”. The japanese novelist and poet at the Imperial court written it between 1000 and 1012 and tell the life and loves of a man Hikaru Genji at the Heian court (794 to 1185).
The genji monogatari is considered as the first novel of the japanese history. The classicism and precision of the tale it depicts clearly how educated was the Heian court.
The Ukyoe genre of art (that we can translate by “pictures of the floating word”) started during Edo period, from the 17th century to the establishment of Meiji in 1868. The concept focused in describing the hedonistic lifestyle in the city with many productions of woodblock prints and paintings. The city was famous for entertainments : kabuki theater, courtesans, sumo wrestlers, erotica and geisha of the pleasure districts. The printed and painted ukiyo-e images from this period were popular with the merchant class who had become wealthy enough to afford to decorate their homes with them.
One of the first artists known for popularizing the genre of ukiyu-e was Hishikawa Moronobu with paintings and monochromatic prints of beautiful women. The use of colors did not take place immediately. It became an essential standard after 1760 with the success of some Harunobu’s productions. The genre known its golden age during the 19th century with extraordinary artists and achievements. Among the most famous were Hokusai and its Great Wave Off Kanagawa or Hiroshige and its series of The Fifty-three Stations of the Tokaido. However, the genre experienced an inexorable decline just after the death of the two prominent artists. The development of more efficient printing tools, and the birth of a new genre of short strip with image which will become the Manga.
A masterpiece of Ukyoe : The wave of Kanagawa.
The Great Wave off Kanagawa (or The Great Wave), as said before, is a woodblock print by Hokusai. He published it between 1829 and 1833 in his series Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji. This series of landscape depicts the mount from different locations and in various seasons and weather conditions. It is his most famous work and one of the most celebrated piece of Japanese art in the world. It is also one of the most reproduced and recognized artwork in the world thanks to the Meji Restoration in 1868. Japan became open to imports from the west and many pieces of art came to Europe and America. It influenced many western artists and helped them to better understand Japanese art. This is more true for a lot of western impressionists such as Manet, Monet, Van Gogh and “Art Nouveau” artists like Toulouse-Lautrec.
The image shows an gigantic wave threatening boats off the coast of the prefecture of Kanagawa (southern Kanto region and part of the greater Tokyo Area).
Funny fact: it was not the first time that Hokusai created this kind of woodblock. Two later prints have subjects identical to the Great Wave: a boat is in the midst of a storm and a great wave will devour it.
Cultural drawing accessories
Asian rice paper is known for great strength and durability. It has a white, soft yet rough surface ideal for woodcut or lino block printing, calligraphy and drawing. Composed of very resistant fibers, it is perfect for Chinese brush painting, inkjet-printing, calligraphy, rubbing, stamping or collage.
Perfect for painting or for calligraphy.
A stamp is used for signatures in personal documents, office paperwork, contracts, art, or any item requiring acknowledgement or authorship.
Modernity and drawing.
Art of drawing in Asia didn’t disappear with the end of ukyoe, it even never been so powerful in one Japanese word : Manga, with a cousin branch named Manhua in south Korea, and an other one in China.
Manga a new contemporary world.
The birth of Manga.
The japanese manga industry started to spread its influence to the world from the 80’s with early famous successes as Akira, written by Katsuhiro Otomo, or a bit later Dragon Ball from Akira Toriyama, which definitely installed manga “shonen” culture in the everyday life of childrens around the world.
Manga spiritual fathers.
Osamu Tezuka [1928 – 1989].
A Japanese manga artist, cartoonist, animator, film producer, medical doctor and activist. His influence , his prolific output , pioneering techniques and innovative redefinition of genres earned him to be considered as the Japanese equivalent of Walt Disney, “the father of manga”, “godfather of manga” and nothing less than “god of manga”.
He founded the studios Mushi Productions and Tezuka Productions. The first japanese animeted series were designed with Astro Boy (1963) and the first colored series King Leo (1965).
He was a true pioneer but above all a source of comfort and hope since 1947 (creation of his first manga “New Treasure Island”) for many young japanes people who lost enormously at the end of World War 2. One of his best achievement was the creation in 1952 of Astro Boy who will mark generations.
Katsuhiro Otomo 
A cartoonist, screenwriter and director of animated films. He is famous for being the creator of Akira and for Steamboy. Also, he created the screenplay of Metropolis, the adaptation of an Osamu Tezuka’s manga in 2001.
His masterpiece Akira and his cinematographic adaptation completely changed the manga and the vision of western people for it. Otomo and his creation were noticed by all the critics and professionals in the world. Akira was translated in the United States in 1988 at a time when the manga was almost unknown outside of Japan. It was the beginning of Japanese comics recognition in the English speaking world.
Akira Toriyama 
He is a manga artist specially known for the creation of Dr Slump but most important for the Dragon Ball universe on which he worked from 1984 to 1995. He draws 42 volumes and about 200 pages each. It became a huge success and is steel considered as one of the most popular and successful manga in the world. Akira sold more than 240 million copies worldwide, it is the second best-selling manga and is one of the main reasons for the period when manga circulation was at its highest in the 1980s and 1990s. The adaptation in anime was a great success too and boosted anime’s popularity in the western world.
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Eiichiro Oda [born in 1975]
He is the creator of One Piece (1997), the most important best-selling manga of all history with 416 million copies in circulation worldwide.The popularity of the manga is so important in Japan than a lot of volumes broke the highest first print mark (any kind of book). He is now considered as one of the manga artists that changed the history of manga.
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Hajime Isayama 
The creator of a recent, but already cult, manga: Attack on Titan. Started in 2009, the manga has got already more than 66 million copies in circulation and is considered as one of the most acclaimed Japanese book in the world.
A love for drawing among the public.
Pixiv.net / Devianart /
Manabu, etc …
Modern drawing accessories
The japanese love for drawing brings to the world a new kind of drawing assistant specialized to display actions between person, well adapted to animations, and or drawing.
Body Kun, Body Chan.
Two figures were created for helping amateur and professional drawers in their work. With a female and male aspect, they are respectively called Body Chan and Body Kun. After their decorative aspect and their aestheticism (for recent version – DX) and for a few other uses that professionals can find, their main utility is concentrated in more than 30 joints. These joints are able to create almost identical movements as those of a real human being for a perfect realism.
It is with no doubts a must have because it will facilitate the work without a human model thanks to its morpho-realistic appearance.
The former version is slightly stiffer and comes without accessories. But with more details on the body and the face, it sometimes appeals more than DX version.
The DX version has more types of hand and accessories in purpose to find, once again, more possibilities.
Dolk – because we desperately love them.
Dolk is an extremely delightful and articulated figure which is composed of 80 joints. It is realistic and very aesthetic. Also very expensive ($320) and available in a low quantity in stock, it is only for sale on the creator’s website. But its possibilities of movements are so incredible that if you have the possibilities to get it, do not hesitate.
See on our Shop