Between Brisbane and Japan, some whimsy and Dan (All contents © Dan Ryan, unless noted)

“Nihonnohin”—A small nonsensical drawing I did once

What it is is a palindrome, and hopefully not some heinously offensive word in Japanese.  See, I used to draw quite a bit, but nothing all that great or accomplished. I’ve never had any formal art training, and it shows. For example, if you look at the drawing below, you’ll see that the banners with the Japanese text on them are flying the wrong way over the heads of the samurai. At least, those are supposed to be samurai heads. And the business ends of decorated yari (spears).


Anyway, this is one of my favorite drawings I have ever done, so I figured I should post it and tell its story. It comes from a sketchbook I used and completely filled a long, long time ago, after I lived in Japan and had been in California for a few years. The Canadian woman I dated for a time in Tokyo gave the blank book to me. The simple but beautiful leather-bound, Japanese-made sheaf is the only thing of any weight or substance that survived the relationship.

Picture 1649

This is the sketchbook▲, currently sitting on my desk waiting for me to do something with it. I’m currently reading A Drifting Life by Japanese mangaka (comics artist) Yoshihiro Tatsumi, and found in that story some inspiration, if not courage, to dust off and promote my old drawing work, and perhaps get a new sketchbook in order to create new work.

Hmmm, leafing through the sketchbook again. There are actually some good graphic design ideas in here. Stay tuned.

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