Some more drawings from a old stash of travel sketches. These are from Japan, 1987.
When I did these, I’d just got off the ferry from Taiwan (via Okinawa) where I had been supervising animation layouts in Taipei. After a few months of tropical heat and hectic animation production schedules, it was refreshing to be in the snowy, cool winter of Japan.
It was especially lovely to have arrived to Tokyo in time for the New Year, which the Japanese do very nicely. There were many beautiful kimonos on display. I had not been prepared for the charming sight of Kimonos in the snow, thinking that was a thing of the past or merely a display for tourism pamphlets. But that’s exactly what I saw when I arrived. It was exciting to finally be in Tokyo. I’d wanted to visit Japan for years, and in December 1986, I finally did. These first few sketches were drawn while watching a play in Tokyo. A friend made on my earlier Taiwan assignment, Sean Newton, was coincidentally working in Tokyo. Even more coincidentally, the studio he was working at was 15 minutes walk from my guest house.
In a city as big as Tokyo, that was really remarkable luck for me to have a comrade so close by. Especially one who likes sketching, and does it so well as Sean. We went out drawing the Tokyo sights together several times in my first weeks in Japan.
I was in tourist mode, exploring Tokyo every day while Sean had to work. We got together during his down time, for the occasional sketch session. At Tokyo Zoo, or in this case, at the Kabuki-za Theatre in Ginza, which I have vivid memories of. We also sketched at a Noh play. I’m told it is the more highfaluting theatrical form, but Kabuki was more spectacular and colorful, purely from a visual point of view.
Tokyo is one of my favourite cities to explore and get lost in, but eventually even I had to move on. I had a Japan rail pass burning a hole in my pocket, and had to use it or lose it, so I hit the road.
13 thoughts on “More Travel Sketches: Tokyo”
Oh yes, Japan is the best.
Cool. I am envious of the time you got to spend in Japan.
Looking forward to seeing your book at Wonder-Con!
Another nice sketch from your Tokyo era, Jamie!
I don’t think I’ve seen much of your life drawing. Great sketches.
Amber>> Yeah I don’t do life-sketches so much any more. I have been scanning OLD stuff and posting them up on here. You can see ome earlier posts (also from my time in TOKYO) HERE and HERE
I love these sketches!
I’d really never done sketching from real life (as opposed to doodling) until I started traveling, so these here are among my earliest..
Well that was a fun visit! Thanks Jamey!
They’re fantastic James!… Wondering if they were around the time we had our joy ride through the Cahill Expressway with Kenny at the wheel…. Side ways… Fried eggs for eyes!
Ah yes, the HELL RIDE TO COOGEE, with Kev’s Spag Bol as a prize at the end. That was about ’84, I think. These are ’87.
I’m off to Japan in October. You’ve inspired me to draw my trip. I’ll be sure to share my sketches Cheers Jimmy
That’s great, Eddy! You’ll have a fantastic time.