Japannese Wood Block prints: Landscape edition
About Woodblock Prints or Ukiyo-e
Ukiyo-e, if you are not familiar, is a Japanese art form that was popular from 17th century to 19th century in the Edo region of Japan (now Tokyo). The Art is constructed by stamping many woodblocks on a textile to create an overall pictures. Ukiyo means floating world, and e means picture, so they were literally “pictures of the floating world.” They generally depicted daily life, landscapes, and beautiful people.
Ukiyoe prints are some of the most famous pieces of artwork from Japan. Almost everyone has, at one time, seen Hokusai’s “Big Wave” print featured above. And portraits of the kabuki actors tend to crop up whenever a Japanese themed picture is needed. The sharp contrasts of the images have a distinct style and have probably done a lot to influence manga artists of today. (http://jlptbootcamp.com/2015/06/5-things-to-know-to-become-an-ukiyo-e-master/)
How are they made
To create a Ukiyo-e art print, an image was carved in reverse onto woodblocks, covered in ink, and then pressed onto paper.
At first, all prints were produced in black and white. Famous Artists OKatsushika Hokusai produced color woodblock prints by using one block for each color, a very complex process.
There had to be a key-block made for the outlines and one block for each color. In addition, the number of impressions that can be produced from one block is quite limited, so many blocks had to be made for a large run of prints. (http://emptyeasel.com/2008/04/24/a-brief-history-of-japanese-art-prints-also-known-as-ukiyo-e/)
The Art characteristics of Ukiyo-e, including its exaggerated foreshortening, asymmetry of design (composition), areas of flat (unshaded) colour, ie lack of value and graphic outlining.
Ukiyos subject matter focused on the ordinary things of life. Appreciated for its bright colour and decorativeness, its images frequently depicted a narrative, and included animals, birds and landscapes, as well as people from the lower social classes, like courtesans, sumo wrestlers and Kibuki actors.
The Great Wave
Katsushika Hokusai’s Under the Wave off Kanagawa, also called The Great Wave has became one of the most famous works of art in the world—and debatably the most iconic work of Japanese art.
The most eye-catching feature of the painting is the extended wave as it is about to break with the crash of its claw-like crest. The beautiful dark blue pigment used by Hokusai, called Prussian Blue, was a new material at the time, imported from England through China. The wave is about to strike the boats as if it were an enormous monster, one which seems to symbolise the irresistible force of nature and the weakness of human beings.
Inspired by the art of Ukiyo-e , students will choose a Landscape photography picture to create a vector artwork where they will mock tthe characteristics of Ukiyo-e , (outline, low shading, bold coloring, nature theme, and assymetric design. )