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Sketches from Japan

Francis D. K. Ching

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ISBN 10: 047136360X / ISBN 13: 9780471363606
Published by Wiley, 2000
Condition: Good Hardcover
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Bibliographic Details

Title: Sketches from Japan

Publisher: Wiley

Publication Date: 2000

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition: Good

About this title


"Drawing stimulates the mind to think and can make visible those aspects which cannot be seen by the naked eye or captured on film by a camera." - From the Introduction to Sketches from Japan
The art of the travel sketchbook from one of the world's most talented graphic communicators.
Following in the footsteps of such creative geniuses as Leonardo da Vinci and Le Corbusier, designers and artists often keep visual notebooks of the new worlds they encounter in their travels. Sketches from Japan provides an intimate look at how one of today's most accomplished visual communicators, Francis D. K. Ching, documented a month's stay in Japan. Accomplished architects and novice artists alike will be inspired by the sheer beauty of Ching's ink drawings and by the journey that they represent.
Francis D. K. Ching (Seattle, WA) is a registered architect and a professor at the University of Washington. He is the author of six highly successful architecture books, all of which focus on the basic processes and forms of architectural design.


Sketches from Japan is the charming record of an eminent architect's visit to Tokyo and Kyoto. Each day Francis Ching would walk downtown, past temples and through residential districts, recording his visual impressions with a fine pen. He delights in the juxtapositions of old and new, hard-edged and organic, plain and richly textured, that are nowhere more striking than in a modern Japanese city. His freehand line drawings capture the essence of springtime Japan--more successfully than photographs, perhaps, through the isolation of elements and elimination of details inherent in the sketching process. The dark wood of an ancient gateway is emphasized by drawing the surrounding trees only in profile; the shaggy outline of a thatch roof suggests its straw surface as clearly as a completed study. The artist places each drawing in context with a few articulate sentences; he includes some gentle lessons on drawing and geometry, but the text is not didactic. The intimacy of many of the scenes--small interiors, architectural details, people strolling down narrow streets--is enhanced by the informality of the pen-and-ink medium. The monochromatic line treatment is in keeping with traditional Japanese sumi-ink drawings. The book also continues a tradition set by 18th-century haiku poets and artists such as Buson and Taiga, who recorded their journeys in combinations of diary and sketchbook. Sketches from Japan is a small-scale gem, and we can learn as much from it as from many more elaborate photographic studies and coffee-table books. --John Stevenson

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