Draw, Draw, Draw!

So far on Haikucomics, we have covered the motivation for this project, chosen the folklore that the story will be based on, and learned to incorporate elements of haiku in the comic medium. Now that all the ingredients have been laid out, it’s time to start cooking! The marathon of sketching and thumbnailing began as I alternated between working in the studio and drawing on location, intertwined with frequent visits to the library.

The sketches started in the summer of 2011 on a drawing trip to San Francisco, during a visit to the Japanese Tea Garden at the Golden Gate Park.

After returning to Vancouver, I found out that we have a Japanese garden in our city as well! Needless to say I was thrilled to take advantage of the Nitobe Garden at University of British Columbia.

The most difficult part was trying to figure out to what new direction I’d take the old folklore. On this, I meditated for months.

At one point I put a snake and a hare in the story to symbolize the early stages of the protagonist’s spiritual journey.

At another point the whole comic was one loonnnggg scroll – an idea I’m still quite fond of.

While drawing at the Nitobe Garden, the many visitors there with their fancy professional cameras gave me the idea that the main character should be a photographer, with his camera symbolizing the bow, since both items require the act of ‘shooting’. Plus, what’s a better symbol for memory (of his lost wife) than a camera?

After many many rounds of sketches and thumbnails, A Beloved Wife, a Bow, a White Bird finally began to look like the way it does today.

Having read and learned about haiku poetry, I decided to mimic its signature 17-syllable format by making the comic 17 pages long, with a break at the fifth and twelfth page, and a stylistic change after the twelfth page acting as the ‘cut’ in haiku poems.

With the pagination and thumbnails laid out, the next step is to focus and execute! Next time on Haikucomics I will show off some things I did that makes this project a little different from other comics in the execution process. Stay tuned!

“We Need Emotional Content”

“What was that, an exhibition? We need emotional content. …not anger!”

-Bruce Lee

Here’s some candy for your brain, courtesy of an often overlooked philosopher in Bruce Lee. In fact, there’s a lot more where this one came from. For an artist, there’s no better way to meditate on it than drawing!

Happy Friday everybody!

Haiku + Comics = Haikucomics!

After taking a crash course in the art of haiku poetry, it was then time to try to make my own haiku poem! I took myself to Vancouver’s Nitobe Japanese Garden for inspiration. One of the things I like best about this place is how it looks so vastly different during different seasons of the year. This makes the garden the perfect place to compose a haiku poem, which typically includes a seasonal theme.

Leafs mostly green

Reflected in the pond…

Hmm… it appears that seven words into my poetry career, I have encountered my first writer’s block. Submerged in deep thoughts, I was unpleasantly disturbed by loud noises of children laughing and hollering. A lady was walking by with her two boys of roughly four and five as the kids shouted excitedly at the sight of the koi fish in the pond: “Owange, mommy, look – owange!” Orange? Yes, that’s it! Orange! What genius!

Leafs mostly green

Reflected in the pond –

And orange fish!

And there it was, my first haiku poem! A little off on the syllable count, but I think I represented the haiku spirit pretty well for a first timer, and that’s what’s important! Now that I have composed my first haiku poem, it’s time to start translating haiku into comics.


For starters, here are some thumbnails that represent the attempt to translate the 5-7-5 haiku rhythm and the “cut” that happens at the fifth or twelfth syllable into the language of comics (refer here for a quick refresher):

Using these thumbnails, I went to work at the Japanese Garden as I tried to translate the haiku I composed earlier into comics, with pictures and words:

Viola – “Haikucomics!” And here’s one more:

At this point I felt almost ready to begin work on A Beloved Wife, a Bird, a White Bow. Stay tuned to find out what happened next!