Road to Master – Ukiyo-e bird and flower artist path – First entry

Hello, everyone and welcome to my first article about my path to master the art of drawing bird and flower in the Kacho-ga style.

I will start this article by talking about the legendary 10 000 hours needed to become an expert at something, in my case, an expert at drawing flowers.

10 000 hours to become a Ukiyo-e bird and flower artist.

After doing some research, I stumbled up on different articles about this 10 000 hours figure. It would appear that this idea first came out from a study report entitled “The Role of Deliberate Practice in the Acquisition of Expert Performance” by K. Anders Ericsson,Ralf Th. Krampe, and Clemens Tesch-Romer and in a second time, this idea was popularized in a book called “Outliers” by Malcolm Gladwell. With time passing by, both this study and this book got some criticism and inaccuracy pointed out (study criticism and book criticism).

Then, let’s create our own opinion about this 10 000 hours figure to become an expert at something. Well, I will tell you that I am not yet an expert at anything, but I am beginning to become good at some stuff, such as my job or my English skills.

From the dictionary an expert means “a person who is very knowledgeable about or skillful in a particular area”.

Then, you basically need to know a lot of stuff about a specific subject, such as in my case, flower names, species, color patterns, forms, famous Ukiyo-e Japanese artists, the history of Ukiyo-e, etc.
Plus, I will add from an artistic point of view, the ability to create art, therefore, the necessary skills to draw in this specific style, in the Kacho-ga style.

The next question is how to acquire this knowledge and skills then?

Well, in my opinion, you will need training and a lot of reading time. In my case, I will need to buy a lot of different books about Ukiyo-e, the art pieces created until now, the history of this art, where does it comes from, the different movement and phases, the style evolution, etc. As you can tell, it will take a lot of time to go through all these information and remember them. Yet, it will not take me 10 000 hours. From a rough estimation, I can guess around 100 hours to know most of it.

Then, there is the art in itself, the drawing techniques and art quality. For this part, this is the most difficult part of the job, because you will have to grind it into you to be good at it.

Sushis are great! Patience, devotion and passion.

dinner-dish-fish-sushiI can make an analogy with the Japanese way of becoming a sushi master (板前 Itamae). It seems that it takes around 20 years to become a sushi chef in japan, you start by helping the master as a waiter for 5 years, then you can be promoted to help the master with the rice, once mastered, you can prepare some ingredient for making the sushi, and finally, when you have mastered all these steps, the master may teach you the way to create a sushi. This is a very hard and long road in which you have to be very patient and passionate about sushi.

I think that art is the same thing, first of all, you have to look at a lot of art pieces made by the grand masters, look at them carefully, in every details, trying to understand how they created these art pieces. Once you have filled up your soul with these observations, you can start to draw, to draw the same flower, leaf or tree which the master has drawn.

Then, you will compare your drawing to the master art piece and you will say “I am not good at this”, then I will tell you “For sure, this is the first time you draw something”. Afterward, I will tell you “You will draw like the grand master; you just need three things patience, devotion and passion.” (This was a conversation with my-self at the time).

Because, you will have to look at a lot of art and draw them. A LOT OF THEM, like for myself, I presume I will be able to reach the intermediate level when I have drawn my 100th piece of art (I still have a long way to go (まだまだだね~(madamadadane~) As we say in Japanese)).
At my current pace, it takes me around 5 to 8 hours to finish a drawing from figuring out what I want to draw, finding good references, sketching, black and white version then, color version.
Therefore, with my 100th piece, I will be around 800 hours, plus 100 hours of book reading. Almost reaching the 10 000 hours figures, yet, I am pretty sure that I will still be very far from being a master at it. From my opinion, I think that it will take me around 20 years to master it.

Yep, this is a pretty long time; therefore, I am always telling to myself “No stress, you will get there in time”.

Website objectives

In this first entry about my road to master, I also want to talk about this website objective and his component.

First of all, I am thinking very long term about this art project; I decided to create a brand name for my artist path which is called Red Sparkle (name origin in this article about me).

With this brand name, I decided to create a website for show casing my art to whoever wants to look at it, but also to shear myself to continue to draw and share my passion. In this blog website, I will talk about Ukiyo-e, Japanese art and history, Kacho-ga style, wood block printing technics. I plan to also show case Ukiyo-e past and present artist.

To resume my task list:
– Blog about Ukiyo-e
– Blog about Ukiyo-e artist
– Blog about Kacho-ga style
– Blog about Japanese art
– Blog about Japanese flower art
– Blog about Japanese history

In doing so, I will be able to learn a lot about the Ukiyo-e world and share these information in a blog form.

For website touring visitor

When you have finished reading this introduction about myself, please, take a look at my portfolio.

AkaiHibana - RedSparkleArt- Author-Painter-ukiyo-e artist- kachoga artist


AkaiHibana is a young artist with the objective to master the art of drawing Ukiyo-e bird and flower (花鳥画 – Kacho-ga).