Instructor Introduction Part 1 - Etegami Basics
It has been 50 years since the hobby called “Etegami” was born in Japan. In the beginning, there were only a few people who practiced this hobby, but its popularity has grown exponentially; now, there are around 2 million people in Japan alone that practice this type of art.
Handwriting letters have always been a big part of Japanese culture. Those like Instructor Hanashiro felt that letters would be more interesting with hand-drawn pictures to go with them. This thought process eventually led to the conception of Etegami. Etegami is a form of pictorial letter, which focuses on the drawing, while also including a short message along with the drawing. The drawing and message are usually drawn/written together on one postcard. Instructor Hanashiro was paramount in helping Etegami become a country-wide phenomenon.
The reason that Instructor Hanashiro started to delve into Etegami was as a result of her husband’s relocation due to work. She followed her husband to a new city, leaving behind her mother, who had been living with them previously. In order to keep in touch with her mother, Instructor Hanashiro began sending her mother letters along with drawings of her new surroundings, such as flowers and scenery. Later, Instructor Hanashiro learned about Etegami, and switched over to sending her mother Etegami by combining the drawing and message. When her husband had to move again due to his work and live separately from her, she began to correspond with her husband using Etegami as well.
Instructor Hanashiro found out about Etegami through a famous Etegami instructor named Mr. Koike. Through working with Mr. Koike, Instructor Hanashiro’s Etegami works were eventually displayed at a local post office as a special exhibition; the post office saw her work while delivering them and was intrigued by them. The Japanese media became interested in the exhibition, and soon Instructor Hanashiro and her Etegami were featured on several television programs. After seeing Instructor Hanashiro on television, many of the citizens of Japan became enamored with Etegami, and Etegami hobbyists began popping up everywhere in a very short amount of time. This is one of the reasons that fans of Etegami has increased to nearly 2 million people.
One of the things that Instructor Hanashiro has noticed among her students during her many years of teaching is that a large amount of people think that they cannot draw. And that in most cases, it’s not that they cannot draw, it is that they don’t try to. That’s why Instructor Hanashiro always tells her new students the same thing: “You are not drawing on a big canvas; it is only a small postcard. Therefore, you shouldn’t feel any pressure. And the most important thing: the subject of your drawing can be whatever you want it to be.” Students that understand her words produce Etegami that is full of uniqueness and warmth that can only be achieved through drawing in Etegami form.
Using a brush, which can be an unstable medium, to draw the outlines of the picture adds flavor, and adding a short message along with the drawing completes your personal, inimitable Etegami. Those who love pictures and drawings, but who lack the confidence to actually draw, will find that drawing Etegami is a great confidence booster. Of course, it doesn’t hurt to study the drawing techniques used to create Etegami beforehand, to give you an edge. It is because Etegami is so simple and easy to start, that so many people have fallen in love with it, and it continues to attract a large following to this day. It only takes a short time to create Etegami; many people create them while taking a break from their daily routines as a way to destress. The fact that it doesn’t require much of your time and attention makes it that much easier to continue as a hobby. Etegami is perfect for those that want a lifelong hobby.
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