Monday, August 4, 2014

My Second Alphabet

So, I've started on my "free choice" alphabet.  I've tried some of the ideas before but never progressed beyond a few sketches.  I'm using a Japanese theme focusing on traditional Japanese objects etc.  It's fairly hard to fit all the letters in as the Japanese syllabary does not contain some of the sounds we have in the Roman alphabet - "L" for instance, so I have to do a bit of creative interpretation.  I plan a book with the letter on one page and the explanation facing.  So here is A.

The font is Polo, which I like for its fluidity and vague Oriental look.  The paper is a lovely smooth Zerkal and the letter and illustration painted with gouache.

My first four letters:

A is for AKACHOUCHIN which is a large red paper lantern hung outside a drinking establishment to show they are open.
 B is for BONSAI which is a plant or tree which has been trained to grow in miniature
 C is for CHABANA, a simple flower decoration used for the tea room for a tea ceremony.  The letter C is only used to transliterate the CH sound.  K is used for other C sounds.
D is for DARUMA.  The word comes from DHARMA and the doll represents Bodhidharma who sat for nine years in meditation and lost the use of his legs.  Thus the rounded bottom of the Daruma. It is considered as a symbol of perseverance and thus a charm for achievement.


  1. Love this! It is so striking and full of interest. I'm looking forward to seeing the rest...

  2. What a lovely alphabet your composition is beautiful. I'm currently interested in all things Japanese and this is both beautiful and informative.

  3. I am catching up with things after being away. I learn so much on this blog! And now to learn more about Japanese culture! Look forward to it.

  4. Thanks for the comments. It's proving quite a challenge to get suitable images and I am learning quite a bit too.


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