I recently came across an interesting book, The Hokasai Manga. Given Hokusai was born in 1760, he was certainly ahead of his time when it comes to a current definition of manga, although at that time it simply meant “sketches”. Sketches they certainly are, all 3,900 of them.
Here is a sketch of a carp I adapted from one of his works in the book (Gyoran Kannon).
I’ve always loved his masterpiece The Great Wave off Kanagawa, and in particular his views on mastery, as espoused by the following words:
“At the age of five years I had the habit of sketching things. At the age of fifty I had produced a large number of pictures, but for all that, none of them had any merit until the age of seventy. At seventy-three finally I learned something about the true nature of things, birds, animals, insects, fish, the grasses and the trees. So at the age of eighty years I will have made some progress, at ninety I will have penetrated the deepest significance of things, at a hundred I will make real wonders and at a hundred and ten, every point, every line, will have a life of its own..”
Beautiful eh? Talk about taking the long view.. makes a refreshing change to the 10,000 hour maketh an expert concept, which translates to about five full-time years. That would make one but an infant in Hokusai’s book!
P.S. For more musing on these subjects, see an earlier two-part post – Flow, Meaning & A State of Grace.