Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Tokyo Crawl with Kumi-san

Hi Urban Sketchers! My name is Asuka and I live in Brisbane, Australia. This is my first blog post, so, here goes! 

I have been really lucky to sketch or catch up with some nice people through this  group and Sketchcrawl, such as: Chris, Alissa, JJ in Brisbane; Aurora in Sevilla; Dave in Vancouver and now Kumi-san in Tokyo! Thanks to Ms Liz for connecting me to Chris, Alissa and JJ. 

I was in Tokyo for work and was lucky enough to have a Saturday free. I started in Shinjuku Gyoen (A$2) to kill some time before catching up with the wonderful Kumi-san who was kind enough to come out to Tokyo for a Sketchcrawl

We met in Ginza in front of the WAKO building to a beautiful day in Tokyo. The council (?) had closed off the streets so we could sit on the bitumen road (below R). So many people of all ages came up to talk to us, or more accurately to talk to Kumi-san.  

Looking at Ginza Mitsukoshi from Le Cafe Doutor with Kumi sanGinza Chuou Doori with Kumi san

We had lunch at a curry house where Kumi-san demonstrated how to sketch your food ... and I learnt that it requires speed and willpower!

A short walk and a A$4 boat ride dropped us off in front of the Poo and the Beer Glass Building (Asahi Beer Hall) near the Tokyo Sky Tree. I studied a couple of civil engineering subjects on truss design and the Sky Tree was a breathtaking structure. The cross-section starts as a triangle at the base and morphs into a circle at the base of the observation deck and is the tallest building after the Burj Khalifa (below R).   

Tokyo Sky Tree with Wonda

We did a final sketch from the cafe looking towards the Tokyo Tower but I couldn't get the sparkly effect that I wanted (below L). However, I enjoyed moving the paint around for the night sky with a bit of white left for the star.  

Tokyo Tower from Tokyo sky treeFrom the hotel

Thanks to Kumi-san for making it an amazing day of sketching, talking, eating, learning in Tokyo!

Please take the time to check out Kumi-san's blog (in Japanese) or Kumi-san's Flickr (in English and Japanese). I love how she captures the mood/energy in her sketches. 

The rest of my sketches are on Flickr.


  1. Hi Auska! Welcome! Great to have you on board and wonderful wonderful sketching in Tokyo.
    I was wondering why your street scenes looked so empty. You really capture a lot with your loose confident washes!!
    Looking forward to some Brisbane sketches!!!

  2. Hi Asuka-san,
    It was great pleasure meeting you and have sketched almost non-stop all day long! You are so fun to talk with and I was so amazed by the beauty of watercolor as well as the speed you drew. ( I'm the one who is impatient and draw quickly, yet you did great job without sloppy look in your works in same speed) Hope we have more chance to sketch / travel sometime in the future!


  3. Thanks Liz for all the support! I hope to sketch with you ... somewhere!

    Many Thanks Kumi-san, for being a patient teacher, fun sketch partner, and kind person. Thanks also for the Cherry Blossom postcard and sharing the story that goes with it - it's hanging at work and gives me a smile! My challenge this year is to inject some mood in the sketches!

    I hope you both enjoy sketching together in Barcelona!


  4. Wonderful sketches Asuka. Your style captures so much and the commentary is so interesting about day and travels around with Kumi. You are very fortunate to have met so many Urban Sketchers in others cities. I am very happy that we sketched in Brisbane.

    My favourite is the Sky Tree. The perspective is amazing

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