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The Old Man Mad about Drawing: A Tale of Hokusai

Overview

In 1993, François Place's The Last Giants was universally acclaimed a work of great, if heartbreaking, originality. In this recent effort, he brings to life the immortal Japanese illustrator and printmaker Hokusai. And just as he made real the "land of the giants," so he brings the reader into the swirling and vibrant world of Tokyo. Trained early as an engraver, Hokusai studied under the master Sunsho, producing illustrated volumes of verse. His first manga volume followed in 1814, after he abandoned the ...
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Overview

In 1993, François Place's The Last Giants was universally acclaimed a work of great, if heartbreaking, originality. In this recent effort, he brings to life the immortal Japanese illustrator and printmaker Hokusai. And just as he made real the "land of the giants," so he brings the reader into the swirling and vibrant world of Tokyo. Trained early as an engraver, Hokusai studied under the master Sunsho, producing illustrated volumes of verse. His first manga volume followed in 1814, after he abandoned the traditional style of engraving to perfect the technique of the colored woodcut, in what many consider his greatest work, The 36 Views of Mt Fuji. His life was unsettled, his marriages uncertain, and his business affairs irregular, but his energy was boundless. He left for posterity thousands of sketches and drawings, illustrated books and prints, saying—just before he died in 1889—"If heaven gives me ten more years (or even an extension of five), I shall certainly become a true artist."

Tojiro, a young seller of rice cakes in the Japanese capital of Edo, later known as Tokyo, is amazed to discover that the grumpy and shabby old man who buys his cakes is a famous artist renowned for his sketches, prints, and paintings of flowers, animals, and landscapes.

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 3-6-Tojiro, a nine-year-old orphan, sells rice cakes on the streets of 19th-century Edo, the bustling city we now call Tokyo. One of his customers is the grumpy, eccentric octogenarian Hokusai. The old man takes a liking to Tojiro, and soon employs him as his assistant. The boy's ignorance provides a convenient vehicle for introducing the artist's life and work. Much of the dialogue and action is too obviously written for the purpose of conveying information about Hokusai, as well as the technique of woodblock printing and the social customs of Edo. The book's greatest strength is not the text, but the art that enlivens every page. A combination of the author's watercolors and reproductions of Hokusai's drawings and woodblock prints, the illustrations are arranged in enticing and varied page designs. Place's detailed paintings, clearly influenced by Hokusai, but with a life that is all their own, depict the action of the story. The reproductions allow readers to discover the artist's masterpieces along with Tojiro, and wonder how much his sketchbooks, called manga, have influenced modern Japanese cartoons. Schools where Japan is studied will want this very handsome small volume, as will public libraries where there is an interest in Japanese art.-Margaret A. Chang, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, North Adams Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781567922608
  • Publisher: Godine, David R. Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 10/28/2003
  • Pages: 112
  • Sales rank: 727,643
  • Age range: 9 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 6.34 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 0.65 (d)

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