Hokusai: Birds, Flowers, and Nature Coloring Book
The Japanese woodblock artist Katsushika Hokusai, who lived from 1760 to 1849, had a great influence on many European artists, in particular the Impressionist painters Claude Monet and Pierre-Auguste Renoir. Hokusai started sketching when he was five or six years old, and he became an apprentice wood engraver at the age of fourteen. At eighteen, he went to work in a master artist’s studio, and a year later he published his first prints. Even though Hokusai had a very long career as an artist, he wrote that it wasn’t until the age of seventy-two that he “finally apprehended something of the true quality of birds, animals, insects, fish, and of the vital nature of grasses and trees.”
The woodblocks included in this coloring book are mostly from two untitled series of Hokusai’s prints called Large Flowers and Small Flowers. They were created by carving a separate woodblock for every color and then printing them on top of each other to create a single complete image.
When you color the images, try to imagine the temperature and moisture in the air, the smell of the flowers, and the sounds of the birds. These are the things Hokusai tried to express, even though they are invisible. The 22 woodblock prints in this coloring book are shown as small pictures on the inside front and back covers. You might want to copy their original colors or you might decide to use your own. We’ve left the last page of this book blank so that you can draw and color a picture of your own.