Free drawing lessons from Hokusai

Today you’re in for a treat.

I’m sure the majority of you are already familiar with the artist Katsushika Hokusai, one of the best and most proficient artists Japan ever produced. The artist is said to have produced 30,000 artworks, including paintings, sketches, woodblock prints, picture books and even some saucy erotic illustrations.

Van Gogh wrote in a letter to his brother Theo:

“Hokusai makes you cry out the same thing—but in his case with his lines, his drawing, since in your letter you say to yourself: these waves are claws, the boat is caught in them, you can feel it. Ah well, if we made the color very correct or the drawing very correct, we wouldn’t create those emotions.”

In today’s link you will find the complete sketchbooks, in good resolution:

Quick Lessons in Simplified Drawings (a manual in three parts where the artist breaks every drawing down into simple geometric shapes; decomposes them into fragmentary contours; diagrams each stroke and the order in which they were drawn).

Drawing Methods

Quick Pictorial Dictionary

-Dance Instruction Manual

-Pictures Drawn in One Stroke


Mad about painting

Introduction by Ryoko Matsuba

“Mad about Painting collects beautiful new translations of Hokusai’s painting tutorials and related essays written by the artist and his peers—a selection made available in English for the first time.

Best known for his iconic print Under the Wave off Kanagawa, also known as the Great Wave, Katsushika Hokusai was a revolutionary printmaker. His mastery of ukiyo-e in the nineteenth century has inspired generations of artists since, and his works helped introduce the world to the delicate beauty and power of the Japanese woodblock technique. In addition to his remarkable artistic output, Hokusai was also a dedicated teacher who sought to pass down his unique understanding of color and painting to practicing artists through immensely detailed written tutorials and manuals, many of which are excerpted here, in English, for the first time.  

Connecting Hokusai’s prints from the Edo period to contemporary Japanese art, the scholar Ryoko Matsuba’s introduction foregrounds Hokusai’s contributions to Japanese creative expression from the 1800s to today. Also included in this book is the contemporary artist Ikeda Manabu’s concise observations about Hokusai’s lasting influence. This volume offers invaluable insight into the psyche of a true master, and a rare personal account of an artist’s life during a fascinating period in Japan’s history.”