蒔絵の線描き Line drawing of Maki-e


It has become a blog after a long time. Thanks, I am busy every day with something.


Thankfully, I have received inquiries about the availability of classrooms and online lessons, but I have no immediate plans so far. I hope it can be realized in the future.


Recently, I have received a lot of access to posts about “schools where you can learn lacquer art” in the past, so I would like to spell it out while also including things at school.



Many of the designs I’m doing in parallel now are small, and I work with a brush every day.

(Unfortunately, it is a request product, so it is not posted on Instagram etc. It will be posted as soon as permission is given after completion)

初めての蒔絵筆 The first Maki-e brush

赤軸根朱替 Akajiku-Nejyugawari


My first line-drawing Maki-e brush is the red-axis brush ”Akajiku-Nejyugawari” that I used for the first time at school.


The following are the fine brushes that draw lines with Makie.

  • 赤軸(本根朱)Red-axis “Akajiku”(Honnejyu)
  • 赤軸根朱替 Red-axis “Akajiku-Nejyugawari
  • 赤軸 石版筆 Red-axis “Sekiban-brush”
  • 細描きナイロン筆 Fine drawing nylon brush


The red axis is considered to be the thinnest brush among the Maki-e brushes. “Red axis” is a brush with a red axis color.


The fineness of the character width is distinguished by the color. The thinnest is the red axis, followed by the black axis and the yellow axis.


The red shaft brush called “Honneji” is the hair of a mouse. It is said to be the most expensive Maki-e brush that costs more than 30,000 yen. It seems that it was sold for about 60,000 yen before, but now it is difficult to obtain it and I have never seen it sold recently.



Of course, we don’t use such an expensive brush from the beginning, but at school we use a brush called “Akajiku-nejyugawari” that replaces it. Even if it is a substitute, it is a brush that costs nearly 4000 yen, so it is expensive even among general brushes. The hair is generally cat hair called ball hair “Tamage”.



You can buy a nylon brush for less than 1000 yen. However, in the case of nylon brushes, depending on the item, it is good at first, but after using it several times, the tips of the tips often hit the outside and become difficult to use. Considering the usable period, the red axis “Akajiku-nejyugawari” may be more advantageous.


I also recommend the Sekiban Maki-e brush, which is currently available at lacquer shops, as it is quite easy to use.



The “Akajiku-nejyugawari” that I used for the first time was overworked every day, so in about 3 years brush’s hair fell out and it became useless. Nowadays, I try various brushes and use some of them, but I often use my favorites because of the feeling of the tips.

線描き練習 Line drawing practice


At school, students first draw a line of traditional Japanese patterns.


The powder used is sterling silver round powder. (Gold powder is too expensive to use from the beginning. It seems that some schools use gold powder to learn from the beginning.)


As a rough procedure, there are the following long steps.

  1. 置目 Okime (Transfer / draft of design)
  2. 線描き Line drawing
  3. 粉蒔き Sprinkling powder
  4. 粉固め Harden the powder
  5. 研ぎ Sharpen
  6. 磨き Polish


Before drawing a line, say “Okime” and draw on the Omegami paper to transfer and secure a guide for the place to draw before drawing. At first, I could understand how fine the lines should be drawn from how to use the brush, and it took me some time to get used to it. (In my case) Sometimes the work time of the day ended just by the work of the setting.


Before drawing the line, I practiced drawing the line many times. It’s a very focused and persevering task.

練習手板 Practice board


At school, I applied lacquer to the handboard myself, sharpened it, and polished it so that I could make a Maki-e work before I started. I learned by drawing the traditional Japanese pattern “Amime, Sayagata, Seigaiha”.


Since the one at that time and the photo have disappeared, I will post the HP link of the school ↓



This allows you to learn curves, straight lines, long lines, and thin lines. This line drawing is completely different from drawing a picture with a pencil or pen. It’s like drawing accurately as a physical line, not as a line in a picture.


But the result must be a “picture line”. That’s the difficult part again.

線の「ツケ」”Tsuke” of the line


Makie lines vary depending on the technique.


When drawing with a line drawing of the picture, draw with a “tsuke”. At school, you can give detailed guidance from your teacher. After drawing a line, the teacher will look at it, and the teacher will give you advice on what is missing and whether you should go to the next process.


At first, I didn’t understand the meaning when the teacher said, “I want a little more Tsuke here.” “Tsuke” is like the plumpness of lacquer. The amount of “applying” lacquer. In this kind of practical training class, you will learn lacquer art terms one by one while listening to what you do not understand.


If the brush is moved too fast, it will be a flat line with no “Tsuke”. Draw considering the amount and fineness of sprinkling the powder. If the line is too flat, the amount of gold powder on it will be small, so it may come off when polished.


Also, since gold powder is sprinkled, it will be a little thicker than the drawn line. It’s a micro world, but when you understand this feeling of getting thicker, you gradually understand it.


In addition, it also adjusts the stickiness of the lacquer. A certain amount of viscosity is also required to draw plumply. If you breathe or add something, those parts may affect you to the end, so hold your breath and concentrate all your nerves on the drawing. And if it takes too much time, the lacquer will dry out and the gold powder will not get on it, so be careful.

  • ツケの具合 The condition of the “Tsuke”
  • 線の均一性 Line uniformity
  • 線の細さ Line thinness
  • かかる時間 the time it takes


As mentioned above, there are many points to be aware of. It’s a fun task for me, but after drawing, I’m pretty tired and absent-minded.My eyes get tired too.


I wanted to draw beautiful lines, so I used to hold my brush almost every day while I was at school. It’s still the same, and I use my brush every day. A long time ago, when I was a high school student, I was still impressed by the fact that in a class of an English teacher, she was told, “No matter how much you study, it will return to normal after three days.” I wasn’t very good at studying English, so I thought, “I’m sure I’ll forget about it after three days.” After that, I try not to leave three days for sensuous things that I don’t want to forget.

研出蒔絵の課題の亀 The turtle of the task of Togidashi-Makie


With that in mind, I felt like I was obsessed with drawing all the lines with my brush while I was in school. The lines I can draw vary from day to day depending on my physical condition and mental state. It’s like practicing in practice even now.

高蒔絵の課題の葡萄 The grapes of the task of Taka-Makie


At school, after practicing line drawing for the first time, you will learn Taka-Makie, Togidashi-Makie, and Raden. Decide the design and technique you want to do for each task, and consult with the teacher about what kind of powder should be sprinkled. Urushi has time to dry, and depending on the process, the work of the day may take several minutes. Students will proceed with many assignment works at the same time.


Since the mobile phone has changed, the data may have disappeared, but since there were photos from that time, I will post some. Gourd is lacquered by learning a technique called “Handa base” using Nikawa glue. After painting, I was free to decorate, so I drew the wave pattern as a practice of drawing lines.


When I look at it now, the lines are quite rough and dirty 🙁


The lacquer “tsuke” wasn’t enough either. This does not make the finish beautiful. I didn’t know that at the time, so I made mistakes and started over. Makie has a long process, so the only way to learn one process is to increase the amount of practice.


It’s an embarrassingly rough line when I see it now, but I practiced drawing a lot. It is a nostalgic memory.

学校の課題作品 Works of school lessons


At the school, the work will be exhibited at the cultural festival. (The photo was taken when I exhibited it when I was in the second grade.)

自由課題のパネル Free task panel


The works exhibited when I was in the second grade were two panels, Ko-go, and gourd.


高台寺蒔絵の課題のパネル Kodaiji Makie’s Task Panel

By the way, apart from these works, I was also working on my graduation work. Since I do it from the groundwork, it was quite hard in terms of time. When I think about it now, there are many parts that I didn’t have enough time to dry. At the current school, the curriculum has changed, and it seems that the completed works will be exhibited from the third year.


半田下地の課題の瓢箪 Gourd work made in the Handa base class

Having an exhibition space is motivating, and I had a lot of fun because I could see works from other majors.


螺鈿と箔押しの課題の香合 Ko-go work made in the class of Raden and Gold-foil stamping

In addition to working at school, I was working as soon as I got home and had dinner. I feel like I had a brush until just before going to bed. The training room at the school is open on weekends, so I sometimes went there. I was quite busy going out to the city and going to museums.


By the way, while I was a student, I was in a dormitory on the school grounds. Since the training room was nearby, I felt like I was at school most of the day, and it was an environment where I could concentrate very much. I think everything was still fresh and fun.


I think it’s difficult to choose a school, and I think everyone is at a loss. The time you can work depends on whether you enter the dormitory or go to school. I think that if you go to school for a long time, you may get tired and lose your motivation. I think it will change greatly depending on what kind of environment you put yourself in. Since I was a school student after working as a member of society, I used the savings I had saved for my living expenses and asked my father for the shortage of school expenses.


When I was a high school student, a school teacher said, “You have time to study as a student, but it’s a waste to sell that time and work! ” I didn’t understand the meaning at that time, but as I get older, I understand the meaning well after. I spent a lot of time as a student, thinking that it was more time for self-investment than selling and working. I am really grateful to my family for their cooperation.


At school, you can learn all the steps so that you can do it all by yourself, but the amount of practice depends on the individual. After graduating, I was only doing Maki-e work, so I’m still not good at the groundwork.


When the work is nearing completion, all the work is done with Maki-e work, so man forget the feeling of how to do the groundwork process a long time ago. That is why the urushi production area is of high quality due to the fine division of labor.


However, as a career path after graduating from school, I think that there are many options by doing all process in the school class. You can be a writer who does everything by yourself, and even if you have a professional job such as painting or Maki-e, if you take school lessons, you are not completely without knowledge. You can make job choices after you have a complete picture of the process.


The number of lacquer works is smaller than other crafts due to the long process. That’s why many works are exhibited at group exhibitions. Those who are doing solo exhibitions in lacquer art have spent a considerable number of works and years. If you can understand such a background, I think that the way you see works in galleries and art exhibitions will change.


Maki-e is drawn with great care on a single line. And I think it would be good if I could convey the long process and tense tension, not the end even after drawing. The reason why the selling price is high is that lacquer “Urushi”, gold powder, tools and materials are precious and expensive, and it takes time and effort.


Lacquer art seems to be easy due to the characteristics of natural lacquer ”Urushi”, but it is actually very difficult. It may not be enough time to handle it in human life. That is why I think that various people have been involved and are still continuing.

↓参考過去投稿 Reference past post


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