Sachiko Umoto is a popular illustrator for children in Japan, and three of her drawing instruction manuals for kids have been published in the auS in translation. They’re full of cute illustrations like this — these are my copies — which are designed to tell quick stories. Umoto has very expressive line capabilities. Her butterflies are tiny people, yet you have insight into their thoughts from the shapes of their months and eyes. Very skillful!
I picked them up because they seemed to be in line for younger kids, and highly suitable for girls. It’s not to say that boys and men can use her style or learn something from it, but she’s definitely making artwork that appeals to the styles and sensibilities of Japanese girls in particular, and by extension girls all over.
The other week I had dinner with a friend in a restaurant that tends to have a lot of young people in iit. My friend commented that many of the women she knew were not creative, or expended their creativity on clothes or jewelry — on finding and displaying the work of others, rather than making for themselves, and she didn’t know why at was. So we engaged a couple of young women sitting at a nearby table in conversation, and asked the about their creative habits.
None. Neither of them admitted to making their own clothes, or painting or dawning, or makng music, or playing an instrument, or dancing. Those were all tngs they’d given up on, once school ended. I wonder how true this is for all women, or if we just chose a particularly bad sample of two (insufficient data), but neither of them really knew any other women their age who were creative in any major ways.
I worry that we’ve raised a generation to be ignorant of their creative rights and skills and heritage. Maybe it’s just two women who are particularly off-base,vthough. I hope so.
In the meantime, maybe butterfly people can help raise other girls to own their creativity instead of forgetting it.