Japanese Goldfish

Japanese goldfish design
Summer is here in Japan. It’s time for summer festivals and fireworks, yukata (cotton summer kimono) and sensu (folding fans). It’s also a great time to appreciate the design all around us, traditional, modern and the way they often get mixed together. I went yukata shopping with a friend and was amazed by the sheer variety of designs. Fans, tenugui (small cotton hand towels) and various traditional and/or upmarket products use traditional designs and subject matter, sometimes in new ways, to attract the eye. Like Japanese poetry, traditional designs like to give subtle references to the season.

One design that comes up again and again is goldfish in a pond with reeds and ripples of (I assume) raindrops. It makes you feel cool and refreshed through images of water in the pond and swimming, pale blues and drops of rain (like the rain of early summer).

If you go to a summer festival in Japan you’ll get a chance to play 金魚すくい (kingyosukui, goldfish scooping) at a 屋台 (yatai, stall).

My goldfish is a simple path with a slight gradient fill and two black ellipses for eyes. It’s grouped and then stamped randomly (just drag it around and occasionally hit the space bar). Clicking twice on the image brings up the rotation handles so you can reduce the square geometry of the design (you may want to keep this depending on your preference).

The ripples are made with the Bezier Tool (set to > Spiro Path / Triangle In). Duplicate, resize and rotate (one inside the other), Path > Union, tweak the nodes to round the ends of the strokes. Stamp, stamp, stamp.

The reeds are simple Bezier paths. Stamp, stamp, stamp.

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