I’m part of Jin Wu Koon Liondancing and Chinese New Year is a massive month long celebration in Sydney where the whole city joins in. It also means there a constant and intense schedule of lion dance performances for us that can range from morning till midnight and take us to all regions of Sydney and further.
Its a very physical thing and the long hours and minimal hours of sleep can take its toll – I didn’t go to all of them and I was exhausted! I think what compacts it more is all the time in-between waiting to do each performance – standing around on the street or in front of a restaurant. I find that quite tedious as its not necessarily enough time to really chill out but not short enough to keep your momentum going.
That’s why a few years back I decided to bring my sketchbook with me. Originally I wanted to capture what we do, click here to see. The second time it was to kill time, click here. This year it was a bit of both.
You also can’t carry much around with you – a small handbag or pack is about it, so that restricts what I can carry with me. I also need something that is also going to give me instant results as well.
So I used disposable Japanese felt brush tip pens.
Up on high
JWK have a team who also perform lion dancing on poles – normal lion dance takes some practice and experience, but this – this takes a huge year round commitment and you need something of a fearless character to do it. Below is footage from last year.
Its always hard to draw and capture fast moving objects, especially in this case where its a 360˚ performance. As I’ve seen them perform a few times before I had already worked out the moments I wanted to capture. Still not an easy thing but it helps you block out the temptation or natural tendency to want to capture everything.
Its always a good opportunity to draw the crowds who watch with great anticipation.
For those of you who thought it was a dragon, no it’s not. These next few drawings are of a dragon dance, thanks to the Chinese Youth League.
aaaaanndd if you still can’t tell what that is, here is some footage of them in action.
And when I’m not drawing the “entertainment” I look for inspiration elsewhere.
Lion dancing can have you performing at all sorts of events and venues. This was a wedding held on a restaurant boat. These couple of sketches are us waiting for our water taxi so we could head off to our next performance.
Possibly someone’s dinner – a lobster waiting its fate at a restaurant in a shopping centre.
The aftermath of a late afternoon yum cha. Hanging out at the gym and watching the Legacy Brazilian Ju-Jitsu students practice tumbles and moves.
I ended up finishing off my sketchbook, so I went and bought the cheapest pad and pens I could find.
It was tiny, bigger than a business card. I also bought a thick marker which probably wasn’t the greatest of choices too, but I’m always up for a challenge. I did also buy a thin one to get some balanced detail in.
Some scenes around Chinatown, as we waited for the State MP to rock up.
We also have the largest lion head in the country, again, probably not the best sized notepad for him, hee, hee.
Amazingly my last performance with them this season was at the Art Gallery. Sadly it was just for some sportscar promotional event, so I doubt many would have given a fig about the art around them. But at least it gave me a chance to visit.
I think I broke my record on the number of drawings for Chinese New Year. Question is, how will I approach it next year…
Cheers, Kung Hei Fat Choi!