I love this book. Sketches from Japan by Francis D.K. Ching is a reproduction of a sketchbook that Mr. Ching made during a month’s stay in Japan. Every day he would go out and sketch the buildings and things he saw around him in the area of O-okayama, where he was teaching and staying, southwest of Tokyo. The drawings are all made with a Mont Blanc fountain pen and are some of the most beautiful free-hand perspective drawings I’ve ever seen. He made the drawings as a pure exercise in the enjoyment of drawing, never intending, necessarily, to have them seen or published. What I like is the delicate, yet supremely confident line he uses. There is a polite authority, a quiet, understated power to his sketches that I find really compelling. I also love the simple open white space in this book. I’ve made sketchbooks in which I’ve seemingly tried to fill up every inch of blank paper before going on to the next page resulting in a manic quality that, looking back on it, I’m not too fond of. But Sketches from Japan is the exact opposite: there’s a wonderful serenity to the openness, as if the artist is saying, “Look at this… Now look at this…” Every time I pick this book up and leaf through the pages I want to grab a pen or pencil and go out and draw. And since the original journal was not intended as anything other than a personal exploration in the use of a pen for it’s own sake, there’s an unpretentious freshness to it that is almost impossible to find in books about drawing.