I've always wanted to visit Japan, but in 2021 the country was still closed to tourists following the pandemic.

Seeing as I couldn't go there, I decided to draw something related to Japan each day, attempting to learn more about Japanese language and culture along the way. I wanted to depict everyday moments and things that interest me, as a way of virtually travelling there and exploring.

A 100-day project is a challenge where you choose an activity such as drawing, and do it daily to kickstart a creative habit.

A painting of a Japanese vending machine, drawn on white paper using watercolour paints and ink. A paint palette and paintbrush rest next to the artwork.

I used mainly ink and watercolour paints, as these are my go-tos for traditional art, sometimes experimenting with a bit of gouache paint too.

Several paintings lay scattered across a table, including drawings of a bowl of ramen, some sushi, some origami cranes, a bullet train, a tori gate shrine and a Japanese style house.

I drew a wide variety of things, from food to landscapes, transport, hobbies, buildings, people, shrines and temples - choosing my subject matter each day quite randomly to keep it feeling fresh.

Two paintings on sheets of white paper laid on a table next to each other. One is a painting of a hand holding a pink and yellow ice cream, the other is an ice cream stand with an umbrella, and a lady smiling from behind the stand.

I think I was a bit over-ambitious, as I was trying to do quite a detailed painting each day, and I ended up running out of steam - but I managed 50 illustrations which I was pleased with.

An illustrated zine about Japan, open on a page showing foods including a strawberry sandwich, a taiyaki, some hanami dango and some wasabi.

All the original paintings are now for sale, and I also compiled a zine of my favourites, including more info about the cultures and traditions around some of the things I drew. You can find the originals and copies of the zine in my Etsy Shop.