Wednesday, October 26, 2011

My Sputnik Sweetheart entry

As promised, here’s the artwork I entered in Nowness’ Drawing Inspiration: Haruki Murakami Design Competition.

Haruki Murakami

I posted a WIP of this before. It is inspired by Murakami's Sputnik Sweetheart. I illustrated the character Miu with half-black and half-white hair to symbolize the enigmatic, doppelganger-esque 'changes' she underwent in the book. In the drawing you can see several body parts—the limbs to be exact—scattered behind her. The symbolism of this can be construed into two ways: (1) the objects of lust that had wrapped Sumire's very being when she met Miu, and (2) Miu's inability to will her body to respond to any kind of love or lust after her other self had gone to the other side, as if her body is not her own anymore. Lastly, you can see a naked miniature Sumire on Miu's palm to show that she has toyed with Sumire's life without ever meaning to. I made the whole illustration as surreal as possible, because  that's just what Murakami's style is. His writings make you feel as if you're tottering between reality and dreams.

I used a gel pen and color pencils for this art.

It's my first time joining a drawing competition that is open worldwide, even if it's online. I've joined mini press conferences and contests when I was in high school, competing as a student-editorial cartoonist. This is a whole new experience because I've always wanted to explore Murakami's work with art, and I totally enjoyed it. Knowing that anyone in the world can join makes it intimidating, but I tried anyway because there's nothing to lose--it's just for fun! I'm really happy when I found out my drawing is one of the most popular.

You can see all the submissions here. Hover your cursor on the thumbnails to see the votes each artwork received. You can read today’s article on Murakami here.


  1. Once again, congrats! Your drawing is beautiful. I haven't read Sputnik Sweetheart yet (I haven't found it in English in any of the libraries close to me), but I definitely will. Haha, and if there's one thing Murakami is, it's surreal! (Most of the other drawings were as well!)

    My favorite book if his though, is the biography, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running. I don't know, I just loved it. For one thing, it inspired me to run...

    It was really cool reading about the other winners - it really was a worldwide contest.. A shoe-designer in Paris, a student in Vietnam.

    Right, long comment. Haha :)

  2. Thank you, Johanna! :) My favorite Murakami book is The Wind Up Bird Chronicle. I would have drawn something about it but it's been a while since I last read it and I can't remember the details so well except that it's...surreal! Haha. But all his books are awesome, he's one of a kind writer. I think you'll like Sputnik Sweetheart, especially if love Norwegian Wood.

    Oh, I love his What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, too. I wish he thinks of writing more memoirs like that. Even I, who is not that athletic-minded, is inspired by it. Just shows how strong his writing prowess is both in nonfiction and fiction.

    IKR! They're awesome, and they came from all corners of the world.

    It's more than okay, heehee. :)

  3. I've only read The Wind Up Bird Chronicle (I got this gorgeous special edition in graduation gift) and Kafka on the Shore. I had such a hard time with The Wind Up Bird Chronicle, I can't decide if I like it or not.. Well, I like it, but I wonder if it was too surreal for me. At the same time, there were so many parts I loved about it.
    But I really enjoyed Kafka on the Shore. I suppose it's because it is a little bit easier to grasp.

    When I read WITAWITAR (haha) I became sure running was the sport for me. He talked about why he liked it and it was so true for me. It's a shame I'm so lazy... :)

  4. Ah, I understand your view on TWUBC. Yes, I guess it can be a tad too surreal. Plus it's technically a doorstopper--it takes a lot of patience in dealing with all those surreal stuff for so long. It's like, almost a thousand pages long (at least my edition is). I also agree on your view on KOTS. The 15-year-old protagonist is sort of more likable than the hero of IWUBC, I think that makes a good difference in the enjoyment factor of the books. :)

    I have a similar experience with WITAWITAR (gotta love the titles' acronyms haha) too! Except that I can't run here because of my asthma + the too polluted surroundings. xD