Gold Japanese dragon against black background by iCanvas artist One-Stroke Dragon
Artist Spotlight

One-Stroke Dragon: Watch This Artist’s Single Brushstroke Technique

Knowing the process behind your art makes it that much more special. We’re proud to partner with Keisuke Teshima, the artist behind One-Stroke Dragon, whose single stroke technique is as mesmerizing as the meaning and history behind it. 

Based in Kyoto, Japan, the self-taught artist has been fascinated by dragons since he was a child studying the martial art of Karatedo. His passions collided when, while restoring Buddhist temples and altars, he discovered a branch of sumi-e — Japanese ink painting — known as the One-Stroke Dragon style. Today, as one of the few living masters of the technique, Keisuke has restored over 200 temples and gained international recognition for his majestic dragons and the good fortune they represent.

Read on to discover more about his technique, watch the artist in action, and see the final products in our gallery below.

Praying before each creation, Keisuke then begins with small single strokes to carefully create the head of the dragon — a creature symbolizing legendary power and good fortune in Japan.

Focusing on the beauty of the brushstroke, Keisuke uses a calligraphy brush to create the body of a majestic dragon often featuring textured, blended patterns. When painted facing downward, dragons are said to serve as guardians, while those depicted facing upward symbolize ambition. The color concepts Keisuke chooses for each dragon represent more symbology, from financial prosperity to prosperous health to a strong romantic match.

Keisuke makes a point to capture the spirit of the centuries-long tradition in each of his dragons. Accenting them with lighting and rain, he embodies the cultural belief that dragons when complemented by rain and lighting can support the growth of rice, which he passionately considers “Japan’s lifeline and DNA.”

Check out our curation below to find a One-Stroke Dragon print that speaks to you.

Want to see more? Click here to browse his full collection on iCanvas.

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