Rider’s Lens: Watakashi Hayaka’s Illustrations
In today’s edition of Rider’s Lens, we meet Japanese artist Watakashi Hayaka, who shares a selection of his playful illustrations of bicycles being used in everyday life in Japan. Get to know Watakashi, find out what inspired him to pick up a pen and watercolors, and learn where the journey has taken him in the two years since he started here…
Words and illustrations by Watakashi Hayaka (@watakashi3)
I’m Watakashi Hayaka, and I was born in Nagoya, Japan, where I’ve lived all my life. I ride my bicycle to work, for shopping, and when I go out to play with my children. I only get the chance to ride bikes occasionally, but I love them so much that I draw pictures of bicycles, people, and things I see and think about almost every day.
For my full-time job, I work at a futon store. I spend all my work days buried under futons. I can’t carry them on my bicycle, though. On my days off, you can mostly find me going shopping, doing housework, and spending time hanging out with my kids. I also really love to spend time in the kitchen: drinking beer a little early, simmering pots of delicious stuff for dinner, and painting pictures. And, when I have time, I love running errands by bicycle, taking the long way around.
I started drawing about two years ago when I was planning to buy a new bicycle. I started by sketching out pictures of how I thought it should be put together. At that time, I mostly drew specific frames and parts I wanted. Now that I have more practice, I enjoy drawing bicycles together with people and scenery.
My favorite thing to draw is probably little snippets of everyday life that include bikes and people together. I love being able to freeze mundane moments through drawing, though I admit that it’s challenging for me to convey the full range of emotions of city life through my illustrations.
As for my illustration gear, I typically use the following: mechanical pencils (the ones you have lying around the house); Copic Multiliner pens (I use a variety of thicknesses); color pens (I use some Copics and other much less expensive markers); solid watercolors from the 100 yen store; and white pieces of drawing paper or the backs of calendars (I draw on anything). That’s it—nothing too fancy or difficult to carry while riding!
Bicycles are wonderful to look at as objects, and of course, they are fun to ride, but I think one of my favorite things about them is how riding helps me solve problems and clear my mind. Whether it deals with raising my children or working, the bicycle helps me think through a lot of things. I think everyone who rides can relate on some level.
For the last year or so, I’ve been working on creating “Bicycle Karuta.” For those who don’t know, Karuta is the most exciting card game played during the Japanese New Year. In addition to this, I am also working on a picture book to show children how wonderful bikes are. I think about the characters and settings together with my children when they go to bed. It’s not always particularly productive, but I enjoy that part of it as well.
In the future, I plan to continue painting pictures because I enjoy it. And although there’s no end to painting, I want to create pictures that aren’t just for self-satisfaction. Instead, it would be great if this passion could connect me with people all over the world who love bicycles, and even those who don’t.
Riding a bike is fun enough, but combining it with something else makes it even more enjoyable. In my case, right now, that is painting. If you have other various ways of enjoying bicycles, I’d encourage you to find time to appreciate those things whenever possible!
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