Chigirie: Depth and Perspective

Chigirie by Joan Matsui Tuesday Chigirie Tip

Japanese Paper Tearing Art

with the “Chigirie Tip of the Week

A Morning Glory, with it’s trailing stem and array of colors, is a bit tricky to recreate with paper. Learning where to add a touch of light or a darker shade of paper is one of the tips you’ll learn in my members-only group. Sign up today and begin your journey with Chigirie.

From the beginning to the completion of a Chigirie collage, a variety of pre-dyed paper is used in place of paint and applied to the palette of your choice so the papers gently blend together.

Chigirie: Depth and Perspective is your Tuesday Tip of the Week.

A student recently asked me about the type of paper she should use to make her design stand out.

Washi refers to a wide range of Japanese paper Chigiri-e artists use. There are so many different papers in a variety of colors and textures. The possibilities are endless. Suffice to say, imported Japanese handmade papers are the best, in my opinion.

Depth and perspective are achieved by adding lighter or darker paper in the appropriate place on your collage. This technique adds character and a unique spin to your collage. Many chigirie artists tear paper and thin it to their liking, which results in a softer appearance.


In Arashiyama Mountain, (shown above) a piece I finished years ago, I learned the principles, one by one. Water can be tricky to create because although lakes, oceans, and rivers are sometimes depicted as blue, experienced artists know reflections from trees, shadows, the time of day, and other objects can quickly alter the color.

Now’s also the perfect time to review or learn what’s known as “perspective,” meaning an implied horizon line directly opposite the viewer’s eye that represents objects infinitely far away, as described in this article courtesy of Wikipedia. Art schools also teach perspective as it plays an important part in the overall design process for artists and architects. Many art mediums require some understanding of perspective.

Learning Chigirie using photos you take to prepare for a colage
Another take on the Morning Glory…Zoom out a bit and you see fewer details in your photograph. The challenge is to show less with the same impact in your Chigirie design.

When I first practiced Chigirie, I struggled with depth and perspective. I wasn’t quite sure how to adjust my design and color scheme in my collages. Through reading and practice, I had a lightbulb moment and the process evolved but there’s always room for improvement.

Your Assignment

Lesson: Stand one, five, and 20 feet from a flower pot and notice how the flower petals, stem, etc. are more difficult to differentiate as you move farther away from the object.

Why do you need to learn perspective? Specifically, you should strive for depth and character.

Never Miss A Tip!

Stop by every Tuesday or to learn more outstanding tips, sign up for the Learn Chigirie with Joan Matsui members-only Facebook page, where you’ll learn everything you need to know about Chigirie.

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