And another one of my Haruki Murakami illustrations. This time it is of Hear the Wind Sing, Murakami's first ever novel, and the first part of the Trilogy of the Rat (followed by Pinball, 1973 and A Wild Sheep Chase).
This novel presents a lot of the common elements Murakami uses in each of his novels, from cooking, eating and drinking, to alienation, relationships and loss. But it is also a more realistic novel, differing from Murakami's later (and my preferred) style. It focuses a man in his late 20s recalling his days as a university student, the time he spent with his friend, the Rat, at J's bar, along with their relationships with women.
As I've mentioned before when sharing my other Haruki Murakami illustrations, a few years ago I decided to do an illustration for each of Haruki Murakami's novels in order to practice. Each was hand drawn in pencil and coloured digitally in Photoshop. I was surprised by how popular they became, and had many people asking if any of them were for sale as prints. But I wasn’t quite happy enough with them to have them printed; I was at a point where I was still deep into training and hadn’t yet developed a style I was settled on.
Two and a half years went by. I was now working full time as an illustrator and designer, my skills had developed fourfold, and I had a look and feel I was delighted with. So I felt that maybe it was time to recreate the whole project and finally allow fellow Murakami fans to purchase them as prints and other products.
So here is my new version of the illustration for Hear the Wind Sing. As most of the book is focused around a bar that the main character frequent, I felt that was the best place to base the illustration. So taking a little look at 70's Japanese bars, including Murakami's own, I came up with this design. And as both Murakami and I are big cat fans, I had to add a little black cat poster. I was a little worried about how all the wood would work out, but I really love the colour theme on this piece.