Neko Hakkei - 8 Views of Cats

Project Overview ...

Mokuhankan - the Tokyo woodblock printmaking workshop most famous for the production of the Ukiyo-e Heroes game parody designs - has continued to grow in production capacity over the last few years, and we are ready to announce a new series of prints to keep our carvers and printers busy.

We are looking for designers to join us in creating this series of images - inviting artists and illustrators anywhere in the world to help us put together Neko Hakkei - Eight Views of Cats, based on the traditional Eight Views concept in Asian art.


What are '8 Views'?

Before you can join this project, you must understand '8 Views'. Watch our video ‘David’s Choice - Episode #8’ on YouTube: Dave explains the history of this ‘meme’ in Asian art and how it spread from China into Japan and was morphed and reinterpreted countless times over hundreds of years.

Watched the video? OK, then you know the core idea - that the following eight concepts must be somehow incorporated into the images:

This one treats the theme 'straight': Hiroshige's "Evening Rain on the Pine at Karasaki"

This one hints at the theme: Hiroshige showing the Evening Glow theme as coming from a kiln ...

Or you can 'Parody' the theme: Harunobu putting some 'descending geese' onto a koto keyboard ...


We feel that those designers of the old days missed a wonderful opportunity by never making a series of Eight Views of Cats, so we are going to do it now! Eight designs will be chosen, from eight different creators, and these images will be turned into woodblock prints by our team of craftsmen/women.


Stage 1: Submission of ‘concept’ images

Show us how your image idea fits a cat (or cats!) into the Eight Views concept with one of the eight themes from the traditional series listed above, by sending us a sketch of your concept. Feel free to use pencil, pen, or draw on your electronic device. To show the kind of thing we need at this stage, look at this concept sketch and finished print from a totally different project (our Ukiyo-e Heroes):

From some years back, Jed Henry's first rough sketch ... and the print that eventually came from it.

So don't try and do too much at this stage - just show us your concept! As for dimensions - we'll be looking at around a 2 x 3 ratio (either portrait or landscape). After we receive your submission we will look at it carefully and if we see good possibilities we will contact you with an invitation to proceed to Stage 2.

Submission of your image should be done through the form on the Stage 1 application page. You are welcome to send ideas for more than one of the eight themes of course.


Stage 2: Full design workup

Stage 2 is by invitation. You will need to work out your design concept in a full colour finished form, using a template that we will supply. Upon receipt of your completed design we will pay you a participation honorarium of $100 USD (this has been increased ...). This is not a payment for use of your design in the ‘8 Views’ project; we simply want to make sure that even if your image is not chosen for use in the final series of 8 images, you receive some level of compensation for your work.

Some of the submitted images are being posted here so others can see what designs are already in play.


Stage 3: Print Production

Dave and Mokuhankan staff will consider all Stage 2 submissions, and make a decision for which designs will be used in the final Eight Views of Cats series. Copyright of each image will remain with the designer, and we will require a non-exclusive licence to use the prints in our series. For each print sold over the coming years, a royalty of 10% of the retail price will be paid to each designer.

The decisions will be based on:

Hints from Dave:



We had originally planned to have all eight designs 'wrapped up' by the end of summer 2019, but have decided to stretch things out a bit. The design for one of the themes will be finalized then, but we will keep accepting ideas for other designs on an ongoing basis. As the carving team moves forward with each one, the next will then be decided, etc. etc. until we're done. Submissions will remain open on an ongoing basis for all the prints not yet begun ...


Who can submit design ideas?

Anyone. Professional designer. Student. Book illustrator. Stay-at-home mom. For the sketch stage, you only need to send in an early sketch demonstrating your concept (and an optional link to show us your past work, if you have any).

That’s it! If you are interested in participating in this project, please visit the Technical Information page for more details on what we are looking for, and on how to prepare your image idea in a form useful to us.


How will the prints be sold?

As each print comes to life, it will be added to the Mokuhankan catalogue for sale, and will of course also be included in the online catalogue (we ship around the world). This series is not planned to be a subscription set; these prints will be available individually. (Although if it seems that there is demand for it once the set is complete, we might put the series into our subscription program also, so that people who want to get all eight, can do so over a period of time ...)


We look forward to receiving many interesting image ideas, from designers all over the world.

Ladies and Gentlemen, start your pencils!