Keisuke Teshima Paints Dragons With a Single Stroke of a Paintbrush

In some languages there are words that can not be found in any other. For example, Japanese has the term “hitofude-ryū,” which means “to paint a dragon with just one brushstroke.” This art has a long tradition, but is also used by some contemporary painters. One of them is Keisuke Teshima, who uses the one-stroke technique to create amazing works of art.

Keisuke Teshima was born in 1975 in Fukuoka, Japan. He is one of just four artists worldwide to perfect the “One-Stroke Dragon” technique. Teshima studied traditional Buddhist art techniques in 2003 and commenced mastering the “One-Stroke Dragon” style in 2011, while doing work as a craftsman restoring Buddhist altars. Sharpening his skills through daily devotion at the Buddhist monastery in Nikko, Japan, he studied along with three masters of the “One-Stroke Dragon” method. The traditional Japanese art technique began over the Edo period in Japan from 1603 to 1867. The technique involves a mesmerizing balance between hard and soft brush pressure.

Now technically, it is just the body of the dragon that is done in a singular stroke, with many different details added in later on, however that imperceptible motion which results in the dragon’s scales is incredible. In the videos you can observe the way steadily staggered brushstrokes generate the impression of scales. The identical technique is likewise employed to produce the dragon’s whiskers, and it is there you will get a much better look at how Teshima’s hands carefully pause only for a moment as he drags his brush across the page.

Teshima has an online store page where you can buy a dragon painting of your own if you like. Be prepared to drop about $500 to $1,000 though, depending on size.