The painting of a kite is not only the drawing process itself, it also includes the beautification of the entire kite, so just use a little more pen and ink here.

Embellishment of Kites


Beauty is one of the common goals pursued by mankind since ancient times. The kite is no exception. In addition to its main aspec - the ability to fly, people always hope that it is very beautiful. And there is also a dynamic beauty in flying. For different types of kites, the importance of beauty is also different. In other words, the meaning of beauty is also different. The kite used by Franklin to measure lightning, the kite used by Marconi to replace the antenna, and the kite used by Han Xin to bring Zhang Liang up to the sky to play CHU songs up in the air***, are all in order to complete the set work. As for their shape: color is secondary. It can also be said that in people's eyes, it is the most beautiful for the dead to complete their tasks well. Variabl patterned kites, or combat kites for "battle", use ingenious and magical flight abilities to reflect their beauty. As for the shape and color, it is secondary for the completion of technical flying purpose.

1. The outline of the kite:
A kite, no matter how exquisite its pattern and shape, as long as it flies far in the sky, when we look from the ground, we can often only see its outline silhouette. Even if it is not far away, sometimes the patterns and shapes cannot be seen in detail from the ground, but the most impressive thing is the shape of the outer contour. Therefore, the shape of the outer contour of the kite is a very important part of the artistic effect of the kite.
The outline of the kite should generally be considered from the following aspects:

(1) Choose the most expressive style.
For example, to make an eagle kite, what kind of shape should you choose? Eagle kites in Beijing, Tianjin, and Weifang in Shandong have different shapes. If measured by the image of a real eagle, each has its own characteristics. Because there are many varieties of eagles and their flying attitudes are ever-changing, it is necessary to choose the most beautiful variety and the most beautiful flying attitude according to the different aesthetic viewpoints of kite makers to determine the appearance of their eagle kites. When dealing with the appearance of various kites such as characters, insects, and utensils, the same principle should also be paid attention to: highlight their characteristics and express their most vivid images. For example, kites such as representing the famous warrior "Zhong Xu", various butterflies, cicadas, bells, bottle, etc., are all successful examples of shape processing. It is particularly important to point out that the traditional kites with Chinese Characters mainly rely on their outer contour shapes to express themes. Put it up, the word is high above the sky, and the artistic effect is very good.

(2) Use the multi variate "soft shape".
In addition to the "hard shapes" that have basically the same shape in the air, there are also some "soft shapes modeling" on the kite that can move with the wind. Such as fish tails, butterfly tails, character streamers, flag spikes, etc. These active parts add unlimited vitality to the kite and strengthen the artistic effect. Make full use of it, when designing kites.

(3) Do not forget the aerodynamic performance and structural needs.
If the basic requirements of the kites aerodynamic performance and structural strength are forgotten when considering the outline of the kite, it will cause trouble during the test flight: it cannot fly due to imbalance or instability, or it disintegrates in the air due to insufficient strength, or can't fly due to excessive weight. Therefore, handling the contradiction between the shape and the requirements of aerodynamics and structural strength and unifying them is also an important aspect that needs to be considered in the kite shape design.

2. The composition art of the kite:
The composition is the same as the outer contour, which has an important influence on the artistic effect of the kite. Moreover, the outline of the kite is often closely related to the art composition and must be considered together. Here it is just for the convenience of narrative to differentiate them.

(1) The type of kite composition.
The composition of a kite can be roughly divided into the following categories according to its content:
Realistic: For example, eagles, swallows, butterflies, fireflys, and various other birds and flying insects. The more real the better, the natural beauty.
Decorative: This refers to the composition that starts from the beauty of decoration and makes proper processing and deformation of those natural objects.
For example, the bat kite is very different in form from the real bat, it has a strong decorative pattern flavor. The sand swallow kite is even less like a real swallow. It is an image created by people. This decorative composition is used a lot on Chinese kites.
Contrastive: On the kite, in order to highlight the theme pattern, some contrasting composition is often added, such as the clouds on the soft-winged or hard-winged figure kite, which is contrasting
Allegorical: There are many allegorical patterns on traditional Chinese kites. Such as the bat symbolizing happiness, the peach symbolizing longevity, the peony symbolizing wealth and so on. These allegorical patterns on some kites constitute the theme of the kite, while on other kites, they serve as background and contrast.

(2) Features of Chinese kites composition.
In the composition form of Chinese kites, there are several characteristics:
Symmetry: Chinese kites are mostly symmetrical, so symmetrical composition is often used. It's just that the composition of character kites that is often asymmetrical, and some black kites with profile faces are also asymmetrical.
Inlay: On Chinese kites, some patterns are inlaid in other complete patterns. For example, the nests of sand swallow kites are sometimes inlaid with bats and lotuses.
Sumtuous: The pattern composition of Chinese kites is very sumptuous and substantial. Even if a part is left blank, it makes people feel white and full of objects. This kind of lavish or over-exaggerated composition is one of the artistic characteristics of Chinese kites.

3. The color of the kite:
(1) The characteristics of kite color.
The color characteristics of kites are determined by the different viewing conditions of kites and general paintings.
Except for large-scale murals, peoples viewing distances for general paintings are mostly within a few meters, while flying kites and watching.
The distance between visitors ranges from a dozen meters to dozens or hundreds of meters. Therefore, when deciding the color of the kite, the word "far" must be considered first. In order to meet the requirements of far-reaching effects, the colors on the kite must be sharp, the contrast must be strong, and the color blocks must be large.
A kite is something to watch during flight. Although some people hang beautiful kites as decorations in the room, I think, this cannot be the starting point for us to consider kite art. Flying is the life and soul of a kite, and its true beauty is closely connected with flying. Therefore, when we consider the color of the kite, we must first start with the word "fly". In this way, except for "far", it is "moving". The color must be designed based on the effect in flight. This is consistent with the requirements for far-reaching effects. It also requires bright colors, strong contrast, and large color blocks.
Still starting from the word "fly", the kite is in the air, often encountering light from the back. At this time, kites of different pigments and materials have different light transmission effects. Handling it well can increase the beauty of the kite. If it is not handled well, it will be ugly.
Once, in Nantes, France, I ran into a few young kite enthusiasts. One of them was holding a kite made of old newspapers. At first, I disapproved. When she set the kite up, it happened to be backlit, and the newspaper was basically black. It turned out that she dug two holes in the newspaper and glued it with orange cellophane. At this time, these two places were like two eyes, emitting beautiful brilliance, which was very moving! This incident has kept me from forgetting for a long time, and I deeply feel that in the art processing of kites, the effect of natural light transmission should be used well.
In order to achieve the effect of light transmission, a clear, large-contrast transparent color must be selected.

(2)Chinese traditional method of drawing style
One of the reasons for using "quality color" in the Zheng is to take the advantage of good light transmission.
With the sky as the background, the flying kite is set against the sky. When considering the color of the kite, this factor must not be forgotten.
The traditional Chinese kite colouring concept of "black pot bottom" means only black and white, but it is very eye-catching in the sky. There is also the Chinese hero "Zhong Yuan" wearing a red robe, and the "thin sand swallows" inlaid with red swallows in black nests. They are particularly bright and dazzling when flying in the blue sky. But colors such as sky blue and gray blue are rarely used on kites, because the sky is not obvious when flying farther away and you can't see it.

(3) The basic principles of the colors used in Chinese kites:
traditional Chinese kites almost only use Fuchsine red, sophora yellow, Malachite green and pitch black, these four colors. But the kites painted are dazzling and colorful. This is the result of the clever use of color by the kite maker. Their basic principles of color use are: bright, strong contrast, and large color zones.
Red, green, yellow and black, most of the colors here are very bright, the contrast between them is stronger, and the use of black and white lines can give a stronger contrasting effect. There are two ways to deal with large color areas: one is to directly use the large color zoness; the other is to add some of the same small color aras together to make a large color zone from a distance. These colors are very vivid on the blue sky, but you should pay a little attention to the application of green. It is best not to directly connect the green with the blue sky, but to paint it with a border of other colors to make the outline more prominent. In addition to the above beautification issues, the "painting" art also includes:

The five aspects of color, background, description, dyeing, and repair are described in the next chapter.


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***
Han Xin lifted a kite with Zhang Liang up to the sky to play CHU songs up in the air just in order to freighten the CHU-State soldiers (CHU, historischer Staat zur "Zeit der Streitenden Reiche" 475 bis 221 BCE). 


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Copyright 2002 ff: Hans P. Boehme