The Tulip Exercise

2004 issue

WHChaikumultimedia                                                                                                         exercise #3

Art-Haiku Illustrations:
a haiku by

Michael Dylan Welch

Greetings all,

Hope everyone has their cameras, digital filters, watercolor paper

and brushes ready to roll!
This should be a challenging and fun project.

Please let me know who will be participating, ASAP.
You can let me know on or off list….

Just to clarify…the submissions are due by July 15, 2003


             ~ EXERCISE #3 – ILLUSTRATION OF A HAIKU ~  
Our guest Michael Dylan Welch has distinguished himself as one of the

best known haiku poets today!  For more information: MichaelDylanWelch  – I am

delighted to present one of his poems to be used in this exercise and looking

forward to his comments about our illustrations.

GOAL:    An illustration of a haiku by Michael Dylan Welch. It may be

computer-art haiga, photo-haiga or scanned traditional media haiga.

(You may submit one of each type (total of 3).


1.  your final image(s) should measure about  500×500 pixels and 72 ppi

3.  choose any font you like, but you must use the full text of Michael’s

haiku, including his name [no copyright problems!]

5. name your image as follows: mwelchyourname.jpg [no spaces in this


6. you may submit one of each type of haiga (total of 3) if you wish…

remember do not include your name, but make sure Michael’s haiku is

just as it is posted here.
If you submit more than one, name them: mwelch-yourname1.jpg,

Example: mwelch-carolraisfeld1.jpg, mwelch-carolraisfeld2.jpg

7 .- Images must not be more than 200 KB.

8. – include the full text of the haiku and the full name of the poet
-do not include your own name or initials in the image.
-do not include the name of the photographer

9. The design does not have to be a literal representation
of elements in the haiku, but the thematic link or juxtaposition of image

and haiku should be perceivable.

SUBMISSION DATE:   by midnight Tuesday July 15, 2003

Send your images [not a zip – individual only] to me at:

When all the submissions are in, I’ll then post the variations for all of us

to see and comment on.   The haiku is posted below:

tulip festival—
the colours of all the cars
in the parking lot

Michael Dylan Welch

Looking forward to seeing all your talent and experimentation at work…

I know we’ll see some exciting new ideas …be as subtle or as brave

as you like

have fun!

Please continue to submit whatever other work you are doing and wish

to share with all of us.




tulip festival—
the colours of all the cars
in the parking lot
by Michael D. Welch


Objective and Subjective Assessments of Modern Haiga

When I lived in California, I served as a judge for many years for the Northern California Council of Camera Clubs. It was my privilege to visit many of the San Francisco-area photography clubs to judge their frequent competitions in the categories of travel, journalism, creative, nature, and pictorial photographs. There are obviously many ways a photograph can succeed, and they lie mostly beyond the presumed mastery of craft. Most matters of craft can be objectively judged, but of course judging the success of what lies beyond craft is typically a subjective concern. Painting, too, may typically be judged objectively on craft, and then subjectively on overall impact, including emotional effect. Combining the arts of photography and computer-aided painting is, to me, simply another medium for visual expression where many of the same objective and subjective guidelines apply. Adding a poem, such as a haiku, introduces another element that harkens back to the long-established practice of haiga creation in Japan. The photograph or painting or graphic design should naturally rise to the highest level possible in terms of craft, and failings in this realm can doom a modern haiga creation before it gets off the ground. But assuming the visual medium is mastered reasonably well, the nature of combining poem with image remains vital. As with traditional haiga, the best combinations create something new by the combination — a synergy that is greater than the sum of its elements. If either the image or the poem is redundant, then what is accomplished? A good modern haiga should rise above mere “illustration” of the poem. Furthermore, the relationship of the poem to image often relies on renku-like linking and shifting techniques. If the relationship of the image to the poem and vice versa does not shift adequately or fails to contain a sufficiently obvious link, then the creation as a whole fails. For me, in assessing modern haiga, I wish to judge them in terms of 1) basic craft, 2) the relationship of poem to image and the effectiveness of linking/shifting techniques, and 3) overall emotional and aesthetic impression. The creativity of the image-maker infuses each of these three criteria. And while paying attention to more objective assessments, I never want to forget what literature critics call the “precognitive response” — how something makes you feel when you see it. Like? Dislike? Unsure? It’s important to pay attention to this gut response first, then figure out, if you wish, WHY you have that response. These are thus my general thoughts in approaching the images created here and in assessing their relationship to the poem they so enthusiastically and kindly honour.

–Michael Dylan Welch

NOTE: For more information on the history, development, and aesthetics of haiga in Japan and North America, I’d like to recommend *Berries and Cream: Contemporary Haiga in North America*. This book is an interview I did with Jeanne Emrich, who originally ran the “Haiga Online” Web site, and currently edits the new haiga journal, *Reeds*. For more information on the book, please visit or, to order other Press Here books, visit For more information on *Reeds*, please visit Reeds: Contemporary Haiga Finally, to see “Open Window,” a selection of my own haiku and photographs, please visit


The results – the illustrations for this exercise:

Part 1

Part 2


This entry was posted in Contests, Haiga, Haiku art, Lessons, Vol 4-1 December 2004 and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to The Tulip Exercise

  1. What a gem 😀 It’s so sad more people don’t know about this site,
    this article had exactly what I needed to know 😀

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