Ekaki uta/drawing songs
In Japan, songs that describe how to draw animals and/or favorite characters are called "Ekaki Uta". These songs are supposed to help children remember how to draw something by incorporating drawing directions into the lyrics. (E.g., first you draw a circle, then you dot the eyes, draw a great big smile, etc....) If they memorize the song, which is easy to do because it is usually a catchy melody, effectively they have remembered how to draw what the song describes. Children at play often sing these songs as they doodle on paper or in playground sand. Drawing songs exist for many children's cartoon characters in Japan, for example Sgt. Frog, Doraemon, and "Kirby of the Stars".
Oekaki on the Internet refers to a bulletin board system allowing artists to draw online and share their pictures. The drawings are generally not uploaded; pictures are done using an online drawing program inside the web browser. However, some versions of oekaki software do allow uploads, and usually the rules of that oekaki will state that only x number of uploads in a week are allowed. Drawings can be done with a computer mouse, a graphics tablet, or a touch screen.
The underlying computer technology used in oekaki can be a Java applet or ActiveX. Some oekaki systems offer enough features to create high quality images. The resulting picture is usually in dimensions of a few hundred pixels wide or long. The most popular applets used on English internet forums are OekakiBBS, PaintBBS, and Shi-Painter.
If the website and the program applet are both equipped for it, the artist can choose to use an animation feature which allows the internet forum users to watch a stroke-by-stroke animation of the image being drawn. Some oekaki internet forums also allow to save the image as a draft and continue work on it later. Some implement image layers only when an image is saved as an animation.
The oekaki system is extremely popular among the anime Internet subculture. Anime fans can post their pictures from computers which do not have drawing programs installed. The oekaki system enables a community gathering to share fan art and offer critiques and compliments.
There are a remarkable number of oekaki message boards, Oekaki Central being one of the largest where users can create their own oekaki board at sites such OekakiBBS.com, though this site is often hard to use for non-Japanese-speakers because much of it is in Japanese or poorly translated English.
Oekaki like designs have been applied to other uses such as Crowdsourcing in the pieces such as the Sheep Market . In this case an Oekaki resembling interface was provided for users to draw sheep to contribute to a larger work of art.
Examples of oekaki applets
OekakiBBS was developed by OekakiBBS. It was the original oekaki applet and has smaller palettes and fewer screentones than modern-day alternatives. Its features include productive color blending, multiple layer support, masks and animation saving.
PaintBBS is a simple applet created by Shi-chan, which utilises two layers and a mask system. It has many different palettes that can be used for a variety of different effects. As of version 2.04, the program detects whether the user's computer is set to Japanese or English and displays the text on the tool buttons accordingly.
OekakiPoteto by RanmaGuy was an important applet in English. After he stopped developing it, WaccoonScript error used it to create Wacintaki Poteto, which is still the most important English oekaki applet.
There are many other oekaki applets, such as PictureBBS and BBSPainter, but they are far less common. Lascaux Sketch, the featured applet on 2draw is not publicly distributed but is probably the most powerful oekaki around.
Oekaki scripts :