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Oekaki (お絵描き; drawing/painting) is a form of computer art that originated from the Japanese-speaking web during the late '90s and early '00s. The term oekaki typically refers to art drawn using oekaki bulletin boards and oekaki chats, and these sites were very popular with amateur artists around the world during the first half of the '00s. Their popularity waned as the decade wore on however, before fading into near-complete obscurity during the 2010s. As of 2022, there are only a few semi-active oekaki bulletin boards remaining.

The reasons for their waning popularity are many, but it was at least in part due to web users developing vastly different browsing and computing habits than were commonplace during the first half of the '00s. The final nail in the coffin was likely the obsolescence—and eventual discontinuation—of Java and Flash support in web browsers, which prevented the average user from being able to use oekaki applets. Since then, several oekaki applets that do not require Java or Flash have been created, but the format's popularity has yet to show any major signs of revival.

Some people confuse oekaki art with pixel art due to the visible aliasing that oekaki art often exhibits, but they are not the same thing. Pixel art is typically drawn meticulously pixel-by-pixel with strict color palette limitations; oekaki art, on the other hand, is usually hand drawn with a graphics tablet in a web browser, and only appears pixelated or palette-limited if that is the artist's intent, or if there are limitations within the oekaki applet being used.

Oekaki applets

Oekaki bulletin board scripts

  • POTI-board (PHP; based on futaba.php; utilizes Shi-chan's PaintBBS and Shi-Painter)
  • POTI-board EVO EN (PHP; updated version of POTI-board with English translation; utilizes PaintBBS NEO, Shi-Painter (uses CheerpJ to make it work on modern browsers), ChickenPaint, and Klecks; live demo)
  • Petit Note (PHP; utilizes PaintBBS NEO, ChickenPaint, and Klecks; live demo)

Oekaki bulletin boards



Gallery of epic Heyuri oekaki

*Note that this is not a complete collection of Heyuri oekaki, just some of the best/notable ones. They are sorted from most recent to least recent.