Yokai Print Series Rough Drafts
With a puppy underfoot, my studio time in the foreseeable future will be limited until she is properly trained (my studio is not as puppy-proof as my room/house). But, with a sketchbook, ballpoint pen, and Corel Painter at hand, I can at least work on drafts for relief prints in between chasing, playing, and cleaning up after puppy. I’ll probably work on a bunch of drafts over the next….weeks, that way when I can I have a lot of images I can carve.
I’ve been toying with the idea of doing a series of relief prints based on yokai—creatures and monster from Japanese legend—after seeing Charles Dunbar’s anthropology lectures at Nekocon over the years, and since I’ve started relief printing I’ve taken a look at some Japanese woodblock pieces for inspiration. For these drafts I sketched certain elements separately, the cleaned and collaborated them into a full composition on the computer.
Top—Kappa. The kappa is a well-known Japanese imp that lives in rivers. They are sometimes very malevolent, including drowning people, pulling dangerous pranks, and eating one of their favorite foods—human children. But, there are a few ways to escape a kappa: trick it into bowing and spilling the water in the basin on its head, rendering it powerless, beat it in a sumo match, or carving the your name (or your children’s names) into cucumbers and offering it to the kappa instead. Cucumbers are the one food they like more than children, and they can become benevolent guardians if appeased.
Bottom—Yuki Onna. The yuki onna is a “snow woman”—a yokai believed to appear in snowstorms, and is literally the personification of freezing to death. Though often described as beautiful young woman, exact details vary; sometimes she is dressed in a white kimono, sometimes she’s nude, and others she is so pale and at one with the snow only her face and dark hair are visible in the white. Playing off this last image—and a rather creepy noh mask—I tried to make her blend into her surroundings (and we had a perfect, foggy, snowy day for photo reference today). To figure out exactly how to render such an illusion—and atmospheric distance in the snowy forest—in just black and white, I made an “inked” version on my computer to practice.
These images are tentative and subject to change. I might vary the style from just lines, like the kappa, to more black/rendered like the yuki onna depending on the image.
Again, pardon the reblog, my Facebook/tumblr connection is being finnicky.