Sketchbook: “Daughter of Mnemosyne”

Every once in a while I’ll find myself about to fall asleep, just letting my mind wander… and I’ll have to jump out of bed and start scribbling away before I loose a random idea that popped into my head. I was doing just that one night when another thought came to me about the source of that inspiration (which always seems to be the best kind!). I got stuck on the idea of Muses and started sketching away.

A brief explanation of the Muses is this: They are the nine daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne (“Memory” the Titan daughter of Gaia), and they are the goddesses of Inspiration and the Arts and Sciences… Okay, technically there isn’t actually a Muse that represents the visual/fine arts since that type of artist ranked about one step below Janitor on the Ancient Greek totem pole, but we can just ignore that. There are lots of different versions of what exactly the Muses were, but my favorite version is a bit darker than the usual happy dancing Nymph. The Muses are actually slaves to their own arts and the ones to whom they give their gifts. They are sources of unending inspiration and resources, but completely unable to use those gifts for themselves. Pretty messed up, right?

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So I finished sketching this, and to be honest I was never really planning on doing anything with it. See those squiggles coming from her arms? That’s my super lazy way of sketching “awesome amazing colors and designs and craziness!!” I’ve never been good at that… It’s supposed to represent the creativity literally flowing out her veins, whether she wants it to or not. Well, it just so happens I may get to do this as a big wall project in collaboration with another artist that specializes in “awesome amazing colors and designs and craziness!!” In fact, Festival Anonymous is looking into sponsoring the project, so if it goes down we’ll be documenting the whole process beginning to end and guest posting on their WordPress!

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Wheatpaste Concept Sketches 2

Another concept sketch for the wheat paste I’m planning. This time I was testing out the composition, making sure the positions of the characters worked. Plus I was testing out the style. I wasn’t sure just how cartoony I wanted to go with it. I liked the look of the composition for the most part, but the fox and kids turned out too exaggerated.

A little more tweaking and it’s almost ready!

Wheatpaste Concept Sketches

I’ve been tossing around ideas for a wheatpaste that I want to try out.. I’ve never done it before, so I really have no idea what I’m doing and it’ll be a total experiment. Here are some of the concept sketches I did for my first idea. (sorry about the awful scans =/)

I wanted to do something light and fun, and I’ve also had masks on the brain for a while now. The general idea is two children playing with fox masks, one distracted and the other confronting the very  spirit they were playing at, face to face.

I actually have the semi-final sketches for this idea just about completed, but I’ll wait to post those until I’m a little further along.

SunRise ver. 3

And the third and final version of SunRise! (SunRise version 1, SunRise version 2) I did all three of these versions as completed, stand alone images, to show the different price points that I offer for illustrations and I’m pretty pleased with how they turned out. It was actually a lot more difficult then I expected it would be, to have to design three different levels of detail and compositions for one image…! I started by drawing and inking the main image of the woman, since that would be the same through all three images, then I went straight to the third, most detailed image and began working in the background. When I was happy with the results of the third image, I began taking it apart to less detailed levels, and putting that into the first and second images… Then I had to balance them all so that they not only showed the different levels of detail, but so they actually worked on their own and didn’t just look unfinished.

So if you’d like to see all three on the same page (so it’s easier to see the difference between them) you should check out the “Illustration” page under my Prices section. With this illustration done, my Prices Page is finally completed (for the most part…) and just in time for the convention in Chicago this weekend! I leave the day after tomorrow so today I’m buckling down and getting all my printing and last minute work done. Yikes, I still have so much to do…!!  (“_”; ) ( ;”_”)

SunRise ver. 2

Here’s the second version of SunRise. It has a background now and a lot more detailing. In the original sketch she was actually stringing a bow, using her feet to balance it, but I liked the way her hands turned out so much that the bow didn’t seem necessary. That, and it threw the composition way off, no matter how I drew it.

Like I said before when I posted the first version, this is nothing at all like I imaged it would be when I was first sketching it. It’s really interesting how all the little tweaks and changes somehow ended up with this.

Tomorrow I’ll post the final version with all of the full details!

Japan Trip Day 5

Haha, weeeell it turns out internet isn’t always as easy to come by here as I thought it would be, so I missed a couple days! I’ll just have to back track a bit… so I’m already on day 8, but I’ll go back to day 5 and go from there.

Today (Day 5) was all about the shrines! We had a goal to see four of the larger shrines in Kyoto and we made it to three of them today; Fushimiinari, Kiyomizudera and Yasakajinja (the shrine at the end of Shijo Street in Gion). The first, Fushimiinari was the one I was most excited for. It’s the head shrine dedicated to Inari, a fox god of wheat, money, business and luck (among other things). It’s most famous for it’s iconic Torii gate paths, each one donated to the shrine by a business hoping to gain Inari’s good favor.

The path to the entrance to the shrine is lined with thousands of plaques covered in the names of the businesses that have donated.

Then the road opens up to reveal the enormous entrance to the shrine.

Just inside the main entrance are rows of stores selling shrine souvenirs, mostly fox inspired (I got a little bobble head Inari charm! Maybe it will give me a little luck…). There were also lots of tanuki, snakes and manekineko

A bit further in the grounds open up, until you come to the main attraction: Paths to the inner grounds lined with literally thousands of Torii gates.

Then there are the charms when you get to the inner grounds. These are always a really fun part of the shines; they are charms made by the shrines for anything from recovering from an illness to passing an important exam.

And one last photo from Fushimiinari: Inari holding harvest wheat in his mouth.

Our next stop was Kiyomizudera… but it was a little bit of a fail on our part. We didn’t realize that the Kiyomizudera that we had heard about and seen so many images of was actually the observatory and the main shrine area, which is far less interesting, is much closer to the city. So we made it to the main shrine and there was nothing there, and by that time it was too late to get all the way to the observatory! Well it wasn’t a complete waste of time; as we were leaving the grounds, we saw a few of the local monks appear from inside the off limits area and walk into the main temple. A few minutes later a couple very young (and very late I think) monks ran into the main temple building as well, and moments later the daily chants began.

We stayed to listen for a while, then headed off to visit Yasaka Shrine before it got too late. Yasakajinja is the shrine we saw the day before, but it was already all closed down for the night. During the day there are vendors that line the path into the shrine that sell all sorts of things; antiques, clothing, and lots of yummy food. There are also (of course!) more charms being sold by the men and women of the shrine complex.

So it was a very full day of shrines complexes and trains and running around. The plan for the next day was to wake up early early, book it to just ooone more shrine, run back to the hotel then board the Shinkansen for Osaka… but that will be another post!