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!

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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.

Japan Trip Day 6

Today we got up super early. We knew we were leaving for Osaka in the afternoon, but we wanted to squeeze just a little more time in to see more of Kyoto. We hopped a city bus and about 45 minutes later we were at Kinkakuji. Another very well known, iconic temple, and well worth the trip.

The upper floors are covered in gold leaf. This is because (at least as I understand it) the upper floors hold the actual shrines, and the gold leaf is to represent on the exterior a reflection of what is held within. I haven’t had any time to color adjust any of my photos, so it’s a bit difficult to see just how beautiful this shrine really is, but here’s a link to a much better image if you’re curious.

After a short walk through the grounds there are lots of food vendors, so we each bought a few snacks. There were even special Kinkakuji Dango with gold flakes! They were delicious. (The other ones there are chocolate covered)

After we’d munched a bit we walked out of the shrine and… got more food! There was a very cute little Udon shop just across the street and we just couldn’t help ourselves.

After we’d stuffed ourselves we hopped back on the bus to our hotel, then hiked over to the JR terminal to hop back on the Shinkansen, this time for Osaka. I remembered to snag a photo this time =)

We were really hoping to get to Osaka in time to go see a movie that we had both been looking forward to (るろうに剣心 RurouniKenshin), but it was a bit of a scramble just to find our hotel and then the theatre… It was actually connected to Shin-Osaka subway station which is massive and crazy. So we found the theatre to hopefully see the movie the next day, then found a little Okonomiyaki place nearby. YUM!! Okonomiyaki is one of my favorite things and Osaka is the place to get it.

Japan Trip Day 2

Today was a long day! I woke up with the sun and headed out a little bit after… but didn’t get very far. I explored a little bit around the hotel, but had to head back in and wait on Skype for my friend. Her flight finally got in, but she had no idea how to navigate to the hotel from Narita by the train system. It can be WAY more confusing than you’d think it would be, especially since we were both so unprepared when we landed. About three hours later she got in, safe and sound and after a quick shower we headed out to Shibuya.

Just outside the station in the opposite direction of the intersection, there’s a very cool swervy little one way road.

Then… there’s THIS.

Shibyu Crossing… it’s pretty nuts. Lan and I wandered around this area for a good hour or two and crossed several times and it’s a lot like a really intense game of human Frogger. You better be ready to hop.

Do you remember that very sad movie about the Japanese dog named Hachiko? Well he was a real dog, and he really did wait for his owner all that time, and this is his statue outside of the Shibuya station… being ridden by a very drunk man.

For those of you who don’t know the story; an Akida named Hachiko would follow his owner to the train station every morning on the man’s way to work and then wait until the man returned that evening, and follow him back to their home. In 1925 the man left for work, but never came back. He had suffered a cerebral hemorrhage and died. The dog continued to wait for the man at the train station until his death in 1935.

So after Shibuya we hopped back on the train and headed up to Shinjuku to wander around a bit more.

Mmmmmmm plastic food looks so delicious…

We wandered around for a few more hours, walking up and down the streets packed full of people. A few of them had on some really amazing Halloween costumes! When we realized it was getting a little late we started to try to find a train station… and got completely lost. We found a small local station, but couldn’t find where it connected to the Line that heads towards Shibuya and back towards our hotel. We ended up buying a ticket that was eaten by the machine and running back and forth through an underground mall which had signs leading us in opposite directions! When we finally made it onto the train, it was with a little sweat on our brows. We somehow managed to catch the very last train of the night!

So, lesson learned: Keep a better eye on the time… and try asking for directions first.

Tomorrow we leave for Izu and Arai Ryokan!

Paper Mache

It’s early October and everyone is starting to seriously plan their Halloween costumes, so yesterday we had a little paper mache party (three of us sitting on the floor covered in flour paste). I won’t be around for Halloween this year so I wasn’t worried about making anything I’d actually wear… so the pressure was off and I went a little crazy! I’ve been planning out a big Wheat Paste project and it has to do with Kitsune masks, so I already had them on the brain with all the sketching I’ve been doing lately. I just didn’t realize the amount of work one little fox mask would be.

So far I have all of the parts (two ears, nose, mask base) wired with the paper mache base around them and dried, but the weight of the ears and nose are going to pull on the base mask so much that I realized I’m going to have to make a small frame to go inside the mask, then wired the attachments on after building up another few layers of the mask. Then there’s the molding. The nose I made is in a general fox-like shape, but if I just stuck it on the face as is it’d end up looking more like some weird growth. After the nose is wired to the face, I’ll have to use loose strips of paper to create more of a gradual slope to the nose, and that means a lot more layer building too.

Here’s a bottom view of the pieces so far.

And a top view with my cat giving you a size reference =)

The mask looks like a Luchador mask… but the opening that looks like a mouth will be covered up by the big nose once the frame is done. I’m definitely doing the shape of this mask non traditionally. Usually you see Kitsune masks with human shaped faces (just with ears), or with very small delicate noses, but the way I’m going to paint this needs a large nose piece since it’s going to have a big exaggerated grinning face.

So hopefully I won’t loose steam on this… It’s hard to keep motivated on a project when it still looks ugly haha.