bookmark_borderReturn of the Brushwork

These three scroll blanks are traced from a frame captured from “The Tale of Princess Kaguya” a 2013 animated film Studio Ghibli. This film is beautiful, and has a large number of beautiful images in it.

This modern animated film is based on an anonymous 10th-century folk tale called “Tale of the Bamboo Cutter”. It follows the life of a mysterious baby girl who is found in a shining bamboo stump and raised to be a princess by a poor childless couple.

For almost a decade following its release, this was the most expensive Japanese film ever produced, possibly due to the art style that is based on the Yamato-e style of old Japanese illustrated scrolls (emaki). In 1999, director Takahata published a book called “From a Painting” in which he explored traditional Japanese art and its ties to his animation.

In this image, the devoted maidservants of the Princess ready her cart for travel.

This one, I think I laid the color on a bit heavy. It’s vibrant as heck, but you can’t tell that the maid’s gowns are four different colors.

This one’s a bit lighter, but still too heavy. I tried a different green on the cart, and embellished it with bamboo leaves the way it is in the film, though.

This one is so much lighter, and you can really see the different hues on the robes. I’m starting to get the hang of using really watery mixes of paint to wash color into the paper. The paper is super-absorbent, so you need a light touch to keep from creating blobs of color. Super happy with this one.

bookmark_borderHey, it’s Brushwork

Sometimes, you just have to go back to basics and see if you’ve actually improved or just think so. I pulled this figure detail from the Heiji Monogatari, which details a series of civil wars in ancient Japan between the Heike and Genji clans.

This one, I just gave a light ink wash to his robe. (Plus a little detail color on his arrow fletching.) Hey, that looks all right.

This one, I used light color washes on his clothing, and a bit of peach pink on his flesh. At some point, I flipped this image left-to-right in my library. His sword is on the wrong side.

One more with watercolor washes. Maybe I can actually learn how to do this? If the outline for the soldier looks a little crude, he is fairly small in the original scroll, and I only have a very bad black+white image in my reference. These images will make good scroll for minor archery recognition, I hope.

bookmark_borderOld Brushwork

It seems that I did this copy of a portrait from the Zuishin Teiki emaki back in June of 2019, but never bothered to scan it in.

This emaki (illustrated scroll) presents portraits of the members of the Imperial Guard Cavalry, and is representative of the highly realistic “documentary” style of emaki that flourished in the Kamakura period.

It is interesting because although this emaki is from the time period when the black-and-white hakubyou style was the dominant expression of Yamato-e, it has light washes of color on the clothing of the rider and the tack of the horse.

I have exaggerated the coloring on this copy, but left the horse pure white.