This is not a tutorial but meant to show my thought process from concept to end product.
The image was completed a few years ago when I used to scan my drawings. Today, I use my tablet more frequently for preliminary sketches.
I was inspired by an anime illustration of a fireworks scene. I loved the theme and wanted to try kimonos on Mo and Jenna. Since my time is limited, I wanted to see if i could get away with creating something quickly that has lots of meaning to me. If someone could tell me what anime this image is from I’d appreciate it.
Here, Mosirashek produces a single lotus flower, the symbol of eternity, from a field of hydrangeas. Hydrangeas are typical for this time and location during a summer Japanese festival. The piece is actually taller and a bit wider, but since I used a scanner with a smaller bed I didn’t fit the entire image for you to see right now. There will be fireworks overhead, maybe a cityscape in the distance and a simple building and lights to the left.
I began by sketching the characters on paper and placing them in a setting. The roughs are gradually cleaned up as I change certain positions and clothing. I will work on the kimonos in a little bit. At this stage I usually draw the faces how I want them which helps me determine the mood for the rest of the image.
After doing research on the types of kimonos each should have on, I found some great examples for Mo’s look. The one I chose is a black kimono that the Japanese in martial arts training would normally wear.
I decided to use no jacket to keep his look simple. I shortened the width on his obi (belt) and thickened it since this is where swords and katanas would be placed. The length of his kimono is pleated. His clan symbol, used to show family orientation and nobility, will be the Lion of Judah mounted on each side of his chest. (I forgot to add it to his sleeve in the above picture).
I added paper to the bottom part of the drawing so I could include his entire body. I also cut Jenna out and moved her over about 3/4″ to allow the focal point to be the lotus since the image was a bit crowded before. I’ll also decrease the size of Mo’s left hand. Now that I look at his position, I would have liked to see him almost kneeling as if he’s proposing. He’s sitting too far back.
Jen’s kimono will be bright yellow with flowers (yellow used to be my favorite color when I was her age). I found this image among many and will probably use a similar bag that she holds behind her back. I’m not sure if you’ll see her feet yet.
I’ve decided not to include her feet.
The hand is smaller and Jenna has been moved up again so the lotus would have room to appear floating. As I refined, I made the image vertical to include fireworks up top (this image is cropped). I tilted the pencil sketch for more movement and added an old Japanese shop to the left, a bridge and small skyline in the distance. Mo is now sitting on his right foot. Jenna’s kimono has a simple butterfly obi with the details of her dress to be worked out later. I’ve also added an old bamboo fence that is very common for these types of gardens, and layers of hydrangeas in photoshop to position them as I wanted. Fireworks will be added in color up top. Now I’m ready to ink!
Here’s the inked version done on 10″ wide comic paper. The flowers lost a lot of freshness (actually much more than I thought) which happens when I manually ink with a lightbox, but I’ll be changing the flowers and details as I color.
After scanning, I begain repositioning the image in a 11 x 17 canvas and added black at the bottom for text. I thought about effects that I wanted and roughly placed background clouds, shop colors and flowers. These will all be redefined as I figure out colors for Mo and Jenna. The clouds will be overlaid with fireworks so I don’t have to be that picky or detailed.
Top image is a closeup with a new lotus since I thought the last one looked artificial. I have a bit more to go with the flowers and shop but may hold up until the rest of the colors are worked in.
I began to detail both characters, wanting to accentuate warmer tones in Mo’s kimono and hair. I added texture to his clothing but preferred it smooth. Jenna’s dress will be more subdued as I color (hopefully I’ll enjoy creating flower patterns). The round shop sign has lit kanji symbols for a special word that I’ll explain later.
After a few steps (I apologize for not updating often enough), I placed the shadows and patterns on Jenna. If I have time, I’ll add more leaves. I changed her hair, eyes and face structure a little, and began to place fireworks in the background.
The fireworks were challenging for me since I’d never done them before. I started out using brushes but didn’t like the outcome. Instead I took my own photos of fireworks while at a July 4th show and altered some of those. I added colors, clouds and other brushes. I had a difficult time trying to keep the background calm since I needed the main focus to stay on the lotus, the two characters and the sign. Now that I think about it, my work is usually subdued anyway, so it works for me. I added shine to the back of Jenna’s head and body and the top of Mo’s hair.
Here’s the image of the Lion of Judah crest. I decided to keep it in a circle and border it with red, interior violet. This normally would have been embroidered onto his kimono. I looked at many types of crests for this image and used a real lion’s head for reference and placed a crown. I could have been more elaborate in everything but it will end up fairly small on his kimono.
Now to do the final touches and finish up the building.
Here is the finished piece and the thoughts behind it:I suppose the inspiration to begin this piece was to let people know how captivating they are to God.
When Mosirashek tells Jen that she is beautiful, he’s not talking about physical beauty which fades over time, but the inner, transforming beauty that comes as we grow and mature through our faith and relationship with Jesus. This is nothing we can earn but is given freely as a gift to everyone, and grows as we mature in our walk with Christ.
When Mo produces the lotus from the ordinary hydrangeas, he is showing Jen that her beauty is eternal and that he is infatuated by it. Jen is of course, perplexed.
The setting for this piece is at a Japanese festival during summertime where flowers are everywhere and fireworks are overhead. Hanging from the ordinary shop to the left is a simple wooden sign with a kanji symbol. The symbol reads: REST
I had thought for a long time what to put in the sign. After going through lots of words I decided to use Rest–not physical but spiritual–simply because when we live in full confidence in the Lord we are given a spiritual peace which goes beyond human reasoning.
In God’s rest, there is (how can I describe it?) a feeling of complete security, peace and assurance that God sees, hears, and knows us intimately. It’s joyful. It’s a state of oneness in the Lord that overcomes any evil or trouble; living with full confidence of a blessed life. God is true to His Word and faithful in all His promises.
And He said, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”