A Japanese Folk Tale: Yuki Onna Wip

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In fear of the Yuki Onna’s wrath from knowing we have two Japanese Yuki Onna themed movies lined up but haven’t come around to watch them, we thought it would be a good idea to share with you the sketch stage of the Yuki Onna illustration as an appeasing resource (inking and light colouring was done digitally).

The weather is also getting better over here, which makes us wonder: do Yuki Onna yokai hibernate during spring?…

★Have a great weekend and stay inspired!★

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Shin Megami Tensei – Alice WIP

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Alice’s smile makes you wonder what her goal really is…

Hi everyone,
Here’s a sneak peek of the lines for an illustration of Alice, a character from the game series “Shin Megami Tensei”. More about her soon!
(This is a traditional sketch coloured digitally)

★Until then, stay inspired★

A Japanese Folk Tale: Dodomeki

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When words can move corrupt creatures

Onward with the folklore!
Today is for the yokai named Dodomeki.
The name roughly translates to “many eyed” demon and it’s quite the literal translation as the transformation into a Dodomeki happens when young women give in to the temptation of stealing money and as a consequence, small bird eyes spout from their skin.
The name comes from a series of word plays and to explain it better, here’s an excerpt from yokai.com:

The copper coin, or dōsen, had a hole in the middle of it, and was colloquially known as a chōmoku, or “bird’s eye,” due to its shape.
The phrase ashi ga tsuku is a common idiom which means “to catch someone who has committed a crime.” Very clever readers would have noticed that if the word ashi, which can also mean money, is replaced with chōmoku, which can also mean money, the phrase changes to mean “covered in bird eyes.”

The story tells of an oni spotted causing havoc around a horse graveyard at night, to which the lord of those lands -Fujiwara no Hidesato- quickly ran to fight off.
As the demon appeared, ten foot tall and covered in glowing eyes, Hidesato shot an arrow to the brightest eye making the oni run away, only to collapse near the Mount Myoujin (in Nara).
Giving chase, Hidesato witnessed as a burst of flame was released from the Dodomeki’s body and poisonous gas escaped from the mouth. Unable to keep up the fight due to the poisoned air and heat, Hidesato had to flee. The next day when he returned, there were only remains of heavily burnt ground, with no sight of the Dodomeki.

400 years passed, and a priest named Chitoku was responsible for the investigation of unexplained fires at the temple of a town near the Mount Myoujin. Whenever the priest gave his sermons, he noticed the presence of a woman under a robe that would approach the temple and by confronting her she admits her identity to be the Dodomeki that once disappeared in that same area where the temple was built.
By scaring the priests with the fires, bit by bit the Dodomeki had the opportunity to regain the blood it spilled and toxic fumes that were once released when wounded in the past.
But despite the original intent, feeling enlightened by overhearing the powerful sermons of Chitoku, the Dodomeki vowed to do no evil ever again and since then the name Dodomeki was given to the area around Mount Myoujin.

With this illustration we sketched and inked traditionally and added the colouring digitally.
In our own version of the Dodomeki tale, even if only platonic, we wonder if there was a spark when power met with power on opposite ends of the scale.

★Have a great weekend everyone, stay inspired★

Black Douglas, the real star of Outlaw King!

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He protec but he also attack, it is Dowglas the Black!

Who likes historical movies about known figures from the past but instead of rooting for the main character, clutches the popcorn bag tighter when the underdog is on screen? We, of course! And who ends up getting more focused on the clothes and the backgrounds instead of the actual plot? We… do?
Historical movies are a complicated affair. When done right they can be a wonderful window into another time in History and the opposite can be quite the bore fest. There were no expectations when we picked “Outlaw King” for movie night. We didn’t even realize how the story was connected to “Braveheart” as the events follow the defeat of William Wallace.
And although we follow Rover the Bruce, our hearts were taken by James Douglas, Lord of Douglas. His representation by the actor Aaron Taylor Johnson was full of energy and boldness! In the movie, we get to see how he ends up being known as “Blak Dowglas” and his role in Scotland’s Independence wars as he was an expert at keeping the borders of Scotland protected and got to be named Guardian of the Realm.

The poet and chronicler John Barbour dedicated a poem of the Black Douglas, among the first of its kind in Scottish history:

But he was not so fair that we
Should praise his looks in high degree.
In visage he was rather grey;
His hair was black, so I heard say,
His limbs were finely made and long,
His bones were large, his shoulders strong,
His body was well-knit and slim
And those say that set eyes on him,
When happy, loveable was he,
And meek and sweet in company,
But those with him in battle saw
Another countenance he wore!
(Source: Wikipedia)

As a fair warning, this movie is not for everyone, especially if you are easily upset at the sight of slaughter. And boy, is there slaughter in this flick.
But if medieval stuff is to your liking and you can tolerate a bit of violence, this movie is worth a watch, especially for the wonderful fabrics used in the clothes! The wardrobe is indeed very believable. Especially Douglas. He has stars and as you might have suspected already, we are quite biased towards them… because that’s what we all are!

★Have a wonderful weekend and as always, stay inspired!★

Zelda, Chinese Zodiac and Yamakujira

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Why is Ganon a boar? (and a great bore…)

February is almost at its end, but we got ourselves eleven more months of the Year of the Pig! So, what better way to say goodbye to this month than with Ganon Boar, especially when the game franchise he comes from, The Legend of Zelda, just had its 33th birthday yesterday!
Fine, we admit it, we always jump on any given opportunity to draw Zelda characters and lately the game and lore has grown immensely, with intricate designs and a timeline capable of making Sherlock Holmes lose a few nights trying to piece it together.

Thus, we went back to nostalgic, simpler times, and drew the character trinity that these games revolve around: Zelda, Link and Ganon.
Each one represents an archetype of sorts: Zelda is Wisdom, Link is Courage and Ganon is Power.

This got us thinking… while the forms associated with Wisdom and Courage are easily perceived, why did Power get a pig shape?
Our answer is laying within Japanese culture and mythology. The Chinese Zodiac is said to have been introduced in Japan in 604 A.D. and the Japanese boar became part of it as Yamakujira meaning “the mountain whale”.
The boar is considered a fearsome and dangerous animal and there are several words and expressions in Japanese culture referring to boars. It is also linked to fertility, recklessness, prosperity and yes, power. Killing a boar is also seen as a way of proving one’s courage and that is Link’s destiny: to build his Courage and take down Ganon, the embodiment of Power.
Therefore, the boar is a very important symbol, appearing in all sorts of art forms like sculpture, poetry and even card games like hanafuda.

What a marvelous lesson we learned! Nothing comes from nothing and what seemed to be just a game developer’s fancy to us, turned out to be an homage to his own country’s rich culture. We humbly strive to follow this path and become inspired by our own country’s folklore.

Hope you enjoyed reading this as much as we had fun drawing and researching the role of pigs in Japan culture. See you next week and like always,

*Have a great weekend and stay inspired *

Sweet Valentine’s 2019

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Devon and Rayil, to make your Valentine’s Day sweeter than candy♥

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s… definitely not Superman.
We bring you not one, but two Cupids!
Devon and Rayil as vessels of love for your Valentine’s Day.
Ready and armed with the arrows of passion even if a bit unorthodox according to classical mythology. But passer-by be warned, their arrows are as strong as advertised!

No big boxes of candy nor shiny material gifts, this should be all about arrows!
According to literature and depictions, Cupid’s arrows come in two very different types, one is a sharp golden tip and the other is blunt and made of lead. While the golden one will make you lose control over your desires, the blunt type will create aversion and makes you run away. A great example of their effect is in the story of Apollo who taunted Cupid by calling him a lesser archer and as a result got shot by the golden arrow while the object of Apollo’s desire- Daphne, a naiad /water nymph- was shot by the blunt arrow, making her constantly deny and flee from Apollo’s advances. But the moment he corners her, she prays to her father- the river god Peneus- and she turns into a laurel tree. Which in turn becomes a sacred tree for Apollo. Not the ideal outcome of a love affair in our book…

There’s also a variation of the different effects regarding the different metals of the arrow. Gold for a gentle smite: easily cured; silver and steel will not be so kind as the resulting wounds of that love will never heal.

Other trivia mentions spicier imagery and symbology, but we rather keep this mild and PG.
And let’s also ignore that on our illustration, Devon might’ve just committed a self-critical shot right there. Rayil doesn’t mind♥

So in a nutshell…
Yes, it’s better to never cross a Cupid, just in case.

★Happy Valentine’s Day everyone, and stay inspired★

A Portuguese Folk tale: The Goat-footed Lady

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“Forward, my son. You will win.”

Lenda da Dama Pé de Cabra / Tale of the Goat-footed Lady

There are a lot of Portuguese folk tales translated out there but of course we had to go for one of the exceptions, since we couldn’t find it translated… Nevertheless, here is our attempt to translate the version we got inspired from, in hopes that you too will enjoy it as much as we did since we were small.

This is a story from the 11th century, compiled by a great Portuguese writer, historian, journalist and poet named Alexandre Herculano.

Here we go:

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