Monday, February 11, 2008
Jacob Covey of Fantagraphics emailed me several months ago and invited me to be a contributor to the forthcoming “Beasts 2” book.
Originally I was planning on illustrating a Satyr, but unfortunately another illustrator beat me to it, so I chose to illustrate the Japanese ghost “Yuki-Onna.”
Here is how Wikipedia describes Yuki-Onna:
“Yuki-onna appears as a tall, beautiful woman with long hair on snowy nights. Her skin is inhumanly pale or even transparent, causing her to blend into the snowy landscape (as she is most famously described in Lafcadio Hearn's Kwaidan: Stories and Studies of Strange Things). She sometimes wears a white kimono, but other legends describe her as nude, with only her face, hair, and pubic region standing out against the snow. Despite her inhuman beauty, her eyes can strike terror into mortals. She floats across the snow, leaving no footprints (in fact, some tales say she has no feet, a notable feature for many Japanese ghosts), and she can transform into a cloud of mist or snow if she is threatened.”
I had a lot of fun with this project, there was no back and forth of sketches, I got the chance to just do the thing my way right off the bat.
I wanted the piece to relate visually as well to an old Japanese woodblock print. Three notable characteristics that I utilized were limited colors, minimalist background, and the contorted facial expression of the Yuki-Onna's victim on the bottom left.
Here are some images I photographed from books of Japanese Woodblock Prints that were inspirational to the illustration:
Incidentally, there is an open competition for the remaining few spots in the Monsters book, you can read about it here. Good luck if you decide to take part.
Thanks for reading!