a rising mist
The Goodly Mist
A Workingblog for Rob Sherman
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Another Ghibli Painting

January 11, 2013

This one did not take quite as long as the last one. The canvas is about the size of an envelope, and was a gift from my girlfriend when I gave her the Totoro painting. I have a couple of plans for my own paintings in the future, but there was another Ghibli character that I had always felt drawn to in a distinctive fashion.


The Radish Spirit.

This character is not actually named in the Japanese version of Spirited Away, but has garnered a healthy digital respect from all quarters. He does look a little like a radish, I suppose, bulbous and peppery off-white, with hints of red about him giving the suggestion of discarded skin; the Japanese certainly have a certain soft spot for the vegetable. He treats Chihiro with a silent kindness, and I believe instantly struck a chord with many Ghiblians. Of course, in painting him I found another attraction; his shape. Like Totoro, he is eminently symmetrical, composed of simple, soft shapes and easy shading. He was certainly an excellent candidate for my second painting.

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With this painting, I wanted to see how quick techniques could bring about a more spontaneous finish. I was less concerned about quality, but how organisation and quick iteration could still produce an image that had depth; after all, Ghibli thrives on creating complexity from simpler tableaux. I completed the painting, from drawing to final touches, in around three hours, which is much less than the ten hours or more that I spent on Totoro. Granted, that painting was bigger, but in this instance I split the process into distinct stages of colour and increasing detail.

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As you can see below, when held up to a light behind, the painting shows the flaws that such an approach can bring; the weave of the canvas and my speed meant that I missed many of the hollows and divots, especially around the black outline. This gives it a piecemeal appearance if viewed in such a manner, but of course paintings are rarely viewed like this. I think that this can be solved by painting the outline after the larger blocks of colour; I tended to be quite timid with my colouring brushstrokes, afraid to go over the outline even though I could paint it back in later.

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I have a couple of other paintings to do, which I will post as soon as I am able. The Radish Spirit was a lesson, at least, and he still looks good on my wall.