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Inktober 2018 - The Monster in the Mirror


The Monster in the Mirror

This was an idea from last year's Inktober that I never finished. I have a book of old photos of Geisha from the 1800s that I started pulling out and basing illustrations on late last year. Sometimes I overthink things and it's nice to give myself strict parameters/simple to make an illustration from. I just find a picture that I like and try and make it something else. Chisana Tatsu and Momochojo both came out of that process. The Cahier Project also features several of those kind of drawings. Here's the thing: I need to finish something for myself every once in a while. It helps me with my sense of self-worth. Even if it's just a finished drawing.

So that was a tangent. Anyway, that's where this piece started.

Mirrors seem to be the perfect symbol for illusions and things not being what they appear. Sometimes I feel like every time I look in the mirror I see something new or different about myself. Is my mind mis-remembering or have things actually changed? I mean, who looks at a photo of themselves and thinks, yes, that's exactly the way I wanted to look when that person hit the shutter button? No one.

But to look in the mirror and see more than your reality reflected back at you, that's something else. That's the feeling I was trying to capture.


The new thumbnail sketch

I couldn't find my original sketch, but I had the picture that inspired the idea close to hand so I did a quick thumbnail to make sure my shapes were working and jumped right into it.

The underdrawing and first lines with the FineLiner

I used some different materials this time around except for the under-sketch - that was the usual Col-Erase indigo blue pencil. Paper was the new (ish) Strathmore multimedia toned grey paper with miscellaneous Pentel ink brushes, a Staedtler Pigment Liner, some white FW acrylic ink and a white Uni Ball gell pen. Actually, I forgot, I did some of the patterns on her kimono in black Prismacolor.

Most of the painting is finished

The paper performed much better than the toned Strathmore drawing paper, but I also wasn't strictly speaking painting on it. I kept the ink washes much simpler, trying to go more towards design and shapes than rendering.

Making sure the contrast is working and finalizing details

Weird side note: my hand would not stop shaking when I was working on the linework. I couldn't keep any of my lines from wobbling to save my life.


Overall, I think I'm satisfied with this one. Some more planning in the kimono and obi could have pushed this piece over into the really nice category, but, hey, hindsight is 20/20.

The only thing that really, really bugs me is the girl. If I saw that in the mirror . . . Mild confusion and astonishment is nowhere near the zipcode I'd be in. I should have taken some reference photos myself to try and capture more of the emotion that should be in her pose and face.

This piece flew by. I think I spent maybe 4 hours on it? I forgot how much I really like the Pentel brush pens. They performed much better on this paper than watered down ink and brushes.

Another side note: this paper photographs and scans horribly!! Both this piece and the Werewolf look one-hundred times better in person . . . It's making me rethink what I want to do for the rest of the Inktober pieces.

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