Art Gallery – Haruka & Michiru Wafuku Re-Draw

Forget Usagi and Mamoru, everyone knows that Haruka and Michiru were the real power couple of Sailor Moon. I’ve always loved it when wafuku shows up in anime, so of course I’ve got a soft spot for this iconic imagery of these two in kimono but the colour and design choices always felt a bit arbitrary to me. I’ve had some free time recently (thanks, covid!) and thought it might be fun to redraw that screenshot but put the two of them in kimono that more closely reflected their outfits and personalities.

Haruka’s dressed in a typically maculine style, with colours lifted from her Sailor fuku. There’s a pattern of clouds and thunder dragons on her haori as a nod to her powers. Michiru’s in her typical palette of blues and teals, with a seigaiha wave design on her houmongi. Her obi has a subtle motif of sheet music to reflect her love of the violin. A simple background pulls everything together without being distracting, and I’m quite pleased with how this turned out.

Z is for Zen, Zoge

Zen, , Buddhism
Zoge, 象牙, Ivory

Celebrating the last day of this challenge with a two-for-one. Zen, the Japanese school of Mahayana Buddhism emphasising the value of meditation and intuition, and Zoge, the Japanese word for Ivory.

Rather than dump more info on you, I thought I would just let this statue speak for itself. There’s a grounded beauty in its simplicity I could never hope to explain properly. This ivory Buddha belonged to my grandmother. Both my father and I grew up playing with it. The texture on his head is incredibly soothing, and I have strong tactile memories of running my fingers over it whenever I was allowed to take it off the shelf where it was displayed.

Please note, I absolutely don’t condone the sale, trade, or collection of ivory. This piece is from a time when people had different mentalities and knowledge about this sort of thing. It’s treasured by our family and we appreciate it for what it is, and have no intention of ever letting it go back on the market.

Art Gallery – Eeeveelution Girls

What’s this nonsense? Pokémon fanart? I was inspired by the Kimono Girls who are present in both the games and the anime and manga. I thought it would be really cool to do a series of them inspired by each of the evolution forms of Eevee, who is one of my favourite pokemon. Hopefully it’s obvious which one is which, but just in case it doesn’t come through clearly (or you’re not familiar with Pokemon), we have, in order:

  • Eevee – Since Eevee is the original/unevolved form, I wanted her outfit to be basic and versatile. Eevee’s distinctive fur ruff and tail formed the starting point for her kimono.
  • Vaporeon – For the water evolution, I knew a seigaiha obi would be perfect, and I’ll never pass up the opportunity to include Kanagawa’s Great Wave when I can!
  • Jolteon – Modern lightning motifs for the electric evolution, of course.
  • Flareon – Hot colours and traditional flames suit the fire evolution perfectly.
  • Espeon – The psychic evolution is hard to convey visually, so I chose to do a base kimono in a subtle gradient of Espeon’s colours, and the sakura motif obi as a nod to the trainer Sakura in the anime, who has an Espeon.
  • Umbreon  – Like psychic, dark is a hard concept to convey, so Umbreon’s style was inspired directly by the visuals of the game.
  • Sylveon – The pastels and bows of the fairy evolution seemed perfectly suited to tabane noshi. This is actually the first one I made, and inspired the rest of the project!
  • Glaceon – Yukiwa motif for the ice-based Glaceon just made sense. The diamond pattern of the obi helps reinforce the crystalline feel.
  • Leafeon – Swirling vines and shades of green and brown were the clear choice for Leafeon’s grass form.

I had a lot of fun finding the right colours and patterns for each of these little ladies, and I love how they look all put together! If you get a kick out of them too, prints are available in my Society6 shop.

Art Gallery – Takarazukushi Motif

Happy March! Spring finally feels like it’s within reach after this miserable winter. Something about the change in the air has got my creative juices flowing. I got the idea for this pattern while stuck at work earlier this week and spent my day off getting it out of my system. I was inspired by the iconic Louis Vuitton monogram motif in both the traditional brown colourway and the neon colours, combined with simplistic kamon-based representations of Takarazukushi (宝尽くし, mixed treasures).

Typically the combined motif has seven of these treasures, and which seven varies from representation to representation, but I couldn’t decide which ones I like best so I drew them all. It was a challenge, but a fun one. They are:

  • nyoihōju (jewel of one’s wishes)
  • kakuremino (cloak of invisibility)
  • kakuregasa (hat of invisibility)
  • chōji (clove)
  • uchide no kodzuchi (fortune-bringing small mallet)
  • hōyaku (treasure key)
  • kinnō (money bag)
  • makimono (scrolls)
  • fundō (counterweight)
  • gunhai (war fan)
  • shippō (seven precious gems)

See if you can figure out which one is which! The three triangles that look like the Triforce from Legend of Zelda is uroko (鱗 fish scales motif), often paired with takara. I wanted something a little simpler and more neutral for the smaller repeat, and think this worked out great.

Feel free to download these patterns and use them as wallpapers (right-click and “Open as new window” to get the large version), phone lock screens, or whatever other personal use tickles your fancy. They’re seamless so they’ll repeat very smoothly. Just please don’t use them on things you plan to sell.

These patterns are available on all sorts of cool products over in my Society6 shop, along with prints of some of my other kimono-adjacent artwork. Please do check them out, it helps the blog out enormously when people buy things from there!

Art Gallery – Portrait by Dan Howard

I’ve loved Dan Howards’s art for years, ever since I saw it on a message board we were both members of. I’d always wanted wanted to commission him but things never worked out. Until now! Things came together at just the right time, and I’m very happy.

He did a great job capturing the details that were important to me, like my hair and my accessories, while still staying true to his personal style. I also love the low collar of the kimono! Especially since he’d never drawn accurate kimono before and was going by some vague references I sent. The pop of red is great too. It adds a great little racy touch and contrasts so well with my beloved teal/peacock colour palette.

Please go check out his work on his website, Dan Howard Art.