Off the Drawing Board

The Self-Satisfied Swordswoman

Here's a something from the drawing board with a somewhat complicated story...

the original sketch

This was originally intended to be a picture of a beautiful but distant woman in a kimono holding a bamboo umbrella. However, while doing some research for the picture I stumbled across a Hokusai sketch of a woman wearing a deerskin robe and wanted to incorporate that (she's on plate 130 of Michener edition of the Manga, if you're interested). Somewhere along the line she picked up a sword to balance the umbrella, and the smug self-satisfied smile started out as a joke but I liked how it looked.

Overall, I like the look of the picture. If I had to re-do it, I'd go for more of a full-body shot showing integration into a more complicated environment, but one of my goals was to keep everything very simple and restrained and I pulled that off. The only think I'm really not satisfied with is the patterning on her robe. It's to busy and distracting in color

The final piece was supposed to be a multi-block linoleum print. However, after I'd finished cutting and test printing the first two blocks, I realized that there were serious registration issues and that it wasn't going to be possible to fix them with the timeframe. Fortunately, I came up with a new composition that fit the frame I'd purchased, and spent a few days working on that. And then I wound up completely overworking that piece, and had to produce a replacement in even less time. After a quick brainstorm, I came up with the idea of re-using elements of the original piece in a new composition.

Finished piece behind the cut...

the final image

Compositionally, it's largely the same as the central portion of the original image — I've pushed in the umbrella so that it's in-frame, changed the busy patterning on the robe and kimono to something a little more restrained, and added some small details to compensate for the fact that the final piece is much larger (12"x30").

The solid line drawing/silhouette over strong color is a techinque I've used bofre, and I almost always like the results. Here, I think the colors are maybe a tad too intense, but that galls me less than the overly harsh blue-purple transition at the very top.

Truth be told, I was sad to let this one go. (It was a Christmas gift for a relative.) Which is why I'm working on another one for myself...

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