Friday, February 17, 2012

Collector Spotlight #17: Samurai Backpiece

This is one of the pieces that I have been trying to get together to show here on the blog, but with moving to the new shop, getting resettled, and life at home, putting stuff together for the blog has been getting more and more difficult. Not giving in though, just slowing down a bit. Hopefully my few readers dont abandon me. haha!

    This weeks collector spotlight is a piece I have been working on for 3+ years, and it's not quite finished yet... just a few finishing touches. The Collector Johnathan lives out of state and we don't get to work on it very often.
    The Total concept at the top of the spotlight was figured out in stages, not all at once as I would generally prefer it, but some people don't quite figure out they are going for a full back piece until they get started. And that's exactly how this went.

The real start of the backpiece was this Future Samurai that Johnathan brought in. After a few sessions, we were already into the planning for the rest of the back, and building the concept of a full back samurai piece.

Healed versions of the Future Samurai.

While working on the foreground Samurai, we developed the concept you see above, using classic images, including a Fu Lion, and The Himeji  or "White Heron" Castle. The Fu Lion (proper term, not "fu dog") is a consistent image in cultures throughout Asia, I get it that this particular Fu Lion is more Chinese than Japanese, but it held more dramatic weight than other Japanese options in my opinion.
From here I superimposed the sketch onto a picture of John's back to show how it would look and fit.

From here began the process of the rest of the piece.

The stencil and outline, establishing the foundation of the rest of the design, everything else is dependant on this stage here; composition, shading and color cues all worked in, so that each following stage goes as smoothly as possible without too much time trying to decipher where we last left off in the piece each time we get back into it. This is something I do for all of my larger pieces, following a specific plan toward a clear goal, ending in predictable results.

A few closeups of the outline work.

After the Outline, the next sessions are just working each element, one by one, toward the finish line. I could have started anywhere, but as a reward, I saved the Himeji castle for last, and started with the next coolest element (in my own opinion) The Fu Lion.
This part was a lot of fun.
From here we just worked it out, section by section.

Then, we finally have started to reach the finish line, and the Himeji Castle finally got colored and shaded. This process took 3 years, and so was a big deal for us. We still have a few more things to do, the guidon flag, and a few details and touchups here and there. Again, when it's all done, I'll post finished pics here.

Thanks for reading! This Spotlight has been a long time coming and I appreciate your patience. I have a few others still in progress of putting together, still needing a few more pics, and to just get more time for it.

See you next week.

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