Shaolin Temple monks and Jiraiya portrait

December 30, 2010

HB pencil throughout, with some collage. I have taken to forming backdrops to portraits and figure drawing by sticking ‘backgrounds’ cut from newspapers. This is part of the freeing up of my drawing (and linking it to painting, i.e. away from the traditional Renaissance disegno sketch). I was intrigued both by the monochromatic blue monk outfits (though I didn’t do justice to the textiles here, which I may return to later) and the heads ranked one behind the other.

The Jiraiya portraits come from the master’s bara comics. There are some aspects of Jiraiya’s work which are instantly seductive (those of his drawings with the high angle perspective, instances of dramatic fore-shortening, the ordinary everyday visual quality of many of the men); there are other aspects of the genre which I feel less appealing (the frequent expressions of anger, completely at odds with normal life in Japan, but I suppose that’s part of the rationale of manga to express feelings which are otherwise suppressed). I can’t recall ever having seen bearded Japanese men while I was there, but I like the sentiment, the ‘otherness’ of it.

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