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Inked Cartoons + Calligraphy

Hello everyone! Nice to work with you all. I am fortunate to stumble upon Ms. Yuko Shimizu's class, having admired her editorial work back at art school. As an illustrator focusing on pen and ink work, I am happy to learn new skills from one of the best in the field. The biggest challenge of this course for me will be learning to work with a new tool: the Asian brush. I am most comfortable with using the pen nib for thinner line quality, so I am excited to try inking with broader and varied strokes.

Thanks to this course, I am now ADDICTED to Chinese calligraphy. Here are some of my better attempts at writing the characters after trial and error. Ms. Ai Tatebayashi made this look way too easy. I found kanji script extremely fun to play around with, especially since it's so foreign to me, and hope that it will be passable for any literate Chinese / Japanese / Korean readers.

Here is the kanji for "dragon" with my stamped signature (from a seal that I got in China)! As you could probably tell, I got pretty obsessed with the dry brush effect. IT'S SO BEAUTIFUL! It's nuances like these that I can't get with the tiny cross hatching I'm accustomed to. 

Here are the first quick studies I drew with the Asian brush. These were done from observation with the brush as is, with no pencil sketch. Can you tell who the person on the bottom left hand corner is? ;o) I made these when I wasn't too comfortable with the kanji yet, so I am hoping that more calligraphy practice would loosen up / revitalize my future renderings.

Lastly (for the time being), I created these studies after I became more comfortable with kanji. I could see the difference already! The character on the left was created directly from my imagination, while the image on the right is a caricature of a tv star. They were both initially rendered quckly as sketches with the HB pencil Ms. Shimizu suggested. Then, I added all my favorite techniques and tools together: wet-on-wet and thick-to-thin lines with watercolor brushes, the dry brush effect with the Asian brush, and fine lines with the pen nib.

I found that this multi-tool method works best for me. Maybe one day, I will be skilled enough to use the Asian brush by itself, but I am content for now. I grew up with cartoons and anime, so my stuff does tend to look shiny or polished. I am trying to grow out of that with more attention to realism. If you have any suggestions on ways you apply different textures (like fur on a cat, clouds in the sky, etc.), that would be much appreciated. I absolutely look forward to making a full illustration with many different textures!

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