Latest commission –though hopefully not the last of the year: One of my most loyal patrons, has asked me once again to create a whimsical portrait of one of his beloved felines.
My first time illustrating the lovely Ying was when I made her a “dogbuster” along with her brother Yang. Earlier this year Yang was illustrated as a dashing fighter pilot engaged in a dogfight (get it) with none other than Snoopy. But now once again it was Ying’s turn, and this time my patron requested another great idea: to portray her as the beautiful –and deadly!– Lady Snowblood.
If you’ve never seen this classic 1973 movie, yet it seems oddly familiar to you, it’s because it served as inspiration to one of the most memorable sword-fighting sequences in Tarantino’s Kill Bill vol. 1:
I chose to dispose of all the needless gore and blood, and focus instead on that iconic pose I found when googling “Lady Snowblood”:
Some things were changed in the pose to accommodate the different physical proportions between a woman and a cat (albeit an anthropomorphized one). I also chose to make changes to the haircut because the placement of the cat ears at the top of the head made it look weird –I also chose a manga-like purplish color to have some contrast with Ying’s original black fur.
As usual I got myself in some trouble by experimenting with different brushes. I employed a technique I had already utilized on previous commissions where the depiction of fur was key, in which I discovered that by starting out with a darker color and then using a much lighter color applied with a special “hair” brush, you could create the illusion of a soft and furry texture –you encounter a few drawbacks from this technique, one of which is… it takes a goddamned long time to create!
Overall I’m very satisfied with the end result. I played around with the background to make it interesting enough, yet not too busy. Autodesk Sketchbook doesn’t have any blurring filters, which were necessary in order to create the “depth of field” illusion which many digital artists are very fond of using, so exporting partial parts of the unfinished pieces to Photoshop were necessary during the middle of the process. I also sought the “clean” appearance you get when you get rid of almost all of your line art –which again increases the amount of time involved, yet it was somewhat compensated since I was dealing with a single figure in the composition.
It bears repeating that if *you* are interested in having me create an illustration like this for you, you can always reach me out by leaving a comment on this website, or by sending me an email to: absurdbydesign[at]gmail[dot]com 🙂