I know a lot of artists don't enjoy keeping a sketchbook. But for me it's the easiest way to jot down my thoughts and have a visual record of my process. If I'm stuck I'll look through old sketchbooks and pick up an idea. Here is a quick sketch I did back in September of a cat with bamboo coming out its mouth and ears. Also a ticket from the William Kentridge show I saw in Kyoto, they are showing some of his work at the MOMA right now. If you appreciate charcoal drawings or animation you should check it out!
The idea for this visual was based off of a cat that lived near my apaato. (It gave me the creeps!). The second root of inspiration (hee hee) was bamboo, I feel in love with its tentacle like roots. I can definitely imagine them attacking someone. For some reason my brain mushed these two things together and so I started sketching this character.
I did some sketches of real cats and also of the cat in different positions and shaped slightly differently.
I had an extra copper plate for the printmaking class and wanted to create a print of the cat. Here's a more finished sketch of how I planned to print it. Things got busy and I ran out of time. Last month I started looking through my sketchbook and decided to work on Bamboo Cat some more.
After the sketch I did a final sketch on a nice piece of paper and scanned it. Then I printed out a few copies of it on crappy printer paper and did some color studies. I've found this is a great way to work things out before starting on the final. It seems time consuming, but actually the color studies are quick and loose. By the time I start the final I'm feeling pretty confident because I've already worked out the value and color relationships. I also love being able to change a color or add an extra pattern on the color study while I'm working on the final. Here I messed around with adding stripes to the stripes of the tiger and the outlining him in brown.
Here's the final! I was pretty happy with how it turned out so I think I'm going to approach the other Japanese monster drawings in a similar way.