Drawings: Alice and the Geisha

Sketchclub didn’t have a theme this week (not that I’m good at keeping up with it anyways…), but I decided to draw my own stuff this week anyways. I always start off with a Col-Erase pencil (in this case I used the colour pink), and when I have sketched everything out, I clean-up my sketch with a blue ball-point pen. Then I did the usual thing of adding a layer of colour over top of my drawing in Photoshop. This is what I came up with:

Alice’s Shock

In this scene, Alice has just fallen down the rabbit hole in pursuit of the white rabbit. She tries to go through a small door to chase after him, but she’s too big. Alice drinks a shrinking potion (to get through the door), but when she’s shrunk, she realizes that she’s forgotten the key on the table, so she finds a piece of cake (in my case a chocolate chip cookie), takes a bite and gets bigger again. She grows way too big to get through the door and begins to cry. Her teardrops create The Pool of Tears, which whisks her through the door and off to Wonderland. (For the Alice fans, you might notice that this drawing is in homage to John Tenniel’s version. ^_~) When I added the layer of blue to the drawing, I decided to add a bit of white to Alice’s eyes and pink to her cheeks to really enhance her look of shock.

Sad Geisha

Okay, I have to admit it: I *love* Geisha’s. I love them for their aesthetic value, and I love their dedication to their artistic lifestyle. One of my Flickr contacts (mboogiedown) is always posting absolutely gorgeous photos of authentic Geisha’s (Geiko’s) and Maiko’s, and it’s such a delight to peer into this secret world. It’s really hard *not* to appreciate the beauty of these women. Geisha’s wear a kimono (which can consist of over 10 layers of fabric), all held together with an obi (the large “belt” that is tied around their waist). They also wear geta (wooden sandals) which can be almost a foot high off the ground, so their body movement becomes quite limited and restrictive. However, when they do have to move around to dance, they can get quite expressive poses with simple shapes like the tilt of a head or a bent arm (like this photo or this one). I love playing around with these shapes while I’m drawing Geisha’s. This drawing is also a commentary on the life of a Geisha. I will never know what it is like to dedicate my entire life to mastering the arts 24/7, but I can just imagine that you’d have to sacrifice a lot. I think there is such a beauty to Geisha’s, yet I think there is an incredible sadness about them too. So, my Geisha is feeling sad as she lets beauty fall away.

I guess I have Geisha’s on the mind more than usual because of the Hannari: Geisha Modern documentary premieres in the next couple of weeks.

If you would like to read more information about Geisha’s, the Immortal Geisha site is great for information (for instance, did you know that the first Geisha were men?) and they have a great forum, too. If you’re looking for a great read, pick up Geisha: A Life by Mineko Iwasaki, a true biography written by a real Geisha who lived in Kyoto. Her story is fascinating, and she hopes to squash the common stereotype that all Geisha are prostitutes… a stereotype that is held up as fact in the well-known Memoirs of a Geisha book by Arthur Golden. Even though the life of Sayuri is practically stolen from Golden’s interview with Iwasaki, I still think it’s a good book, and the movie is gorgeous.

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5 thoughts on “Drawings: Alice and the Geisha

  1. I am really enjoying your comments about the process you take in doing an illustration. It’s very informative! I like your explanation too of the effect that colour makes that you applied to Alice’s face.
    It’s interesting that you are into making dolls and are also attracted to Geishas, because they are really like a person-doll. Hmmmm. What does it mean?
    I’d love to see that movie! Thanks for the tip!

  2. Hi, I just found your blog from the flickr group “I made it myself” I really love your illustrations! Especially your process in how you get them done. I love Geishas too. Actually when I read Memoirs of a Geisha I didn’t think they were prostitutes at all. But I could see how it would have gotten that connotation. I’ll have to read Geisha: A life. I’m sure it will be a good one.

  3. Flora ~ Thanks for *your* comment! ^_^ I like reading how other people approach their work (sometimes I learn somethings I didn’t try before), so I like to explain what my process is like, too. Yeah, the doll/geisha connection is pretty self-explanatory I think! :P I hope it comes out on DVD. I think they’re still looking for a DVD distributor.

    Eesh ~ I appreciate your comment! ^_^ I think you’ll really like Geisha: A Life. There’s a new geisha autobiography called: “A Geisha’s Journey: My Life As a Kyoto Apprentice” by Komomo. I can’t wait to read it! ^_^

  4. Once again – I LOVE your Alice and Geisha drawings….I really can feel the emotion from the Geisha drwaing. Thanks for the background stories – they make the build-up to your masterpiece so much more fun! :) Excellent work! :)

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