Saturday, April 09, 2011

Unfinished Demons and Yokai

Hello, All! Sorry, it's been a while since my last post. As per the email conversations, I thought I'd show some sketches I did for a freelance job. Rejects, really, as none of these really look like the finished drawing. The client was " Burning Wheel," an RPG. The creator needed illustrations for his "Monster Burner," a compendium of beasties included in his game world. These are drawings I did for creating a generic demon.



I didn't have much direction on it- just "draw a demon," so I drew a fairly wide variety.


The demon head in the lower left is the closest to what we ended up with. The client liked the almost female half-face, like the demon was a twisted perversion of a once-beautiful woman. Odd. I can't seem to locate the final inked version on my drive, but I think we can live without it for now.

I did a series of Yokai- creatures from Japanese folklore- for the same game. This is Hari Onago, a Japanese spirit possessing the usual extra, extra long hair, but each strand has, at its end, a barbed hook for ensnaring her victims.


Now, something a bit different, as far as my usual styles go. These are Yokai characters for an animation project at work. There's a very loose attempt at creating a sumi-e style.


L-R Top Row: Yama-chichi/Yamajijii, Nuribotoke, Dodomeki
Bottom Row: Wanuguchi, Rokurokubi

I hadn't heard of the character, Nuribotoke, before. He's this dancing corpse with oozing black skin, dangling eyeballs, and a bloated belly. I want to do further illustrations of him.

Location:Brooklyn, NY


Anonymous said...

Love the Japanese demons. The long-necked spirit woman and the dangling-eyed varieties are among my favorites.

Kurt Komoda said...

Are there more dangling-eye yokai?

Human Mollusk said...

wonderful monsters Kurt!

Marcel Ruijters said...

Can you tell us more about the Yokai characters, Kurt? I am particularly intrigued by the long-necked lady (Rokurokubi?). I have seen those long necks in Keichi Ota's and Suehiro Maruo's work before, so that has me guessing that there would be a traditional connotation, some symbolism.
I like the guy with eyes in every fold, too!

Anonymous said...

I am not entirely sure about specific ones but creatures with dangling eyes are something I've seen here and there in Japanese art, not as much as I'd like though. The first time I ever saw it was at the end of the first Onimusha game when the main character plunged his demon sword into the top eye of that serpent yokai-thing causing the eyes of its face to force out of their sockets and dangle like that. I was so taken by the sight of it, just one of those strange things that catches one's eye whenever they may see.

Kurt Komoda said...

Yokai seem to come in two main flavors in Japanese folklore: ugly, often deformed, monsters and beautiful women that are actually evil, disgusting things.

From tales of the fox women(who often cast their fox silhouette on the rice paper screens), to various long-haired ghosts and vampires, to the Rokurokubi, beauty as a veil for evil is a common theme. I would say that it's common in all folklore- for it points out a weakness shared among all cultures.

Early Western mythology held the female form in high regard, depicting them as Earth Mothers. As patriarchal societies developed, the roles women played in mythology shifted and they were vilified and were shown to be jealous, vain, and untrustworthy.

A typical example of such of shift would be the transformation of the trinity of the Gorgon Goddesses, Medousa, Euryale, and Stheno from virtuous divinities to a single monstrous villain: the Medusa.

Oh, and really cool depiction of the Rokurokubi in action, here:

Kurt Komoda said...

My first sighting of a Rokurokubi was in a Japanese book we had in the house when I was a child. It was the story of "The Tongue-Cut Sparrow" told in photographs of cloth dolls. It was one of these glossy Japanese picture books with the hard cardboard pages- maybe only 10 or 12 pages long. In the climax, the greedy wife opens the larger of two boxes from the sparrows, and out spills a multitude of demons and ghosts. Among them, the Rokurokubi, whose neck stretched from one side of the two page spread to the other, with the grimacing head upside down, hanging over the recoiling wife. It kind of freaked me out.