Studies of Strange Things is a project I’ve developed over the last year while studying for my degree in illustration at Northampton. The main inspiration for the project was a Japanese folk tale taken from the book Kwaidan: Stories and Studies of Strange Things by Lafcadio Hearn. The book is a collection of Japanese folk tales, ghost stories and some descriptions of insects that was published in 1904. I chose one tale in particular (titled: Rokuro-Kubi) that inspired me to create the mountainous and forest landscapes, where goblin foxes and furry things are said to dwell.
The idea that Hearn was experiencing something new whilst collecting old tales, really drove me to think about an alien landscape that may also strike the viewer with a familiarity and a childhood sense of wonder and imagination.
I began the main pieces working with coloured pencil, initially thinking about blues and turquoises that I wanted to echo throughout the pieces and I knew I wanted to work big so the original sketches are actually A1 in size! I then scanned in my hand drawn pencil illustrations and added colour digitally.
I really love creating textures and colours through print making and experimenting with inks, watercolours and different papers which I scan to build up a library of colour. For this project I mainly worked with water based inks (a lot of Viridian & Juniper from Winsor & newton and Doc Martins) and even used textures I created using my Ogami sketchbook (which has paper made out of stone) for the rocks in my images.
These 5 images are the main focus but I also worked with a lot of ink and pencil drawings to develop the project, these really informed the shapes of the plants, trees and creatures. I exhibited some of these at my degree show as a collection of “studies” alongside the the 5x A1 prints, and a small book made out of rice paper. The book was a collection of some of my ink drawings and the paper has a nice translucent quality so the black and white images that follow on the next page show through.