Along Came a Spider - WIP

Here's the partial view of the line art for the Enchanted Visions Project's March 2011 theme "Along Came a Spider". It's done in ballpoint pen on paper. Now I open this file in Corel Painter and begin the coloring phase. Hopefully, I get done with it before April 4th "deadline" deadline. ^^; (I'm such a procrastinator. I learn this about myself every month with the EV theme work...)

Anyway, this month's theme, when it was first announced, gave me an immediate idea which I scribbled down on a piece of paper as a pencil sketch (My sketches are really rough and light.). The paper got lost in a stash somewhere around my desk, then the earthquake struck Japan which sucked my creative juice for a good part of a week. Then when I finally wrapped my head around it, I wanted to paint "Lady of Compassion" first. This theme got pushed back.

By the time I completed the "Lady...", I saw several pieces by other members of EV on the current theme and thought, "There's the 'cute' approach -- not me. There's the 'dark' approach -- basically what most everyone will probably come up with, and my sketch is kinda similar. Hmmm." Sleep on the ideas for a while, then the name Joro Gumo just popped up in my head. It's an actual spider in Japan, large-bodied, long-legged, shiny black with gaudy yellow and red, very flashy. Plus, there's a folklore demon spider of the same name -- a lady of the night by day, a man-devouring giant spider by night. How can anyone resist that?!?!

There are many renditions of the Joro Gumo, the demon by artists from hundreds of years ago and present day. Many depicts the half-woman half-spider demon form or a woman with a spider web. Surprisingly, there were not a lot of depictions like this one with traditional Japanese kimono and hair. So it became even more of a motivation to pursue this idea.

Inking of the pencil lines went slowly. Mostly because of the complexity of the spider lilies in the foreground. The spider lilies (manjushage in Japanese) is perfect because of its association with the netherworld in Japanese folklore, and with common names like "ghost flower", "hell flower", "flower of the dead", etc. I worked on this image from bottom up. Once I got to the woman's head, I finally realized just exactly what kind of predicament I put myself into. The oiran-style hair is very elaborate with a lot of kanzashi and the classic Japanese style hair. I had to study photos of wigs for actresses. XD

The color scheme for this will be sunset colors to place this scene at dusk. It's the dangerous time of transition from day to night when she becomes truly predatory. And that is a theme I enjoy and gravitate toward. Lots of red, oranges, black, and maybe purple.


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