Riding the Kaiju

Little One is riding her Kaiju! In Japanese, Kaiju is the word for “monster” which has since become mainstream in the anime world to refer to Godzilla-type dinosaur-looking characters. Scary but still somewhat kawaii especially in an anime setting. Today, I’m sharing with you a painting I made whilst following Juliette Crane’s Serendipity I classes, this next chapter called “Using Inspiration From Others”. And who did I choose? Keep reading and you’ll soon find out!

Creating the Kaiju

Here I used an A3-size canvas board. We begin with creating our background, randomly applying swatches of paint with our fingers. So much fun to get messy isn’t it? Golden fluid acrylic and for fluorescent shades ARA were used here. This time I went for Cobalt Teal (newly purchased), Ultramarine Violet, Fluorescent Red and Fluorescent Yellow in addition to Titanium White. Apart from colour blocks with those paints, I also blended some to create some green and lilac. Then I doodled some symbols with oil pastels. Once the paint was all dry, the next step was as Juliette had also done in her tutorial, going beyond your comfort zone and spreading some “unlikely” color using a sponge stick. My unlikely color was a result of dripping some Teal, Payne’s Grey and Quinacridone Azo Nickel Gold. They were all randomly spread and merged together, resulting in some interesting shape. And what was the first thing that came to mind? A dinosaur! And then I decided there and then to make it a kaiju with Little One riding it!

My Chosen Inspiration

And now is the time to choose an artist you’re well-inspired about. For this painting, I chose a Japanese illustration artist called Ayako Rokkaku. Her work is really cute! Like me, she combines kawaii illustrations with abstract art using vivid colors. A little girl is frequently also featured in her artwork too, similar to my muse, Little One. A few years ago, I had the pleasure of visiting her art gallery near Amsterdam, even meeting her in person whilst she went about her painting. A very sweet pleasant person but a bit shy. Without emulating her too much, I selected some salient features of her work, particularly in relation to her muse:

  • Big, wide and round eyes with just the whites and pupils and looking to the side
  • Wide straight line for the mouth. I don’t usually add the mouth for Little One so this is fun!
  • The hair has bangs in the front
  • Exaggeratedly long limbs and big round hands and feet.

And here I firstly sketched a figure of Little One with some marking pencil before painting in her face. Then the modified version her features were drawn in based on the above findings. I also began outlining my Kaiju a bit too. Let’s see how things develop!

Developing the Painting Further

So far so good! The eyes look so cute!! Quite different from my kind of Little One but still loving it. The mouth was a bit of a challenge I must say as I had to redraw it a few times till I felt I got it right. For the dress, I used some collage, first with some pink tissue paper but to make it stand out more, I cut out the shape from some origami paper. The limbs turned out fine, but I didn’t like how the big feet was looking so decided not to add the big toes. It was also the background that was a further challenge given that I was constantly changing and layering it up with collages, more paint and even some white oil sticks. That said, the Kaiju turned out rather well. And now, I had to do something about the background, especially the bottom, which was going through a constant metamorphosis.

Finishing it all Up

I let it sleep overnight to decide what my next step was. Bright and early the next morning, I had a better idea as to what to do. Seeing how pretty but a bit out of place the collage of flowers looked on the top right, I thought it would be a good idea to spread them on the bottom as well. Luckily I had some extra of the wrapping paper where the flower collage had came from. I merely glued them in bits and pieces and in layers to get an impression of dimension. I then reinforced the “fins” on the kaiju by dotting on some fluorescent red gouache with the back of a bamboo skewer. Then with a violet oil pastel, I added some streaks to Little One’s hair for effect. And here we are, finally!

What fun that was, once again stepping out of my comfort zone! I’ve always been reluctant to add long limbs and big hands in my characters, not to mention mouths. And the eyes were a bit different too! Furthermore, who would have thought I would get into Kaiju’s? I quite enjoyed it all actually and would love to paint more in this new style! By getting inspired by other artists’ work, you can indeed discover other possibilities to develop creativity. This class helped me do that in two ways, first with Juliette Crane’s style followed by Ayako Rokkaku’s. And now I have more confidence to try something different yet again, I will definitely be incorporating what I’ve learned. So watch this space!

Click here for more about Juliette Crane, her work and her fun classes!

Click here for more about Ayako Rokkaku and her amazingly kawaii artwork!

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