Sunday, January 23, 2011

Japanese Folk Tales - Kasajizou 日本昔話・笠地蔵

I’ve always loved old folklore, especially the stories from Japan. I’m going to try my best to do a series of illustrations based on some of my favorite stories. If its good enough, I may try to hold a gallery when I go back to Japan. I’m really excited about the cool illustrations that could come out of this, there are some wonderful stories to choose from.

These are my character studies for my first illustration, from the story Kasajizou. Kasa are those straw hats you often see Japanese farmers wearing, and a Jizou (or Ojizousama) is a deity that protects children (it’s a little deeper than that, but you can read about that here if you’re interested)

Some thumbnails of possible compositions.

My first choice starts off like most of them, with an old, poor, but kind hearted couple. On New Year’s Eve, the old man makes hats to sell at the market so he can buy food, but when he can sell none, returns home feeling defeated. On the way he runs into these six little Ojizousama statues, each with snow piled up on their heads. Feeling sorry for them, he brushes the snow off, and gives his straw hats to each of them. He only has five hats though, so to the sixth statue he gives the covering from his own head. In the end the statues return to his home while he sleeps, and leave a mountain of food at his doorstep.


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