Judith and Akira

My sketches are always better
I always like the sketches more.

This is my take on Judith and Holofernes, in the style of the Otomo Akira poster artwork. Seeing other artists do their take on either subject (especially the Akira poster) always made me jealous, and at last, I was able to turn that jealousy into a few nights of poor work–life balance.

The above is a more developed version of the original sketch, which has loads of perspective errors. This poster combined a lot of different things I wanted to try, and thankfully I ended up breaking down some personal walls when it comes to digital image-making.

Often, at the end of an illustration, I feel completely drained or at a loss, like I just paddled up stream; now I’m exhausted, and I’m not really sure if my destination was actually desired. With this piece, I felt different. There seemed to be more harmony in my process, and I wasn’t left with acid in my muscles after a long haul. Despite the technical drawing involved (into which I can get way too deep), things had a nice flow to them. I relate this to climbing, in a sense: when I’m on the wall, I know I’m going to have a good session not if my arms feel strong, but if my legs are moving the right way. The pride with Judith is not with the final product, but with the process. It wasn’t a hostage negotiation this time.

Holofernes in repose
I relate to this guy the most.

I look at guys like Abbey or Frank Craig and hope that I can have the confidence to leave areas unfinished, to really focus on what matters. I could have spent three more days on this bed, but the area I wanted to get right the most was the contact shadow, where the body lies on top of the sheet. I think I did alright.

Judith holds Holofernes head
He doesn’t seem familiar, does he?

The idea for Judith was just a synthesis of two things I really wanted to do a take on. I don’t think It has to be more interesting than that.

One thing that’s worth mentioning, though: the Otomo Akira poster is the kind of composition that references itself. Once it was canonized in popular culture, the composition itself represented the original image. This is much like the Creation of Adam, where referencing the composition becomes almost parody. The Akira poster invokes a biblical significance, in that way. Judith and Holofernes happens to also be a biblical story, so there you have it…I zinged ya.

judith and holofernes in the style of Akira
My finished, final painting.

Fight with this Old Demon on Twitter, and peep more of my character illustration on Instagram.


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