Heart Designs

Hearts and heart shapes appear in lots of tattoos and are probably one of the most popular tattoo symbols out there, right behind roses. Artists incorporate tattoos into design in many creative and interesting ways.

Sailor Moon Broach (via Happyun-Birthday on tumblr)

Sailor Moon Broach (artist unknown, via Happyun-Birthday on tumblr)

I was overjoyed to find this: a Sailor Moon tattoo! What devotion! I wish I knew the artist because this is incredibly well done and they deserve praise. Reflections in gold and in ruby textures are tricky to represent since they vary so much in different kinds of light, so inking them on skin would take a lot of skill. The artist clearly paid a lot of attention to what they were doing and got the anime-style of this piece down perfectly. Enough time has passed since Sailor Moon first aired that this isn’t cheesy; I think it’s very tastefully done. I could see this being developed into a bigger back piece quite easily.

(via Rachel Jamie Baldwin on tumblr)

(via Rachel Jamie Baldwin from Modern Body Art in Birmingham City Centre, UK on tumblr)

Here’s another heart-jewel type design, but this time it’s a bit more in the background to the subject. The blues in the jewel play nicely off the yellow in the flowers. At first glance the design may appear simple, but then your eye wanders around the edges of the design to pick up pearls and the layers of necklaces. The color and design of this tattoo are elegant and beautiful.

Tattoo by Paula Converse at Into You, Brighton, UK (via fyeahtattoos on tumblr)

Tattoo by Paula Converse at Into You, Brighton, UK (via fyeahtattoos on tumblr)

These matching wrist tattoos use heart-shaped locks to tie them together. The washes of blue around the edges of the locks add a nice glow. They’re simple but very beautiful. The flat colors draw attention to the flowing line-work, especially in the details of the locks, leaves, and fur of the animals.

(via Anthony on tumblr)

(via Anthony on tumblr)

Even just looking at the line-work I’m already impressed with the intricacy of this tattoo. I also feel for the sitter since I know how painful tattoos are in the chest area. The heart here is a much smaller part of a bigger design, bringing everything together through the birds on each side. Many chest tattoos will center the heart (even though the human heart is off to the side) and it makes sense in this design. Because of all the details around the outside, our eyes are drawn to the birds and to the heart in the center. Would love to see this colored in, though I imagine she’s probably looking at another 2-3 sessions, anyway.

Had to scrounge a little bit for content today, I think the internet is on vacation (or just busy watching the Olympics). Fortunately I have tonnes for art and interior design content, so see you all on Wednesday! 😀

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Naoko Takeuchi and Sailor Moon

I’ve mentioned Sailor Moon before on this blog, via an alternate look at her fashion and while discussing Ai Yazawa’s art & manga. Recently I decided to read the manga in full, as previously I’d only seen the anime (the american dub, at that). I enjoyed it much more than I thought possible and it brought back a lot of memories of my middle school and high school days.

drawn by Naoko Takeuchi, via MangaFox.me

drawn by Naoko Takeuchi, via MangaFox.me

I won’t elaborate too much on how it changed my style since I’ve done so in previous posts, but I distinctly remember the moment I first saw Sailor Moon (even the episode, the one where she was worried about her weight so she started dieting) and how much it changed me. I’d only been exposed to american comics up until that point which were fairly realistic in nature, sticking close to anatomic rules. Well… sticking close to the anatomy of the “ideal” man and women, at least.

drawn by Naoko Takeuchi (via Batezi)

drawn by Naoko Takeuchi (via Batezi)

drawn by Naoko Takeuchi (via OtakuPopBlog)

drawn by Naoko Takeuchi (via OtakuPopBlog)

The Sailor Moon manga took those rules and ran with them. The women have ridiculously long legs and full heads of flowing hair, never a piece out of place. Their eyes are huge and super reflective. They are all slender hour glass figures and even the children are elongated and wispy. All of this should be wrong, off balance and look terrible… but I don’t care. This manga takes the reader to a completely different universe chocked full of pretty soldiers fighting the forces of darkness. Ribbons, tiaras, skirts, wings, sparkles… the art is saturated with everything girly.

The story is typical of a shojo manga. A school girl obtains magical powers to save the universe with her friends and with the help of a mysteriously handsome boy. The plot doesn’t break the mold, but it doesn’t really need to. It’s fluff, plain and simple, and that’s okay with me. The manga spans 18 volumes, plus side stories, plus art books, so there is plenty to take in. It has recently started a reprint and is available pretty much anywhere you can find books.

drawn by Naoko Takeuchi

drawn by Naoko Takeuchi

drawn by Naoko Takeuchi

drawn by Naoko Takeuchi

The art books are the real find. Fortunately, they’ve all been scanned and are freely available on the internet. Normally this would be frowned upon, but the books are out of print and are very rare; I tried to hunt them down on Ebay and found one selling for over a thousand dollars! I’d love to own them (maybe if I win the lottery, someday…) because they’re a true showcase to Naoko’s art. At first, I figured that she probably used simple pens and watercolor, but was surprised to discover that she enjoyed mixing media, employing markers, pastels, pasting designer tissue and even gluing beads into some pieces. Her washes of color are breath-taking.

drawn by Naoko Takeuchi (via MangaStyle.net)

drawn by Naoko Takeuchi (via MangaStyle.net)

I remember this image fondly; in grade 7 I wanted to experiment with watercolor painting and chose this image as a study. The art room in that school is still clear in my mind, as well as the feeling of putting color on a page for the first time (with watercolors, at least). That euphoria hasn’t changed at all. I still get that when I mark the page or canvas with that first stroke of color. To know that after all this time, I still enjoy art as much as I used to, if not more, is invigorating. This is so much more than a silly girl story for me. It’s a confirmation of my life as an artist.

After reading through this manga, I have an intense desire to start working with tones, watercolor and even spray. Maybe it’s time for me to do some new fanart for a series that’s been such a heavy inspiration in my art. Sailor Moon is the definitive shojo manga and simply cannot be overlooked.

A Cool New Look at an old Friend

Though it wasn’t the first anime I watched (that would be Samurai Pizza Cats if I remember correctly), Sailor Moon was one of the most influential cartoons for me growing up. I will always remember seeing it for the first time and thinking how different it was compared to the other cartoons I watched. The art style was more realistic than the cartoony/warped thing that Nickelodeon had going on at the time. It was so… well… pretty! It also focused on girls that were more than shopping and gossiping, girls that were intelligent and courageous.

It changed the way I looked at television & comics and drastically changed my art-style. I’d been leafing through a lot of how-to-draw-comics type books and sketching what I saw from them, going through the exercises they provided. What I drew felt very stiff and flat. When I started drawing more in an anime style to mimic Sailor Moon I was suddenly drawing flowing figures with big eyes and cute outfits. I’ll admit that during this time muscle structure and figure proportion were pretty much thrown out the window, but I had so much fun with it! It provided a much-needed change in direction and gave me a shot-in-the-arm I needed to really get going with art.

Because it inspired me to ramp up on the drawing and develop my own characters and stories, Sailor Moon (even the bastardized american dubbed version, but that’s an argument for another day) will always have a special place in my heart. So, seeing Abraham Cruz’s rendition of the Sailor Moon characters on my feed this afternoon brought a smile to my face. I especially like Sailor Moon and Sailor Jupiter:

Sailor Moon by Abraham Cruz

Sailor Moon by Abraham Cruz (via Trend Land)

Sailor Jupiter by Abraham Cruz

Sailor Jupiter by Abraham Cruz (via Trend Land)

Anime and Manga get a lot of hate in the fine art world, probably because many aspiring artists draw those styles and nothing else, neglecting any kind of formal study. For me studying from life and most recently, my figure drawing classes, makes me appreciate the beauty in anime and manga even more. (For the record, the anime & manga I refer to is not Pokemon, or Digimon, or Yugio, or pretty much any anime associated with a card game. Try Death Note or Full Metal Alchemist for some really interesting stuff.)

Alright, back to real life where there aren’t any beautiful transformation sequences and my cats don’t talk to me.