Retro decoration & Japanese horror

The idea for the “Kaidan” drawing came from an antique picture frame I photographed during a summer vacation.

Some nice retro decoration
It sits on the wall of my parents-in-law bedroom at their house near the beach (kinky or what?).

I liked the atmosphere of the photo, and I thought it would be a good starting point for a creepy drawing, something like a tribute to the works of Junji Ito. I thought it would be nice to add a conceptual twist, in order to reinforce the creepiness factor, but had some trouble deciding what that twist would be. Postponing this decision for a later stage, I jumped right in, starting with a straightforward pencil sketch.

The inking was done with a “Pentel” brush for convenience, but a normal brush could be used for the same effect. My aim was to maintain a style that resembled traditional Japanese brush paintings. Keeping this in mind I decided to stay flat, with minimum shading and to place emphasis on the cloth texture.

Inks strokes
Ink strokes up close. I like this kind of texture because it ads what one might call “false detail” to an image that might otherwise be too simple.
Demonic inking
Inking with the demons!
The drawing almost complete & ready to scan
Almost complete & ready to scan

After the scanning and cleaning up of the final drawing, it was time to add the “twist”. Enjoying the flexibility of having the piece in digital form, I tried several versions.

Rejected version. At this stage I find it useful to test the designs on a model photo.
Rejected version (too obvious). At this stage I find it useful to test the designs on a model photo.
Winning version. Bugs in face & mouth should make the desired impact by adding an unpredictable element.

I think it is worth the time to stop and think in order to come up with an eccentric or unexpected twist. It usually adds a conceptual layer to the drawing and hints at a background story or mystery.

Here are some bonus promotional shots of Kaidan, printed on Double Dodo T-shirts by the amazing Tind Silkscreen

Nina, wearing Kaidan for the promotional Double Dodo photoshoot
Nina, wearing Kaidan (SHE DODO version) for the promotional Double Dodo photoshoot
Kaidan - Premium edition (for now only HE DODO version available)
Kaidan – Premium edition

Well, that was it! I find the result pretty satisfying and close to my initial intentions in terms of atmosphere.

I hope you enjoyed this behind-the-scenes post. Be sure to stay tuned for more!

If you like this design you can buy the HE DODO, or SHE DODO version of the t-shirt on the DOUBLE DODO Online Shop.

Thanasis Psarros
Chief Dodo Wrangler
Thanasis Psarros

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