Saturday, May 19, 2007

I Am No Man!

The thumb for this one seemed to be a big hit, so here's the final. What do you think?Women in feudal Japan enjoyed remarkable rights and privileges, considering the time period. During the Kamakura period (12th-14th century by Western reckoning), they could inherit lands, file lawsuits against grievances and were expected to defend their homelands from invasion should the men be on military campaign. However, once Japan inherited Confucian beliefs, women became regulated to the subserivent gender.

In the history of Japan, there were a few 'women samurai', although the term would be incorrect, since the name samurai was gender specific to men. A more proper term would be onna bugei-sha, meaning literally 'woman trained in the buke (fighting) arts'.

Probably the most famous of the onna bugei-sha was Tomoe Gozen. Very little is known about Tomoe. She fought during the Gempei wars (1180-1185), and was either wife, concubine or female attendant to Minamoto no Yoshinaka. While most women of the time were skilled in sojutsu (the art of the spear), Tomoe was legendary for her skills in riding, archery and kenjutsu (the art of the sword). She was fiercely loyal to her lord, and was one of his most successful and respected senior Captains.

Minamoto no Yoshinaka successfully defeated the Heike clan at the Battle of Kurikawa (which turned the tide of the war in favor of the Minamoto), but tragically was betrayed by his own cousin, Minamoto no Yoritomo (who would eventually rise to be the final victor of the Gempei wars). Yoritomo sent his brothers, the legendary Minamoto no Yoshitsune and Minamoto no Noriyori to crush Yoshinaka at the Battle of Awazu on February 21, 1184.

Yonshinaka and his clan were defeated, but what became of Tomoe Gozen is unknown. Some say she died alongside her lord, but only at the cost of many of the enemy. Others say she fled from the battle with the head of her lord to deny the enemy their trophy. Some say she threw herself into the sea or became a nun. The mystery and intrigue surrounding her life only added to her legend.

Friday, May 18, 2007

The Office

An old (and a bit dramatized) sketch of my office. Can you spot (a) a literary reference, (b) a movie reference and (c) a Cold War history reference?

Thursday, May 17, 2007


Stuff done at the office. Enjoy!

First attempt. Still getting used to painting in Flash.
Second attempt. Got some inspiration from Finding Nemo.
Third attempt. Hopefully the strongest of the three.
Me trying some dramatic lighting.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Some New Thumbs

I've started my online class digital painting class with the talented Bobby Chiu. It's probably going to take up the lion's share of my time, so I doubt I'll be able to post a whole lot in the way of new digital paintings until I'm done. This is because for the most part, our class paintings are based off of Bobby's drawings, so they're his property, and if I post them as mine, it's not just illegal, it's plain low. To learn more about his work and class, check out and

In the meantime, I'll be doing thumbs for new ideas that I plan on taking to finish once I'm done with Bobby's class (and hopefully, my digital painting skills will be improved). Here are some right now.

Now for fun (and to find out how good-or bad- my design skills are), leave me a comment and tell me what you think is going on in each thumb (Knowledge of Japanese samurai culture and Games Workshop games is recommended.). The first one to get all three right will get some sort of prize. Maybe a sketch or something. Just please get it right quickly, or I'll be depressed.
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