17 February 2015

A Real Fake: Cartoons (Manga)

noun  cartoon  \kärˈto͞on\
1. A two-dimensional non-realistic or semi-realistic drawing or painting intended for satire, caricature, or humor.
2. The artistic style of such works.

Fourth pass: a gold color

As I mentioned in an earlier post, this "real fake" will be fake because it's a Japanese style woodblock reproduction of a work I found online that was originally a painting. It is not a cartoon. Cartoon images of Muhammed have caused much uproar in recent years among Muslims, but this is not a cartoon.

Fifth pass: magenta floor and half-wall

Or is it? I plan to give this image the full ukiyo-e treatment: the figure will be defined by thin lines with areas of color underneath and shiny gold mica powder in his halo. Interestingly, ukiyo-e prints are historically connected to cartoons, called manga, in Japan.

Here's a comparison of manga and ukiyo-e from the Lavenberg Collection web site:
Like manga, ukiyo-e were affordable and made for a mass audience… In content, both manga and ukiyo-e employ themes of sex, violence, tales of the rich and famous, the supernatural, and heroes and villains, to feed popular tastes.  In form, the simplicity of the use of line and the convention of flat space is favored.  Both rely on picture more than text to tell the story and use “a variety of pictorial conventions that are mutually, wordlessly, understood by the artist and reader.”
Sixth pass: Darker magenta on back wall and stripes on scarf.

So am I inadvertently making this 16th century painted image into a cartoon by using ukiyo-e techniques to render it? Even if it ends up looking just like the painting? This project raises more questions than it answers.

On another note, I'm at a point in the printing process where I really like the image just as it is and I'm tempted to just stop here. This often happens. I think that the project needs me to keep going, though.

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