This is something you can do at home. Everyone, please draw pictures —Toshio Suzuki
There’s no shortage of online tutorials for fans who want to draw Totoro, the enigmatic title character of Studio Ghibli’s 1988 animated feature, My Neighbor Totoro:
There’s a two-minute, non-narrated, God’s-Eye-view with shading…
A detailed geometry-based step-by-step…
A ten-minute version for kids that utilizes a drinking glass and a bottle cap to get the proportions right prior to penciling, inking, and coloring…
But none has more heart than Studio Ghibli producer Toshio Suzuki’s simple demonstration, above.
The paper is oriented toward the artist, rather than the viewer.
His only instruction is that the eyes should be spaced very far apart.
His brush pen lends itself to a freer line than the tightly controlled outlines of Studio Ghibli’s carefully rendered 2-D character designs.
This is Totoro as Zen practice, offered as a gift to cooped-up Japanese children, whose schools, like so many worldwide, were abruptly shuttered in an effort to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.
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Ayun Halliday is an author, illustrator, theater maker and Chief Primatologist of the East Village Inky zine. Her latest project is an animation and a series of free downloadable posters, encouraging citizens to wear masks in public and wear them properly. Follow her @AyunHalliday.
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