While looking for some inspiration for design ideas for the fox designs for my project, I suddenly remembered one of my biggest inspirations for design style that I came across prior to even starting the course. Sarah Graybill (aka Tea Fox Illustrations) is an online artist from america who I am a personal fan of (having bought several of her pieces myself).
Her style (as the name implies) is based around the use of tea stained paper, pencils, ink and other interesting medias with most of her works being related to the mythical kitsune (as well as some other oriental creatures (some exciting, some original)). She also creates depictions of already existing characters from games and shows in her unique style.
Original attempted to take inspiration from her works during a pair of projects before a arrived on this course, however, both ended up taking different paths to what I expected. The one of the main aspects of her designs which grabbed my attention after first seeing her works was how the foxes themselves were designed in such a way that they no long appeared as normal foxes. All of them had very stylised forms, with some looking like other mythical creatures by themselves as some could have horns, stand on their hind legs, have skeletal body parts, or even posses human-like features such as long, flowing hair. Colouration of the foxes also often consisted of mostly dark browns and pastel whites, rather than the traditional oranges of real life foxes. Almost all of her foxes also possessed white, featureless masks or fur around their faces which created the illusion of a mask.
The second reason why I took an interest in her designs was also due to her (from what I can assume to be her mascot figure) character designs of “fox women”, Kitsune in human(like) form. While other depictions of fox women would be limited to just a normal looking girl, with just the ears or tails visible (as foxes were known for sometimes having imperfect human transformation), Sarah’s depictions have much more unique features, such as the women having the legs and paws/claws of foxes instead of human hands and feet. I felt like it honestly gave the foxes a much more fitting and attractive style to the works as Kitsune were well known for their shapeshifting, so having unusual/varying appearances seems just fitting.
Considering all of this, I would very much like to use a design for the Kitsune spread inspired by the works of Sarah. I will of course have to take my own spin on the overall designs of the Kitsune as to push myself away from being a flat-out copy cat designer as well as to make my own depictions of Kitsune.