Picture Deconstruction #1: Hinanai Tenshi

Finally! The first Picture Deconstruction, featuring Hinanai Tenshi of Touhou.

Tenshi's sword is totally a lightsaber

Image:  絶対にぶたないでよ!!by アキヤス

Pixiv link (artist): http://www.pixiv.net/member.php?id=74052

Massive text wall after the jump. Post in the comments if you think a different method should be adopted to facilitate understanding.

Some background information: This picture is one of my favourites. It’s not a very complicated picture in terms of composition, and the background elements are mostly quite simple, so this is a relatively simple piece to evaluate.

Firstly, in terms of style: The artist’s style is a pretty interesting one. Instead of following traditional Japanese manga-drawing conventions, the artist has chosen to adopt a more expressive style – a kind of amalgamation of the standard Japanese style and the Western-manga style (a shortened method of describing Western styles that have been influenced by Japanese comics; many artists, especially when trained in animation, within the Southeast-Asian region employ this kind of style). This results in a construction where the dynamism of the artwork easily flows through the lineart of the character – simple, long strokes, with significant variations in line width.

The Western style, while being less anatomically accurate as compared to the standard Japanese style, is able to portray a greater dynamism due to the greater freedom for expression in lineart by the style. This can be easily evidenced by the type of lineart equipment professionals in the two industries use: Western comic artists use brush pens, while Japanese artists use the G-pen (essentially a glorified  nib pen).

Secondly, in terms of colour: The artist makes use of both warm and cool tones within the same picture, with the juxtaposition between the two lending the picture an even greater sense of action and dynamism. Take a look at the left-hand side of her outfit – the orange glow painted sharply onto her sleeves and skirt stand out against the cool blue base of the clothing, the two battling for attention and resulting in an image bursting with dynamism and energy.

Excessive use of the warm-cool effect sends a picture into chaos; however, when used sparingly, it can serve to greatly enhance the abilities of an image to capture attention.

Thirdly, composition: Here is where the image comes into its own. Granted it is a very simple composition, and possibly even the artist himself is unaware of it, but the strength of the composition is pretty darn amazing. Tenshi is positioned along the thirds line (by the rule of thirds, which dictates that focal matter is most pleasing when placed along the one-third vertical or horizontal line of the image), standing facing the border of the image she is closest to. This enhances the scale of the background, making it seem larger than it actually is, and thus plays up the grandeur of the picture.

Another factor that strongly enhances the picture is the liberal use of triangles within the image to lock it together. The sword in the foreground itself serves as a lead-in to the picture, a diagonal line stretching from the outside of the painting that guides the viewer’s eye to the centre. The sword serves as the centre point of three triangles: The first is the one between Tenshi’s hair, skirt and sword, the triangle that serves as a focal point for the bottom of the picture; the second is the one between Tenshi’s hair, torso and sword, which forms a small triangle that forms the focal point in the middle of the picture; and the triangle between the sword, the Aurora Borealis above Tenshi’s hat, and Tenshi herself, which serves as a triangle to lock the background in with the foreground subject matter. Two other triangles exist between her hand, her torso and the sword hilt and the form of the skirt itself. All these triangles build a greater triangle which lead the viewer in to the main subject matter of the image – Tenshi’s face and sword-holding arm.

The strongest factor in this image would be its composition – the aesthetic ability of the artist is decent, not incredible like some of the other artists out there. However, with the powerful compositional factor (with extra mention to the triangle-based drawing factor) this image is able to draw and hold attention, with enough going on in the picture from the dynamic methods employed to keep the viewer interested.

Overall a strong piece, one that would be further strengthened by better technical control. A recommended artist to watch.

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About Carillus

"Any sufficiently advanced application of locupletative language is indistinguishable from writing magic."
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8 Responses to Picture Deconstruction #1: Hinanai Tenshi

  1. Valence says:

    My opinion, huh? Now, now, I can’t read moonrunes, but from what I’m guessing, the title refers to her ‘not getting thrashed’? Like a decree of her own strength. After all, it is Tenshi, so that’s fully expectable.

    Now what does the image serve to portray in regards to this title? Like you said, the main subject matter is of course, her face as well as her sword-wielding arm. In a sense it sorts of zooms in onto her weapon, giving the impression of a well-seasoned fighter. That’s my view anyway. By making the viewer focus upon the sword the image title and meaning is better brought out.

    I don’t study art, frankly, so at the best I can comment about how the artist drew her is that indeed, the art style is different from other Tenshi drawings out there, due to the artist’s choice of art style, I suppose.

  2. bd77 says:

    The first thing that pops up in my head upon seeing her, the song Rainy,Rainy Days by 3L (a rather catchy song, that).
    The part I like about this picture is her facial expression, it’s telling her her opponent “Come get some”.

    Just some hope that her opponent isn’t Yuka or Yukari… Especially Yuka…

  3. Azure Hoshizora says:

    I like the anatomy and perspective of this picture a lot, though I think the perspective could be more dynamic to show a little movement. The composition is rather simple as you said, the combined with the simplistic background and rule of thirds, it looks rather pleasing, unlike certain artists who have awesome background but you can’t really see what their drawing.

    As for the colours… A little to flat and bland? I think the artist could do with a wider variety in his palette, though I suppose this ties in with his style. The bright orange glow reflected on the blue, actually looks good, since blue and orange complement each other, but probably not done intentionally. The bright orange contrasts with the dark starry sky in the background and the sword stands out.

    The sword in turn brings focus to Tenshi, making the composition a well thought out one, although I don’t think the artist actually planned it.

    Your point on the use of triangles: honestly this is the first time I heard of it but looking back, I think many great drawings have them as well, will take note of it.

    I think you managed to make your evaluation quite simple to understand. However, some people who don’t take art might not understand big words like “juxtaposition” so yeah~

    • Valence says:

      Lol, you don’t need to take art to understand the word ‘juxtaposition’ XD

      …but anyway, good job Cari, it’s readable 😀

      • Azure Hoshizora says:

        honestly, half the people around me were asking me whats juxtaposition when I lost my slides from art and it turned up in class.

        maybe my classmates are just a bunch of tards~

  4. Nopy says:

    I can’t say that I understood everything you talked about, but it’s a good illustration. I have a personal preference for the Japanese style rather than the western style since they seem to have smaller lines and more details.

  5. Yi says:

    Agreed. Composition and colors are where the piece really shines. It’s very dynamic and it flows well.

    • Carillus says:

      Exactly. I’ve realised that if there’s one thing Eastern styles should learn from the West, it’s how to create dynamism in drawings. Western art always tends somehow to be more dynamic than Eastern art.

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