I've been working hard on my newest comic, tentatively titled "Die, Baby, Die!", which is about a demon who is haunting the girl's restroom in a high school. I decided to set the story in Japan, because I love the demonology of the Japanese culture. Pictured below is Tatsuya Morino's rendition of the traditional Kappa monster. This image appears in the book YOKAI ATTACK! The Japanese Monster Survival Guide written by Hiroko Yoda and Matt Alt. The Kappa is a demon who is usually found in a pond, and he is always laying in wait to snatch and strangle the careless traveler. Many legends tell that an offering of a cucumber, the Kappa's favorite food, can grant you passage by their pond. The top of the Kappa's head is indented like a bowl, and it holds water. The water is the sorce of their power, so if you can prompt a Kappa to bow to you, it's head will tip out the water and you can save the cucumber for yourself.
Anyways, below are some of my attempts at making the demon in Die, Baby, Die! inspired by the Kappa...
I like how the one above looks, he kind of reminds me of Dr. Suess' the Grinch. Below are some more random sketches. I was trying to feel out the character in my sketch book.
Below is my attempt at capturing the Tengu, which is the mountain demon in Japan. They are remarkable swordsmen, but tend only to stick to the mountains.
The next one is a transformation drawing. For a while I was really hung up on him being a Bird Demon. The Konoha-Tengu, which is the less powerful of the Tengu family, was a prime option. I've done many sketches of that character, but in the end none of the traditional Japanese Yokai (demon, goblin, ghost, or spectre) seemed to fit my story. I think in part it was because if I used a traditional Yokai, I'd want to remain true to the legend of that certain Yokai. I needed something that was more my own, so that I could bend it, and stretch it, and fit it into my story.
Below is a sketch of the character, Hisashi, a sixteen year old who is possessed by the demon. Beside him is his ancestor from seven generations ago. His ancestor was killed in a horrible way and wanted to exact his revenge on his murderer by killing all of their blood line. I figure that it took Hisashi's ancestor about seven lifetimes, or generations, to perform enough evil deeds in hell to get a chance to wreak havoc on earth. So I kind of wanted the demon character to be a mix between the two, except he would be more demonic looking since he has been in hell doing terrible things for seven life times.
Below is a rough picture of Hisashi only transformed slightly by the demon. There is a chance for me to show stages of the possession, and if I go that route, this would be one of the earlier stages.
Okay, by this point I've been working on this character design on and off again for about two to three months. Nothing seemed to be fitting what I had in mind. The problem was that I didn't have anything very specific in mind. So, I tried the old Jason Lutesy technique: picture the demon inside you head and draw it with your eyes closed. The picture on the right is what I came up with, the inks on the left are me trying to clean that idea up.
I realized that what I found scary in a demon were: big teeth, horns, black eyes of nothingness, hair, and some kind of longish snout. I tried a bit more. With this next drawing I kept in mind that if Hisashi was being possessed by this demon, it would be trying to push itself out of his body. And if he were doing that there would be recognizable parts. And I thought what if Hisashi's eye sockets turned into the Demon's nose? That would be really messed up.
So I pushed it some more. Here is a mid-transformation picture.
I then thought to have this demon in a pose where he is mocking the Buddha statue (which is in a temple where the final fight scene takes place in the story). I also drew the face of one of his victims (Yumiko) in his palm. I thought he might use that to taunt the heroin of the story, Chiyoko. I penciled this.
And inked it.
I kept pushing this weird, horse looking, Hisashi-nosed demon with horns. This is what I came up with. I decided to give him two tails to tip the hat to Clive Barker's demon, Jakabok Botch, in Mister B. Gone (a scary as hell book which I'm too afraid to finish).
And finally, I did a picture of the Demon tormenting the heroin, Chiyoko. These are still all just rough ideas at this point. I think that I'll end up going in the direction of Hisashi's eyes and face being on the tip of the Demon's snout. I've gotten much feedback about this demon looking too cutesy. Well...
I guess I can see that. Jason Lutes said of the picture above that it looked like Alf. Which wasn't what I was going for at all. I'm going to work harder on the eyes of the demon, to make them less round and more scary-like. As always, any feedback will be much appreciated. I'm currently starting the pencils for the first chapter of Die, Baby, Die!. The Demon doesn't make his appearance until the sixth chapter, so I've got some time to figure it out.