Year of the Rooster - 2017 Hanbok Illustration
If you've followed me on my social media, my old blog or just about anywhere, you may have noticed that I love the Korean traditional dress, called 'Hanbok'.
'Han' is the same as in 'Hanguk', the Korean word for the country itself. 'Bok' means clothing or dress, so a Hanbok is literally a 'Korean Dress'. But don't be fooled by that broad definition. There's a multitude of different styles, depending on the time period, the profession or status of its wearer, and seasonal events.
Most of the designs I use in my drawings are inspired by what nobility wore, since for the largest part of Korean history, that's where the bright colors and rich textures could be found. Other sources are the Gisaeng (artists trained in music, poetry and dance) and shamans over various periods, who, despite being part of the lowest class, dressed elaborately as part of their professions.
While I'll use mostly normal daily-wear Hanbok for my upcoming webcomic, I continue to use the colorful designs of the richer classes in illustrations.
This illustration of a lady in Hanbok was based on Gisaengs, because even if the dress itself is simple, the intricate hairdo is a typical feature. Since 2017 is the Year of the Rooster in the Chinese (and of course Korean) calendar, I've added a rooster-embossed 'Norigae' accessory, which hangs out from the Hanbok's upper layers. The hairdo itself, and the red ribbon, are placed to remind of a rooster's comb, but I wanted to keep the hints subtle compared to some of my past zodiac sign illustrations.
For this watercolor illustration, I used my Winsor and Newton watercolor set on Fabriano Watercolour postcard paper in 250g. The rough finish gives the final piece the typical look of an aquarelle artwork, even after printing.
I was also able to test some new brushes I'd found at a small Korean stationery store. They're each under 2000won (about 2$) so I'm excited to find they work really well for both details and evenly dispensing water. Especially the one on the far right feels luxurious, and I'll go back and get different sizes.
The prints were made on 240g Montblanc paper, with the larger format (A5) on a poster-quality digital printer for more luminous and vibrant colors, and a matte coating for durability. The postcards are simpler digital prints, slightly less saturated, with no coating so that greetings can be written with all sorts of pens. The back of both poster and postcard is blank.
Both are available in my Etsy shop 'evydraws' as of the Lunar New Year (28th of January 2017)
If you're interested in a look behind the scenes of how I painted this image, the video linked above leads to my Youtube art channel and shows a very, very sped-up version of my drawing process. The actual painting took several hours, despite the small format, though a lot of that time was spent waiting for paint to dry, literally.
Thank you for reading, and if you'd like to try color a Hanbok illustration yourself, I've added a category for free printable files at the top of my page. Just click on 'Printables' and select the 'Manga Coloring Page'. The motive is a simple illustration of two of my own characters from a story set in ancient Korea, so the Hanbok designs are quite different from what you see on the Year of the Rooster illustration. Have fun coloring!