Amaterasu Aurora

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Completed 9/29/17


All Digital


Wacom Intus 3 and Adobe Photoshop CC


Approx. 8-9 hours.



TL challenged me with a concept ~ Ammy wearing the Northern Lights as a dress. At first, I was a little perplexed, because his Ammy collection already had a number of pieces featuring that concept, which initially made it a tad difficult to find a way to present her without inadvertently copying any of the other pieces. TL assured me just to give it my take and to have fun with it, so I did!


I always start a piece by drawing out the characters figure, regardless of what might be covered up by clothing. This is a generally safe strategy for me when I am having trouble thinking of attire, because it forces me to break the process down and focus on the immediate phase. Clothes can’t be placed in midair so it’s better for me to flesh out the form first. After I fleshed out the form, I realized I was still struggling on how I wanted to design her clothing.


I casually mentioned to a friend that I was having trouble with the piece. I was initially going for a look similar to a toga, but since Amaterasu is a god from Japanese mythology, I thought that a kimono might be a better way to go. My friend and I bounced a few ideas back and forth and then she  surprised me by showing me her kimono collection! I had known her for a while and never realized she collected them! She gave me a little crash course in kimonos and together we came up with the idea of the kimono being part of the night itself.


I realized that the idea needed to be kept simple in order to execute it well, so I avoided added excessive markings to the kimono.

Near the end of the piece, I realized I had forgotten a major detail: The Solar Disk.

At first I was frustrated because I had no idea how to approach the idea of a Solar, flaming sun object in the night. Then I remembered about my friend Kurtt, who told me about his adventures in trying to see the northern lights. He had told me briefly about how they work off of solar flares… and I realized that it was perfect after all! The piece had seemed finished but missing something, but the addition of the solar disk really pulled it together in the end.



TLD is a good friend of mine. He has been supportive of my work throughout the years and over that time, he has become more than just a familiar name on my screen.

One thing TLD loves, without a doubt, is the wolf goddess Amaterasu from the game Okami. I once thought he was obsessed (which may still be the case) and after years, I asked him about it. I’d never played the game myself, and I’ve enjoyed games in the past as well, but seemingly not to the same extent as TL.

“I guess because of how darn positive the game is, for the most part. I mean, flowers and green grass literally spring up everywhere you go, and the game is about making the world a better place. You know?

Adding onto that is the painting, it makes me sort of adopt her as a muse of painting, too.

God knows I’ve often wished I could clean up the world or my friends’ problems with just a few strokes of a paintbrush.”

It’s easy to find people who love their favorite game for the humor or the characters or the gameplay. I’m surrounded by people like that. Nothing is wrong with enjoying those things, but it has been a very long time indeed since I last heard an explanation founded that deeply.

TL’s positive attitude makes him a great person to have around and I’m happy to call him my friend. ^^

~ Your friendly neighborhood cat-bird,


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Zhivago is a frazzled artist living in California. You can follow them on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook as @ArtByZhivago.

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