Look, Ma, I’m making porn!

…um – tasteful, classy, sex-positive, feminist and respectful porn. That I’m not in. That makes it PC, right?

Get ready for some really elegant smut:

I’ve finally started printing and binding these little beauties! I’m doing a limited printing of 100, they measure 5.25×8.25in (13.3x21cm), and are done on 24lb recycled ivory parchment paper. 34 pages, including a handmade paper end sheet.

During the most recent trip to a local paper shop, I found this AMAZING matte black paper: I wish I knew what it were called – it’s smooth, pitch-black and …. rubbery? Kind of smooth like that. I turned it into protective casings for the books by simply folding, cutting holes, and corseting up the back with red embroidery thread, the same thread used to bind the books.

So yesterday, at the copy shop, I sat down at one of the self-serve computer/printer stations, arranged and collated my sheets according to whether they’d be printed in black/white or color, and happily plodded away on my own for about half an hour (for just the first 10 copies). Afterwards, after asking the sales associate for a receipt, he balked a little at the quantity of printing I’d done and asked what on earth I was doing. “Making books,” I said, proudly.

“We can do that for you. It’d save you a lot of time, and a little money – just bring it in in one file next time and you can just drop it off and pick it up later!”

Of course I imagined that was the case, but even I am a little too shy to let someone else print these. Also, I enjoy being able to handle the printing myself. I then went over to their slide-cutter (3 pages at a time – MAX!) to cut and trim all the sheets. After about half an hour of this, said associate comes over, amused, saying that, you know, we could cut that for you for, like, six bucks. “No, you don’t understand – this is what I do for fun,” silly.

So, at Daniel Smith the other day, upon checkout, the super-friendly and helpful sales guy tried to sell me on a rewards card: “Are you a student?”

“Nope”

“part-time?”

“Nuh uh”

“…Teacher?”

“Uh, no”

“On an arts committee?”

“No, uh, maybe I should be.”

Man, I feel like such a slacker. It’s kind of irking that you can’t get discounts when you’re simply an artist. And also weird to no longer technically fall into the “student” category.

I’m so happy with how the print job came out! It’s glossy and saturated.

(photo of the print job)

These books are available in the etsy shop. :) You know you want one.

The irezumi artists

Two more of the finished shunga drawings: these ones are more conservative and don’t need little blurred censor bubbles! Interestingly, there are very few shunga showing full nudity, as seeing the opposite sex nude in public baths was common and therefore not as big a deal as in the west. Only seeing little flashes of skin (the nape of the neck, for example) was considered much more erotic. The traditional full-body irezumi tattoo gives the illusion of clothing, so, seemingly contradictory,  also works in this less-is-more fashion.

process

Note: The process pictures are of different pieces, as I tend to work on more than one piece at a time… this is probably really confusing, so I apologize in advance!

1. Research. This involves a lot of googling and filtering in order to find good reference pictures for poses, clothing, colors and patterns.

2. Rough sketch

3. Tracing onto nicer paper. Because I’m too cheap to own a light box, this step is done during the day, against a window.

3. Inking (the best step!), with a little brush and sumi ink.

4. Add a background (the most difficult step for me)

5. Scanning, then “coloring” with Photoshop.

6. Selective blurring for the internet.

7. Then, printing, matting, framing, etc. :)

pillow books, shunga, erotica, porn… whatever you want to call it…

Here are the first four of what will eventually be a collection of twelve drawings to be bound into little books in the coming month [censor bubbles won't actually appear in print]. All drawn with sumi ink, then colored digitally.

These are all directly inspired by the floating world wood-block prints of sixteenth-to-eighteenth century Japan, commonly referred to as shunga. These were gathered together into little booklets called “pillow books”, used as instructional manuals by the bourgeois, gifts to new brides, and interestingly, good luck charms (to ward off death, of course!) to samurai.

The goal is to have the twelve drawings done, have an limited printing done, and have them hand-bound by mid-November.

Something else I came across during research which is rather interesting (mature warning):

10 Controversial erotic shunga prints