A Tribute to the Forest Spirit


Hello Everyone,

Today I can proudly present the new Artwork I have been working on since summer. It's called "The Ritual" and is mainly inspired by the Studio Ghibli film "Princess Mononoke". Althought the influence of the japanese anime is obvious, it contains many original elements, I had in mind for a long time.


The Inspiration

"Now my poor, ugly, beautiful daughter is neither wolf, nor human. She lives with the

forest, and so too will die with the forest." (Moro- God of the wolves about San/ Princess Mononoke)


I have been a huge fan of the studio Ghibli movies for a long time and "Princess Mononoke" is

by far my favourite. It's not only it's stunning look. For me, more important is the 

depiction of humanity's destructive influence on nature and how their behavior effects

the spirits living within. 

In case you haven't seen the movie:

"Princess Mononoke" is set in the late Muromachi period (approximately 1336 to 1573) of Japan with fantasy elements. The story follows the young Emishi prince Ashitaka's involvement in a struggle between the gods of a forest and the humans who consume its resources. The term "Mononoke" (物の怪) or もののけ is not a name, but a Japanese word for a spirit or monster.


I am still obsessed with the beauty of these forest environment paintings. 

From Start to Finish

as you can see, I started the first draft for this artwork in my sketchbook.

I knew that I wanted to create a forest scene with a dark Tone in the Details.

Unlike my usual process, I had a name for this artwork right from the beginning.


As mentioned in my other blog articles, I always continue with a rough colored sketch,

that helps me orient myself when it comes to colors, the location of the

light source and the values. If I only would stick to my concept sketch during the painting

...But hey, I did better this time than with the last artwork! 

1.) Rough Sketch

2.) Concept Sketch

By the way, I uploaded a 30 second-Video for the first sketchy painting actions:

If you think the concept sketch is a lot of crazy

painting action work, let me present you the full process:

see how I'm changing the location of the light source in the last 3 steps?

This is not recommended. Don't be as chaotic as I am and get too lost

in the infinite possibilities of digital painting.

Try to always stick to your composition sketch. 

You can also watch the full process in a short video.

To better understand my steps, I recommend you to

change the videos speed to 0,25, so it slows down a bit.*

As you can see in this screenshot, in between I tried to stick more to my sketchbook concepts and to the original idea. So I thought about Adding the "sacrifices", (basically people) hanging down the trees to satisfy the spirit's hunger. In return the humans get the permission to continue living in the treetops. 

I want to show you my notes too, so you see the attempt for a concept. I say attempt, because it's not well thought out yet and in a very sketchy state.

But - and that sounds weird, if you consider the amount of dead people in my other artworks - the "human sacrifice" element was a bit too dark for me...

It would distract the viewer from the effort i put in the trees and everything that grows on them. This artwork is still a Tribute to the magic that everyone can experience in nature.


<-- And here you can see the many times I tried to design the Forest spirit. I thought I'm comfortable with drawing animals...



But if you take a closer look at the finished artwork,

you'll see there is plenty of blood in the water. 


The spirit has already eaten,

 the Ritual is over.

. . . speaking of closer looks. Its time for:

The Details






Remember the travelling lady with the giant goat I drew in april? So In the last weeks I came up with the idea to put her in my future environment artworks. Yes there is a new narrative intended. But as I said above, I need more time to give you more information.


 But what I can say is that she's going to appear in all the next environments, travelling, exploring new horizons, getting into trouble... 


I put her also in this artwork! Have you discoverd her already? 

the end.

I Hope you liked this blog entry!

I'm currently figuring out a way to print this artwork...but that's another story.

I'll keep you updated but if you want to see the first "prototype print",

visit me at my convention booth. 


Always Walk with open eyes throught the Forest! Wish you all the best!

:* Sarah

* (I'm would love to create a full 30 minute process video with a voiceover, but I have no idea how to edit and cut a 10 Gb video that is originally 30 hours long. So if anybody knows about this, please write me.)