Painting my "Tonari no Storm Trooper"

After a series of fun but relatively 'serious' and challenging paintings, I thought I'd take a break from that and make something silly. 

An old friend who lives in Norway with her young family has a little daughter who just loves Totoro. Every other day I'd log into my Facebook and see a really cute update about her watching Totoro on the tele. I also like totoro and living in Singapore, totoro-anything are everywhere. There is no end to how much people love this character and its film. 

So that was floating in my mind the last few days. But I've also been thinking of doing something Star Wars related again, to make my Darth and Boba a trio. Somehow, I'm not sure exactly why, I woke up one morning and thought Totoro carrying or wearing a Storm Trooper helmet would be hilarious. 

I suppose something inside me is trying to manage my time and arrange my priorities. I guess mashing together these two very iconic characters is one way to do that. Way to go, brain of mine. 

So here is the final piece. 


As usual, it starts off with a pencil sketch. Because it's a mashup, I started by sketching the helmet first and then totoro's body. I couldn't do it the other way around or holistically because it was harder to get the general proportions right. So, for a while I just had a floating storm trooper helmet. 

I then start cleaning up my pencil lines in preparation for tracing over with pen. At the pen stage, there's a feeling of nervousness and this is where I usually start procrastinating, making tea, checking my phone etc. It's because of the permanence of pen lines. It's when whatever I was sketching really comes into it's own. 

For the lines on totoro trooper I use a 03 pen today. 

Next is a video of me putting in the shadows and reflections on the helmet. I apologise in advance for the horrible angle of this video. Being left handed is a big disadvantage when shooting video around my desk :/ 

I hope from whatever you're able to see, you get a sense of how I go about my paintings. I basically block in shapes and pay attention to shadow and light as much as I can. 

This totoro piece is pretty straight forward. So the next part is adding in more detail onto the helmet with a brush. 

And finally, I needed to paint in his fur. I had a discussion later with my husband about what colour Totoro should be. He said Totoro should always be gray. But actually, I've seen him with blue, green and even brown fur. My theory is that totoro is the colour of the forest he takes care of. Any one else have any better theories? 

And here he is now on Society 6 as a lot of different things! 

So check him if you can - comment here on on my facebook about what you think :) What other mashups do you think would be interesting?