FMP-Gojin Ishihara

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In the 1970’s Ishihara did many illustrations for various children’s books, however one that caught my eye when researching him was his ““Illustrated Book of Japanese Monsters” 

He was also a manga artist who created and illustrated a number of series (http://comipress.com/special/manga-zombie/incredibly-strange-manga-part-3/ishihara-gojin)

His work is very unsettling and strangely unnerving for the art of a children’s’ book. Ishihara has been described as “the japanese Norman Rockwell” and you can see that in his realistic style and almost unnerving, yet strangely still illustrative style. The way he sets up his characters on the page almost cinematically, as if they are actors on a movie set also seem to add to the not quite realness of Ishihara’s work.

The expressions of the characters in his work also add to the strange nature of his work, the expressions are usually exaggerated but still within the realm of realism. For example here, the wolfs face is very ferral and wild looking.

These illustrations are meant to be for a children’s book, something which seems almost inappropriate because of the uncanny values of some of his work, although perhaps children do very much enjoy Ishihara’s work because it is so strange. Children have been know to be more comfortable with the macabre and more accepting of stranger looking things. Ishihara was also very popular and used to illustrate many children’s books, so perhaps a audience of not too young children really adored his work

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