First, I'd like to apologize for the small size! The original was far larger, but I shrunk it to 75dpi on photoshop and changed the dimensions, and my friend accidentally saved over the original instead of making a copy.
This is one of my favorite pieces I have done all year in my drawing for illustrators class. The assignment was a historical piece, and I had a lot of fun experimenting different styles and such with this. There are a few things I would like to change, but overall I really like how this turned out. I'm used to working in a far more realistic style, but this cartoon-like style was a lot of fun for me. I plan on doing more works where the focus is on prints and little nuances like this in the future.
The japanese in the corner is "geiko" which is what geisha are called in Japan. There is actually only 1 geiko in this image, and she is playing the shamisen. The silhouette is a maiko, and there is another maiko next to her. There are minute differences in their kimonos and hairstyles that helps to differentiate them. Also, I could not have a maiko playing a shamisen, because it was not until recently in history that maiko were allowed to perform shamisen in public performances, and since I wanted to keep this historically acurate (around the 1930s in kyoto, or gion) I decided that only a geiko could play one. A LOT of research was taken into the creation of the piece, including reading Iwasaki Mineko's "Geisha: A Life". I am most thankful to flickr for the compilation of countless references of authentic geiko and maiko in kyoto. It was most helpful in the costume designs incorporated in this piece. Of course, I took a little artistic liberty, but overall I think I stood true to the authenticity of the geiko culture.
Ink nibs on bristol, 9x12