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sketch 0502 - otama
By pommefritz   |   Watch
2 2 87 (1 Today)
Published: May 2, 2008
© 2008 - 2019 pommefritz
A design sketch for a character I've been dreaming up, Matsuura Tamako or Otama (it's a long story but in the 1800s, a woman's base name in Japan - here, Tama - would change depending on who is addressing her when). She's a daughter of a daimyo, Matsuura, who was in charge of Hirado domain in old Hizen prefecture, the area that is now Hirado city in Nagasaki prefecture. I doubt it will materialize into a novel or comic, but her deal is that she's been sent to study rangaku (Dutch studies) in Nagasaki in the 1860s, and lives with a Dutch family there where she becomes friends with the daughter who is the same age.

Here's where the story gets to the whole reason why I was daydreaming about this period - I think that bakumatsu and Meiji Japan are just begging to be reimagined as a steampunk setting and that's what Otama walks into. I mean, Japan bought its first STEAM WARSHIP from the Dutch in the 1850s, there were steam trains everywhere, mechanical contraptions, top hats, moustaches, and pocketwatches, not to mention a chaotic political environment and conflicting regional interests. I imagine that these two are going to sneak onto a steam warship and end up going somewhere amazing. We'll see. :)

If Otama seems to resemble novelist Higuchi Ichiyo a little too closely, it's because I stole her badass hairstyle for a reference for this sketch.
Image size
1073x1089px 217.71 KB
Shutter Speed
10/1600 second
Focal Length
55 mm
Date Taken
May 2, 2008, 11:02:58 AM
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pocketseizure's avatar
Maybe a little bit like Higuchi Ichiyō - but way more badass!
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pommefritzHobbyist Traditional Artist
That pic of Ichiyo on the 5000 yen bill is pretty badass I think! Maybe it's just the tuberculosis but she looks like she would not put up with any shit. Anyway that's where I got this hairstyle from.. I am not so practiced with drawing hair oiled up into a form instead of just flying around. :)
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