It's one half of the original fighting duo, Hitmonlee! I'm going to sound mental, but you remember when Hitmonlee popped out of the Pokeball in Smash Bros. 64? To this day, whenever I think of ol' Lee, I can hear the "SILENT, YEY-YEY-YEY!" Is that what he said?! I dunno, but like I said, it makes me sound mental.
So, what's the deal with Hitmonlee? He's all about kicks, got stretchy legs to pull 'em off, and looks hella wierd. No head, no nose, no mouth...Just an egg shaped body sitting on legs...And the legs should be the focus and that's what you see here. I had made a connection that his legs were springy like coils, so I decided to take in that route early on. I had to first settle on a cool pose, though.
Between Muay Thai and Taekwando, I found some interesting shots to reference from. I wanted to do a Sagat from SF style pose but moved to what we see here, which is a high kick that is always incredible to look at when real world fighters can show off their flexibility and range. I thought Hitmonlee would absolutely be the best at that, and made the kicking leg longer to showcase his springy nature. Also, that muay thai pose is going to be saved for an illustration for another series that may one day rear its head after this is all done... ;)
The work was originally going to very flat, with rigid outlines that made the coils look less springy but more papercut. I wanted to go more papercut but as I played around with coloring, I found without outlines, the piece looked visually more energetic, if you will, as if the lines were holding the piece down. I added roundness to the coils through the process and from the get go planned to make the whole piece a spiral paper cut, including the body. Looking at this end result now, I wonder if maybe I should have kept the body solid and just the legs springy.
Either way, I think this approach altogether is one no one was expecting and can be chalked up to a brand new style we hadn't seen before. In terms of texture, I used crumpled paper to add to the paper craft motif, as well as burning tools to add a sense of depth where applicable. Composition wise, I use most of the canvas in a very isolated space - it's all vertical and in the center - there's quite a lot of negative space and that too is very stark to what we may normally see.
So there you go! I hope you liked Hitmonlee today! For the fans of the boxer extraordinaire, stay tuned and check out Pokemon one a Day tomorrow! Thanks for viewing and reading, good night!
+ Pokemon One a Day is a series illustrated and curated by Bonny John in an effort to represent the the first generation of characters from the world wide phenomenon that is known as Pokemon. The idea is simple - to draw and share one new Pokemon a day (weekends off!) until every Pokemon from the set is completed. This project is an exploration of fine art styles for learning and leisurely purposes.