Several years ago, I was looking through a box of old letters with my mom. I discovered a greeting card she had kept from a friend I'd never heard of before with this gorgeous print (below) by an artist named Kunio Isa. It's called "Akamagaseki at Night". I loved the simple palette of 3 shades of blue on white and the spare composition that had such a great sense of depth without any shading or atmospheric perspective.
Much as I loved it Mr. Isa's composition, I didn't feel like copying it, like I had done with Searle and Blake (earlier posts). Too many little windows! Also, I doubted I'd be able to capture the feel of a print without actually making a print. Plus, it didn't have any polar bears in it!* But I liked working with such a limited palette, and I was even inspired to make my own Japanesque "chop" (signature seal), though I cheated by making it with colored pencil instead of carving a block of soapstone.
I was able to capture some of the sense of the print texture in my own piece by painting washes of watercolor on Arches cold press paper and scanning it into Photoshop, creating the background for my bears (also painted on cold press). My bears came out much more saturated than Isa's piece, but I'm still happy with it.
*I wanted to come up with something for a Spoonflower fabric pattern challenge: to create a design with "Arctic Animals".