Another old, old image today. As you can see from the sketch below. The major difference between the sketch and the final is a fine example of why reference materials are a good thing. Oh, and I tried out a different theory of shadowing on the finished version: I created shine instead of creating dark. I'll have to experiment with that more, but it's promising.
This sketch was a fortuitous train wreck of three ideas. ( Nevermind that train wrecks are strictly two-conveyance accidents. The train tracks in my mind are special that way.)
1. On a break home from college, I noticed that my mother had re-arranged the decor in the living room, as she is wont to do on a seasonal basis. My parents have a collection of Japanese sculpture, of varying value and antiquity. On either side of the fireplace, there was a sculpture of similar size and color. One was a large contemplative frog, and the other was a Bodhisattva.
2. As it happened, during that semester I was taking one of the best classes I had at college: Japanese History. Unassuming title, entry level, relatively light workload, amazing class. In any case, it had lodged in my brain that while Buddhism and Shintoism had a few rough patches, they coexisted remarkably well for long periods in Japan while remaining distinct. (Historically, this is a serious anomaly. Any other example of peaceful religious cohabitation I can think of either results in one religion being mostly subsumed by the other, or one religion having most of the power and influence and creating ethically based 'protections' for the politically weaker religion. It's also odd specifically to Japan, as the reception for Christianity was, shall we say, not warm.)
3. I'd just seen Spirited Away for the first time.