Daily 宇良 No. 1
/Posted by: bluealgae
  Concept: Even if you are a n00b to sumo like me, Ura is unmistakable as the man in the pink mawashi (wrestling belt). It's become his signature color.   Execution: Cherry blossoms are as much part of the...
Daily 宇良 No. 2
/Posted by: bluealgae
  Execution: Ugh, a flop. After No. 1's soft, brush-y tones, I wanted to do a geometric, flat Ura. Graphic simplification and facial recognizability were constantly warring with each other with this one. I think this...
Daily 宇良 No. 3
/Posted by: bluealgae
  Concept: Soft & sartorial for No. 3. But this is also about body. Rikishi bodies are in a class of their own. When Ura dons a kimono, it's a massive, fabric-clad torso with giant feet...
Daily 宇良 No. 4
/Posted by: bluealgae
  Concept: Just an icon, no frills (except for the...
Daily 宇良 No. 5
/Posted by: bluealgae
  Concept: This illustration took place on setsubun, a national holiday in Japan that marks the end of winter with mamemaki, a bean-throwing ritual to drive away bad spirits. Temples will sometimes invite guests (like sumo...
Daily 宇良 No. 6
/Posted by: bluealgae
  Concept: Just a guy, stomping his foot. Actually, the leg lift is a strengthening exercise known as shiko, and wrestlers do hundreds of them daily. Ura, with his varied path to sumo, has a lot...
Daily 宇良 No. 7
/Posted by: bluealgae
  Concept: That time when Ura did a half-pirouette after receiving his brand-new, pink mawashi.   Execution: To accentuate Ura's pose, I made the style kind of angular. At this point in the project, I was delighted to observe...
Daily 宇良 No. 8
/Posted by: bluealgae
  Concept: Ura's agility and flexibility make it easy to forget that he's still 300 pounds of mass. At the end of the day, these guys can be pretty scary.   Execution: Ura is already really muscular, but here...
Daily 宇良 No. 6
/Posted by: bluealgae
  Concept: During the last summer tournament, Ura was caught in the rain in a striking outfit comprised of a lavender kimono and traditional paper umbrella. It's an image that's both nostalgic and new to me....
Daily 宇良 No. 10
/Posted by: bluealgae
  Concept: Some of Ura's pre-professional days were spent wrestling in college. Without the grandeur and ritual of Grand Sumo, it made me realize that behind every rikishi's topknot and silky mawashi stood a time when...
Daily 宇良 No. 9
/Posted by: bluealgae
  Concept: This was more format than concept; I wanted to do a repeat pattern featuring Ura.   Execution: There was only enough time to make additional color ways of this pattern, no time for additional poses of the...
Daily 宇良 No. 12
/Posted by: bluealgae
  Concept: Back to sumo basics — mawashi vs. kesho mawashi. One is a wrestling belt for competition, the other is a ceremonial apron, mostly used for the ring-entering ceremony.   Execution: Pared-down, neutral color to focus on the...
Daily 宇良 No. 11
/Posted by: bluealgae
  Concept: Summer rikishi. I got the idea from Ura looking really tan and crispy after what looks like an outdoor practice session. If they don’t wear protective gear while wrestling, I guess they don't bother...
Daily 宇良 No. 14
/Posted by: bluealgae
  Concept: It was Valentine's Day when I drew No. 14, so of course I had to make Ura into a cherub.   Execution: I went for a soft, vintage look to fit the concept, like those Victorian porcelains....
Daily 宇良 No. 15
/Posted by: bluealgae
  Concept: Ura as an athlete under scrutiny. Just prior to March, everyone who’s into sumo had been talking about his possible promotion to makunouchi (top division). Accompanying this speculation are, of course, doubt and heavy...
Daily 宇良 No. 16
/Posted by: bluealgae
  Concept: Ura the contortionist. Watch a couple of Ura matches, and you'll notice a pattern of airborne bodies. He gives it his all, and this means contorting his body and flying through the air, even...
Daily 宇良 No. 17
/Posted by: bluealgae
  Concept: On a certain variety show, Ura tells the host that one of his hobbies is rap battle (lol). He uses an opportunity at a pizzeria to demonstrate his skills, revealing that despite the ooey-gooey...
Daily 宇良 No. 18
/Posted by: bluealgae
  Concept: More sumo basics — Ura in the dohyo.   Execution: An amorphous background with no visible audience because it's just him and his sumo in the ring. That said, any time a wrestler enters the dohyo,...
Daily 宇良 No. 19
/Posted by: bluealgae
  Concept: Adventures in transportation. Sometimes, it seems like rikishi live a monk-like lifestyle, wearing traditional clothing, living in the training stables with other disciples of sumo, and riding bicycles wherever they go.   Execution: In my image research,...
Daily 宇良 No. 20
/Posted by: bluealgae
  Concept: Upcoming spring tournament in Osaka (where he'll make his top-division debut).   Execution: Lots of spring-time blossoms, Osaka Castle, and Ura's face in the center of a circular...
Daily 宇良 No. 21
/Posted by: bluealgae
  Concept: Ura holding babies, part and parcel of his duties as a rikishi.   Execution: Well, animals are babies, too, so I threw in a puppy and kitten.   Sumo fact: Outside of wrestling, rikishi are expected to take part...
Daily 宇良 No. 22
/Posted by: bluealgae
  Concept: A relaxing rikishi still serves body   Execution: Little bit of a cheeky, pin-up...
Daily 宇良 No. 23
/Posted by: bluealgae
  Concept: That same variety show in which Ura couldn’t eat pizza also gave us Ura wearing cat ears (!!). I got the idea of making him a kitty spirit in the woods… with rats… It's...
Daily 宇良 No. 24
/Posted by: bluealgae
  Execution: More sumo basics — just a simple overhead view of Ura pre-match in the dohyo.   Sumo fact: The stiff "tassels" that stick out from the front of a rikishi's mawashi are called sagari. They are actually...
Daily 宇良 No. 25
/Posted by: bluealgae
  Concept: Ura recently gave a talk to students at his old elementary school about striving towards your goals. Afterwards, he demonstrated some feats of strength, like lifting kiddos into the air on pure bicep power.   Execution: I...
Daily 宇良 No. 26
/Posted by: bluealgae
  Concept: Another sumo pose in the ring. Not a strong concept here, just a sumo body. No time that day to do much at all!   Sumo fact: One of the rituals in the ring is the crouch...
Daily 宇良 No. 27
/Posted by: bluealgae
  Concept: Interview basics — water, mike, and Rubik's cube. One of the last things on my list for this project was to work in Ura's Rubik's cube hobby. It was stuck in the pipeline because...
Daily 宇良 No. 28
/Posted by: bluealgae
  Concept: I wanted to finish the last illustration in the series with something straightforward and introspective. Both the first piece and this last piece show him as he is, without metaphors or gimmicks, with only...