For Illustration Fridays word "Myth" I decided to go back to my Asian heritage and explore what Myths there are about teas. Since tea is man kinds oldest drink to date, I figured there would be some Myths revolving around tea.
So lets travel to Japan, where we find perhaps the most gruesome tea myth of all: the myth of Bodhidharma’s eyelids.
Bodhidharma (known as Daruma in Japan) was said to have been a pious sage from India who lived in the fifth or sixth century AD. He is credited with travelling from his native India to China to spread his Buddhist teachings (which eventually reached Japan); the Japanese consider him to be the founder of Zen (or Chan) Buddhism. One of the main practises of Zen Buddhism is meditation, which involves sitting still yet awake for long periods of time. This story tells of the origins of the first tea plant and also explains why, to this day, drinking green tea is such an integral part of Japanese meditation ceremonies.
It is said that Bodhidharma travelled to Northern China, where he entered a cave outside the Shaolin temple; here he vowed to meditate without sleeping for nine years in order to demonstrate the principles of Zen Buddhism and also to achieve enlightenment. Bodhidharma had completed over half of his task (some say five years, some say seven) but was so exhausted that he drifted off to sleep. When he awoke, he was so infuriated with himself that he ripped off his own eyelids so they could not close again and threw them to the floor. But from his severed eyelids sprouted the shoot of a tea plant, which grew into a bush. Bodhidharma plucked one of the leaves and chewed on it, he found the leaf had a stimulating effect that helped him stay awake and eventually complete his task. To this day Zen Buddhists still drink green tea to help them stay awake during long periods of meditation and tea is closely associated with Buddhism in general.
So here's are the first steps to the creation of my digital illustration. Starting from the shadows then leading up to the highlights.
Next step adding some final details. Using a flower brush I found online I created a print on her shirt to add some more details, which I found added a nice addition to it. She's starting to look more realistic and a lil more depth with the final steps. Less like just a flat drawing and more like a photo but still a little animated.
Now the final product. I didn't want it to be too complicated with a busy background. I felt this was take away from the main focus. The girl and her tea which is glowing from the cup. Like she's about to open a mysterious gift. Hope you enjoy the Myth behind the tea as much as I did.