Dresses and Demons

After many months I finally fulfilled my birthday promise to make my sister a dress.  She picked the pattern and fabric.  It’s Simplicity 2703, made up in a gauzy pink striped cotton from Gorgeous Fabrics.  The pockets, facings, and front band are a dark brown cotton lawn from Sewfisticated.

I also found a home for my gray wool procrastination dress.  Its far too dressy for my lab but not for the office where my sister works. I took it in a little at the waist and it seems to fit her well:

(It seems I am also making some progress on my efforts to get her into sewing.  She confided that she spent most of the bus trip back to New York thinking about a high-waisted skirt she wants to make.)

On the Monkey front, I am working on the Visit to the Underworld.  (Although I’d love to illustrate the whole tale I thought I’d start with a few of my favorite scenes, that should work as stand-alone illustrations.)  Monkey is dozing after a big meal when two demons show and arrest him.  They drag him off to the palace of Yama, King of the Dead, where he wiggles out of his chains and demands to know why he’s been brought there.  When he is told that his time is up, he throws a fit.  ”I’ve learned Immortality!  I’m all done with that!”  He orders the Judges of the Dead to bring him the ledgers, with the records of when everyone is supposed to die, then takes a large brush and crosses out his name.  Then he crosses out the names of all the other monkeys, so they will live forever.

Here are some sketches of the denizens of the underworld, horse-faced demons, pig-faced demons, bull-headed demons, Judges, and lost souls:

And here are the Judges of the Dead, who spend most of the Monkey episode hanging back and watching in horror, then resolve between them to register a complaint with the Jade Emperor:

One of the most delightful facets of the book is the fact that Heaven and Hell are both bureaucracies.