A second volume of iDOLM@STER key art illustrations unveils the frames behind several more episodes – most prominent of all being the unforgettable concert in which Miki thrives to shine brilliantly like a star.
And indeed did she succeed, the sight of it was engraved in our minds – leaving us fascinated to think the colorless frame above serves as the foundation for it all. This sketch of course exhibits the exact identical scene seen in the anime – only difference being, the latter comes in color. To see it without a single hue applied on top, one is able to grasp a deeper comprehension of Miki’s body language as there is no stage lighting interceding with her appearance, and the finer facets, such as sweat drops, become far more noticeable.
Tilting attention towards Miki’s head, her hair is strewn about in an impassioned vigor – one can see some portions of it are being pushed around by the powerful gestures of her arms. As her hair is directly exposed to where the intense lighting of the stage would be aimed, they lack any sort of shadow – this makes for a marvelous contrast once one does see areas which aren’t the light. For instance, her visage is lit up from the top, yet the surrounding areas on the side, underneath the neck, and even some upper portions beneath her hair, are subject to a stark shadow.
The value can be seen to vary in degree from a few points of pitch black, such as the back of her hand, or to the right of her mouth, to very gently shaded areas, like her abdomen. And again, it’s all very blatant – there’s no smooth transitional gradients, rather, the shadows are solid shapes as necessary, establishing a sense of depth, whilst also aiding in the feel that the lights around her are blasting at full force.
This in turn also backs up her emotions – the setting takes the mood of the subject matter, amplifying her expressions.
Focusing on the hair yet again, whilst upon only glancing at it, one will see it is wildly tossed about – which indeed is the impression desired by the artists, yet look closer, single out the shape of her hair alone. It’s an intricate and organized ballet of curves in differing directions – some more subtly angled in a natural manner, meaning its simply the standard curvature of the hair as it is untouched, whilst others are artificially forced and driven in a sharper fashion, those being tossed around inadvertently by Miki.
Regardless however, delicacy is present in every movement – and the expanse of her hair behind her truly brings out her gorgeous body. Considering the scene at hand, proper shadows are most vital to it than anything else – and the artist employed them impeccably amongst a vast river of other details, like sweat drops, as well as the river of diminutive shapes and lines around the neck which are intimidating when viewed from an artist’s perspective.
Shadows, having been taken advantage of here and utilized to a level of unfathomable skill, managed to literally make Miki shine dazzlingly on stage as she had hoped – all the while, she accomplished her aspiration as well, and shined metaphorically in the hearts, minds, and eyes of many.
When someone says “a picture is worth a thousand words”, that’s certainly a lie – it surely must be at minimum no less than a million, and then some. By the time one scrolls through the entire set of illustrations below, they’d have amassed a whole new vocabulary simply to describe how spectacular these artworks all are.