November 2012 issue of “Young Animal” brings an illustration of curvaceous bishoujo tightly enclosed in sukumizu on its front cover, all courtesy of Kantoku – plaid still finding its way onto the canvas somehow as well.
This is definitely a more unusual artwork from Kantoku in that it drifts significantly in style from his typical technique – yet the employed concepts are much the same in spite of an altered focus. Normally, there would be extensive usage of line and shape to establish pattern – and then that pattern would subsequently be subject to intricate value, whilst simultaneously serving as one of the factors defining volume in itself.
In the case of this piece however, the core components consist of a single and more encompassing pair of shapes – the first being that of the bishoujo as a whole, and then more specifically, the sukumizu region. The latter of the two is particularly prominent and relevant in that it’s truly what establishes the form of the bishoujo – yet also, it exhibits Kantoku diving into the element of value on an even grander scale.
Much of what Kantoku manages to achieve, or in other words, the unprecedented art pieces he consistently outputs, all are of such an exquisite level directly as result of his mastered understanding and application of shadow. In an average work of Kantoku, shadow would be one critical facet of many which collectively formulate the gorgeous visual end-result of his illustrations.
On the other hand, truly astounding here is how one can see Kantoku experimenting with shadow first-hand as he sets aside other aspects, and then formally indulges into a dedicated form he’s devised solely of highlights and precise gradients. The sukumizu is practically made of nothing but value – and this is Kantoku going all out, even near-totally evicting his beloved plaid patterns, to center on these exploits of light reacting on subject matter.
The fact that the variance in tone happens to be of such unparalleled degree is merely a secondary factor, showing that Kantoku isn’t merely knowledgeable in what he does, yet he’s pushing the boundaries and writing new ones – the very definition of the term “revolutionary”.