Meerkatsu Art: Tengu T-shirt

My Karasu Tengu (crow demon) t-shirt design is now available in the Meerkatsu Store. It comes in two colours – light blue and graphite graphite grey and we’ll be making sizes from small to XX-large. Here is a little more information about the art and the concept behind it…

I first drew Tengu when I designed a piece of digital wallpaper artwork a while back and it’s still one of my favourite drawings. The more I read about the mythology of the Tengu, the more I was fascinated with the ideas and the stories.

I love the idea of shadowy creatures that dwell deep in the forest. Depending on the stories, they are either fully formed crow-like birds or they take on complete human form apart from some wings or a beak. Several stories suggest that they were the ancestors of the ninja assassins.

So I absorbed as much as I could about the Tengu and paid homage to the legends with this design here.

On the front, the central crow is configured in a secretive wings folded position, his face half hidden. Behind the bird is a pair of crossed katana swords and surrounding them, are a bunch of shuriken weapons – all associated (though not exclusively) with the ninja. The kani at the base is  which is the ‘nin’ part of ninja. It can be used to mean to hide but also it can mean to endure and to persevere. All of which are interesting connotations in the world of martial arts I think.

On the back of the tee is my older Tengu artwork. This time I spiced up the design with a rather large and spotlight inspired font. More shuriken decoratre the design and at the base is Japanese karasu tengu, which means the crow tengu.


I’m very pleased to add that both front and back designs were based around hand drawn artwork. I opted to draw these by hand instead of digitally using vector software since I wanted a more organic feel to the feathers and the character of the birds. I hope you like the designs.











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