An anonymous artist on 2ch has turned his hand to illustrating the excessively numerous characters of Touhou in Japan’s classic “ukiyo-e” artistic style, with some quite interesting results…
For those not entirely au fait with Japanese art history, “Ukiyo-e” (“pictures of the floating world”) describes the stylised genre of art predominant in Japan from the 17th through to the early 20th century, typically taking the form of paintings and mass produced woodblock prints.
Alongside scenes of nature and high (or, more often, merely popular) culture, ukiyo-e art also frequently depicted the erotic and grotesque, being in certain respects the direct precursor to Japan’s more modern visual culture – and many motifs and even occasionally the visual style itself survive on to the present day.
With Touhou itself deliberately drawing on an eccentric mixture of traditional Japanese visual influences and mythology with more western elements, the use of ukiyo-e style is certainly appropriate – in fact, not a few of the characters already owe their designs to the sort of visual conventions (such as the depictions of Japanese style ghosts, demons and spirits) established by the genre.
The images, all apparently the artistic output of one anonymous artist over a long period of time:
This pair are actual ukiyo-e classics which the artist has adapted into two of the images above:
Omake, ukiyo-e style and by the same artist: