Lew Keilar Illustration

MIKADO set design

April 17, 2012

When my son's soon-to-be father-in-law called to see if I would be interested in doing a backdrop for a production of The Mikado he was directing my first thought was "how the hell did he know I was the perfect choice for this job!"

Apparently, without knowledge of my love of the Japanese aesthetic, John Brown of the Holroyd Musical and Dramatic Society concluded I was up to the task.

The task, as it turns out, is a bit of a dream job.

This required copious research of bonsai trees; pagodas; stone-gardens; wood-block prints and all things Edo which to a japanophile like me is like being forced to eat chocolates.

Last Saturday was spent pencilling up the first 5 panels which I did with a blue chunky piece of chalk taped to a metre long painter's pole. When it's 3mx9m, that's the size of your pencil!

I got enough of the black linework painted for me to realize we should have a pretty striking pair of images for the kimonoed-costumed cast to work to.

Will update the set's progress in future blogs.

Here are the two illustrations for The Garden and The Village.