In Sleep I am Engulfed in Feathers (Rokurokubi)

In Sleep I am Engulfed in Feathers (Rokurokubi) cut paper art by Patrick Gannon

size: 8 1/2 x 14 3/4 inchesmedium: cut paper on wood private collection

In sleep, we live strange and separate lives. In the case of Rokurokubi, that life happens to consist of short-range travel isolated northward of the shoulders. There are any number of legends detailing the motives and origins of this yōkai. I'm partial to the ones where Rokurokubi is unaware of her supernatural nature, waking with the memory of odd locations and wanderings beyond her natural boundaries.

In Sleep I am Engulfed in Feathers is the third piece, and first official yōkai, in a series which I think of as depicting the complicated and raw inner lives of unique women. The heron follows the clever fox and the dusky crow.

In Sleep I am Engulfed in Feathers (Rokurokubi) cut paper sketch by Patrick Gannon

When drawing, there are few things that give me more pleasure than working with long, flowing shapes and graceful curves. They're just relaxing and fun for my hand. To that, I added the challenge of the Celtic knot, curving the neck in and around itself in a way not so different than how our dreams eschew logic and flow together.

Enjoy the sketch above and detail below.

In Sleep I am Engulfed in Feathers (Rokurokubi) cut paper detail by Patrick Gannon