ByHolly Khraibani-Cousins, writer at
I'm an illustrator, web developer's wife and mother of 1. I admin @beards_unite on Instagram for fun (and for the beards!), as well as my ow
Holly Khraibani-Cousins

I've been getting into Studio Ghibli films thanks to one of my sisters. I hadn't really sought them out to watch before, but now I'm so glad I've finally watched some! I think Ponyo is up there as a favorite along with Howl's Moving Castle... it's just so adorable as well as an incredible feast for the eyes, the starting credits alone are just amazing!

Anyways, I've had this idea of painting Howl's portrait as how I kind of picture him. He is of course very beautiful in the film, and has a very androgynous look to him as well, but wanted to create the character in my style of illustration. I got a lot of inspiration from people such as David Bowie, Andrej Pejic and Sarah Whale (I've included their portraits below so you see what I mean!)

David Bowie was a great one to look for inspiration from in terms of look for my portrait, especially as the Goblin King in Labyrinth (another favorite film of mine, I never tire of it!). A very powerful character!

Sarah Whale is so gorgeous! She was great in helping me bring Howl to life with those stern eyes!

And finally Andrej Pejic. His model photos before his transition were perfect for adding that androgynous beauty that Howl has. I actually spent quite a while just scrolling through pictures of him, beautiful!

Aaaaanyways, I think I've rambled on enough now! Here is the portrait from start to finish; I completed it using watercolors, polychromo pencils, acrylic gesso and a white gel pen on Bockingford cold pressed watercolor paper. Thanks for looking and I hope you enjoy it!


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