Yes it's that time of year again. By now you'd think I'd tone done the textures and graphics with all the recent graphic design work I've been getting at ICOM, but for some reason this particular idea just won't leave me. I think it was originally inspired by an old TransCanada boxcar rotting on the tracks or some kind of heavy machinery.
I was recently commissioned by Swerve magazine to do an editorial illustration for their Dec 23rd issue. The article covers a quirky story about older generation folks jumping on the communication technology train with full force! I challenged myself to make the piece entirely vector-based in illustrator. There are still so many different styles to try I'll have to do another one soon!The article can be seen here.
This little beauty is a serpent of Native American Huron legend said to dwell in lakes and rivers, and when provoked it overwhelms its prey with disease and death. I ran with the disease idea and made my two active words 'putrid' and 'disgusting'. Putrefaction is the harbinger of disease, and maggots its heralds. I combined that with the overpowering nature of a boa-constrictor with the gnarly fangs of a viper to try and make something truly horrifying.
This week's Mythological Mayhem project (or maybe last week's) is the Turul. Basically it's a Mongolian hawk that swings a flaming sword and impregnates women in their dreams. So my instinct is to immediately anthropomorphize it, functioning similarly to a man with all the necessary uh, equipment. So if this bird swung a giant sword with it's powerful talons, how would it do it? I've recently been inspired by Joy Ang's work again, how easily she switches from smooth stylization to sharp realism. thus I'll be switching gears to better articulate a similar style. Also the giant fantasy sword definitely comes courtesy of Paul Richards. I just couldn't resist.
Still trying to take what I've learned from Force: Dynamic Life Drawing For Animators and trying to push fluid movement by drawing through the forms to carry the 'ski slope' rhythm and working with straight/curved shapes. I try to get a good stack of sketches to work with first, so I can skim the cream of the crop, even if it is more work arranging them in puzzle-piece compositions. Currently keeping the sketching going as much as possible in between writing covers letters for any range of graphic design/illustration work.
A kind of sinister fairy from the folklore of northern britain. At night, it can take the form of a large horse, donkey or sometimes a shaggy black dog with webbed feet. It has huge saucer-shaped eyes and walks with a splashing sound. It is generally described as lurking silently by the side of the road waiting for unwary travellers; however, some stories speak of it in a more positive light as helping to lead lost travellers to safety. There is a memorable description of the Gytrash in Charlotte Bronte's novel Jane Eyre. (see also Padfoot)
I chose the horse iteration of the creature, playing with the idea of a drowned animal seeking revenge upon all others to suffer a similar fate. The saucer-shaped eyes seemed like a chance to play with the eerie alertness of an unnaturally emaciated wretch.
This one was a bit of a process. My first attempt I tried to skip the whole design process and just get to the sketch while doing a sketchnight with friends. Needless to say, it ended up lifeless, unoriginal, and akward. Unsatisfied, I gathered my research, sprawled out hordes of thumbnails, and launched into it again during another sketchgroup, and met with much more success. I opted out of creating a 'noble, gentle' creature to try my hand at capturing the passion a Chinese dragon invokes through an energetic action. So here is what our description was:
A variant of the Unicorn from the mythology and traditions of China. The Ky-Lin has the head of a dragon, with a single horn, the mane of a lion, the body of a stag, and the tail of an ox. This is taken to indicate that the Ky-Lin represents the five elements and the five virtues. It is also said to embody the yin-yang balance between masculine and feminine: "Ky" meing male and "Lin" female. Its single horn stands for the unity of the world under one great ruler and the Ky-Lin, which normally lives in Paradise, only visits the world at the birth of wise philosophers or during the reign of especially virtuous monarchs. Like its Western cousin, the Ky-Lin is always represented as extremely gentle and it never uses its horn to defend itself. In Chinese art, it appears in the company of sages and immortals, and anyone shown mounted on a Ky-Lin must be a person of great fame or virtue. The term 'To ride a Ky-Lin' indicates a person of outstanding luck and ability. It personifies all that is good, pure and peaceful in the world.