Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Queen of Hearts

I was asked to do a caricature of a friend for her recent Hen party. The theme of the party was Alice in Wonderland and the bride to be was given the role of the Queen of Hearts. Above is my digitally painted version.

My line art here expertly coloured by Carrie Edwards and placed in appropriate playing card frame.

The Sarah playing card on display at the Hen party.

The bride to be was also given a Sami Teasdale designed Hen party costume and the jacket incorporated an iron on transfer of my illustration. Checkout Sami's blog for full details of the amazing finished costume along with all other accessories created for the Hen and army of Henettes.

(All photography courtesy of Sami Teasdale)

Thursday, 8 July 2010

The Raising of Osiris part 2

Above is my final version of the Isis and Osiris piece for the IFX cover competition, and below is how I arrived at it.

As mentioned in the previous post I didn't want to attempt a realistic histroically accurate rendering of the characters (after all they were mythological not historical). They did have to reflect their Egyptian background however so in terms of costume I was looking more at our modern theatrical interpretation of 'Egyptian' style. My Isis then is a sort of composite of many interpretations of the female Egyptian figure, from classical paintings, opera, film, and comics.

Isis Inspiration: Clockwise from top left, detail from Cleopatra before Caesar by Jean Leone Gerome, (1866) ; 1920s Egyptian ballet costume; Claudette Colbert in Cleopatra (1934); Abadazad cover, Mike Ploog (2006); Promethea cover, Alex Ross (1999).

In original Egyptian paintings Osiris as lord of death and resurrection is almost always portrayed with green skin, which helped suggest a supernatural aspect to his person in the illustration. Isis' divinity in Egyptian art isn't always so obvious. She looks like a normal woman, though sometimes she is given wings. I thought the wings would give me some trouble in terms of the composition so I swapped this supernatural attribute with one from another Egyptian goddess. Nut, goddess of the sky was often appropriately shown with blue skin so I decided to give Isis this colouring. Hopefully the blue skin says she's not just any old Egyptian lady enjoying a spot of necromancy - she knows exactly what she's up to. Over the centuries many Eyptian gods and goddesses merged or took on the attributes of others so I didn't think it would be too bad to add a little Nut-blue to the Queen of Egypt here.

As this was going to be a cover design I tried to work within the confines of the publication's cover template (supplied by IFX). I started off with a line drawing that I added a tonal layer to, then I played with different colour washes over this to see how they worked with the cover typography.

I went on to paint over the line drawing and tonal layers in monochrome. I then built up the colour using transparent soft light layers in photoshop. Finally some alterations were made in another colour paint layer in Painter. For instance Isis' face and make-up details were changed slightly (see below).

So that's it, but we can still look forward to seeing who actually won the competition when their entry appears on the cover... sometime soon hopefully.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

The Raising of Osiris part1

Sometime late last year Imagine FX magazine ran a competition to design one of their covers. I had some time on my hands at Christmas so I thought why not? I've got no idea what happened to that competition (don't seem to have heard any mention of the winners yet) but above are three rough colour compositions I did to get started.

My idea was based on the Egyptian myth of the resurrection of Osiris by Isis. The main reason for this was that IFX covers tend to feature a beautiful and exotic (often scantily clad) female in a mythological or science fiction/ fanatasy setting. The mythological figure of Isis seemed to fit the bill, and as far as I'm aware hasn't appeared on the cover before.

Isis is the archetypal great woman behind a great man. When Osiris is killed and dismembered at the hands of the evil god Seth, Isis sets out in search of his body. After a long quest and with the help of several other gods, Isis eventually located all the pieces, then reassembled the body, and using her healing and magical powers restored Osiris to life.

The legend gives you some great classic visual cues. The finale is both a pieta and a resurrection scene, whilst the binding together of Osiris' body and the resurrection by magical means bring to mind elements of classic Universal horror ('The Mummy', 'Frankenstein'), and the Egyptian setting allows for Cecil B. Demille style spectacular costumes. So this is what I decided to focus on.

La Pieta (1499) by Michelangelo

Young Frankenstein (1974)

Cleopatra (1934)