Saturday, 9 May 2015

Sphinx 2

Yes I’m well aware that the title sounds like the sequel to a particularly bad movie, but this is part two.  A week has elapsed and the sphinx is finished, although I still have that feeling that always hovers over you at the end of any project – that it could be better, and just a little more work would put it right (or put it wrong). 

 I know that more work on something when it seems to have finished can go either way.  You might hit on that elusive thing that makes all the difference, or you will do something (and often you’re not even sure what it is) that ruins it for you completely.  And you’re the one that matters in the end, your opinion.  Others may not even see a difference in the work – but you’ll always know that you almost had it right, but then ruined it. 

The line work at the bottom is looking a bit rough compared with the head.  Also it doesn't look balanced.

 I mentioned last week that I thought the design was in danger of being top heavy in detail and this is still one of the vague problems that are still slightly nagging at me.  There’s a lot of line work involved in the hair and wings, coupled with the fact that the human eye will always go to the face first.  In comparison the rest of the body has little line work to help it along. 

Its another one of those remarkable things about the human brain, that we will see flat two dimensional lines as representative of solid three dimensional objects, and without them a flattish colour based design is in danger of receding, and losing form.   I could only try to mitigate the problem by giving the body more form using blocks of shade.  What line there was defining the body was also in need of some work.  My first attempt wasn’t that great, a bit awkward in fact, and I needed to adjust the angle and line of the body between the legs, and the angle of the line of the haunches just behind the wings.  (See above.)  This helped it conform better to my original conception of a square like design, which would fit into a frame.  
Detail of the wings - and all those little fibres.
Another thing they don’t often talk about with art or illustration is the tedious work that some of it involves.  And I’m talking about the wings here, as I had started to draw in the thin fibres of the feathers and had to complete the task for every feather.  It wasn’t too bad this time, but I have locked myself into one of those seemingly endless tasks in the past.   The Sci-Fi artist Jim Burns talks amusingly in his collection ‘Transluminal’  about a similar but more testing problem for his book cover for the novel ‘The Long Run’. 

Getting close, but still some shading to correct, and some more sculpting of form.
 Lastly I wanted to slightly adjust the grey border, to make it narrower and longer.  I had originally wanted the front leg of the Sphinx to cross over the border but the positioning of the main form was too central, so I shifted it over to the right and lengthened the borders.  I wanted to put a title with it and so saw the opportunity for a box for this text to be made with the border. 
The finished article.  Click the picture and see my website.
And here's the finished piece, complete with a title in a box.  I'm never really happy with anything I do, so there's room for future work.  Maybe I might feel it would look better as a longer shape at some time and so I'll begin to break it out of its box and give it a more supple and elegant shape.  Would it look better?  I'm sure you all have an opinion, but only I and the sphinx have the real answer to that riddle. 



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