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Here come the CRYPTIDS OF 2013! This delightful calendar features old favorites like Sasquatch and the Yeti, as well as mysterious critters you may not have heard of (such as the man-eating tree, Yataveo). I've rounded up these hidden beasties from around the world to pose together for the first time. A deliriously quirky addition to your wall in the coming year.
This is the episode near the beginning of the novel in which the village priest Pedro Perez burns all of Quixote's books. I designed the character to look a bit like Nino de Guevara, who was the Spanish Grand Inquisitor during Cervantes' life. I emphasized the reflection on his glasses to suggest a lack of true vision.
I love seeing other artists' processes, so I like to share my own now and then. I've been using these Don Quixote pieces as a way to explore/experiment with my working methods, which have become more and more a mix of digital and traditional approaches.
After rereading the chapter I intend to illustrate and making some notes, character sketches, and thumbnail composition sketches, I drew this sketch. Just pencil in my sketchbook. I scanned it at a high resolution and began to play with it in Photoshop.
The undead knight who is reclining with the cards is based on a sepulchral effigy from 1500s Spain.
Next, I added a paper texture I scanned years ago. This gives the image an old-fashioned, natural feel. I used a multiply layer.
Now that I have my sketch and a basic texture, I'm ready to start with the background. I tried a few different colors for the sky (one of the luxuries of digital work!), and settled on this green because I felt it gave the picture an eerie, off-kilter feel. The architecture of the castle is based on medieval/Renaissance buildings from Spain (the setting of the novel). Throughout Don Quixote, the Moorish culture is referenced, so I thought an allusion to that in the architecture would be fitting here. At the time the book was written, the Moors (Muslims) and Jews had recently been expelled from Spain.
With the background more or less in place, I painted a block of shade to create my basic value structure. I wanted the figures to be in shadow, almost silhouettes when you squint, and the background to be brightly lit.
Part of my ongoing Don Quixote series (my favorite book). This is the Cave of Montesinos episode (Book Two, Chapter 23), one of the more surreal scenes in the novel.
In this chapter, Quixote bravely descends alone into a magical cave in which he finds a crystal palace housing an undead knight and a Moorish lady who safeguards his mummified heart. Among other bizarre things. Is it all a dream? Maybe.
The undead knight utters only one sentence as he turns over on his side: "Patience, and shuffle the cards." I've always loved that uncanny line.
I've had five little 5" x 7" canvases sitting in my studio for a while, waiting for me to do something with them. So Sunday afternoon, we played together.
Painting clouds is a fun way to experiment with near-abstraction. It's nice to play with color, composition, and form on their own. Each piece has it's own mood and it's own aims, but I like the way the five of these work together as a group.
Because I had five canvases, I began thinking of (and listening to) one of my favorite five-movement symphonies--Mahler's 7th. I tried to capture some of enigmatic qualities of the music; the strange leaps between absurdity and mystery.