Friday, July 26, 2013

Each-Uisge, Illustrated using digital technology

Each-Uisge, digital art using GIMP, and scanned graphite sketch
Each Uisge is a Scottish waterspirit. Regular readers already noticed I’m fascinated by water. The legends surrounding Each-Uisge are dark ones concerning drowning and death, and the pervasive fear of strangers.  He (seems to be characterized as male) usually appears as a black horse or pony and is compelling and seductive, especially to children who are lured into riding his back, but once aboard they cannot jump off, and Each-Uisge takes his rider down into his watery lair (seaside or lake).
I read this long ago, and it stuck, probably because it hits on a number of instinctive levels; even now, children are admonished never to talk to strangers, and especially not get into cars with one, and how much is that exactly like the Each-Uisge legend…no wonder, archaic as it is, it has so much power. 
The final image began with a piece of paper, and a pencil. The traditional stuff of art.  As usual, it’s A4 (office paper), on a clip board which serves me well as a sketchbook, allowing me the freedom of sifting, sorting and winnowing the spillage of my mind.  The horse came off just as I wanted it, but I had trouble envisioning the human figure.  My art reference nudes didn’t have quite the right pose, and I still couldn’t get things right (those versions now in recycling).
So I set up a photo-shoot for myself donning lavender leotard reserved for the purpose (once upon a time I taught dance).
After transferring the result to my tablet, I have a handy portable photo reference (although I’m still using a really primitive means to prop it up), and with much eraser finally I have the figure. The horse drawing is underneath this page, and visible to me as I’m drawing. Once I get a drawing right, I’m reluctant to redraw it unless I must.
Once satisfied, I used scissor and tape to stitch it all together, and then scanned it in black and white in GIMP (like photoshop but free).  This allows me to cut the image and superimpose over another (and much more).
Once that was done, I made a digital painting for the image using a mouse, and then applied fractal filters and other manipulations, to get the final result.
I’m still not sure if it’s finished and ready to post on Etsy. I still need to decide on what paper to use. I have mat card stock, but I probably want to try a few more, and make sure I can print it consistently first.
Here’s another, using a scan of a linocut.
She’s a more benign water spirit, and my physical print looks good on mat paper, so I probably will post this one to Etsy, but not today, I've run out of steam.

1 comment:

Jennifer Rose Phillip said...

the colours on them both are great, go well with the water theme :)


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