Monday, September 23, 2013

The Cumaean Sibyl

As envisioned by Gene Wolfe:

"As I had suspected, the Cumaean was not a woman at all; yet neither was it one of the horrors I had beheld in the gardens of the House Absolute. Something sleekly reptilian coiled about the glowing rod. I looked for the head and found none, though each of the patternings on the reptile's back was a face, and the eyes of each face seemed lost in rapture." Gene Wolfe, 'The Claw of the Conciliator'

This beautifully written description creeped me out: I just had to illustrate it.


Illustrator template for scales, elements. Scales were done with custom made brushes.

Cumaean's face: in human guise, Wolfe described her as a crone. The face in the reptile's patternings were not described so, but it seemed appropriate.

Final: I omitted the hood from the Cumaean Sibyl's faces — too much! I also moved the source of the rays from the glowing rod to the Sibyls' eyes.


Friday, September 6, 2013

Ant Monastery

Continuing the theme of microcosms and floating, self-contained worlds, here's another I started two days ago.


Some details:

I will add final image when done.

Final image:

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Hungry Bird

A darling baby bird, waiting for a nourishing tidbit from Mommy.

Sketch: I was very pleased with how the rocks turned out.

Memento mori and memento iPhone.

Monday, September 2, 2013

A Floating Island Was His Home

I've always been obsessed with terrariums, and the idea of little microcosms, self-contained worlds under glass. I would love to own one of those EcoSpheres with the brine shrimp and algae.

I decided to do a pretty ambitious but light-hearted picture of space terrariums with an attending spacecraft, as well as an artificial sun. I started Thursday, August 29, and am now pretty much finished.

Here is the rough pencil idea:

I will post more images of the many elements that went into this.

Gold fish bowl detail, with Sea Monkeys (brine shrimp)for food:

Snake and mouse with succulent plants:

Space Bird plane with chimpanzee pilot:

Some elements shown in wireframe and preview in Illustrator:

Sea monkey overkill:

I wish the chimp pilot showed better — handsome fellow (or lady, can't tell).

The terrarium/aquarium pebbles were taken from another image where I had created rock textures (see An Unfortunate Discovery), and isolated bits with a mask and a layer effect to create highlights and shadows. Those layer effects take a lot of trial and error to get then to work, but it can be worth it.

The snake was done with a custom scales brush in Illustrator, then altered with the Line Width editing tool. The rest was done in Photoshop.