Thursday, February 28, 2013

Fuyuko Matsui

Contemporary artist from japan. 
I know I have to rework that dog and make it's tail more smokey and that water need definite work,  the background needs some refinements but I'm trying to echo her style and keep it rather basic.


Origin: Medusa (greek for "guardian") is a monster that originated in the oral and literary tradition of greek mythology. She is the daughter of Phorcys and Ceto, and the only one of the three Gorgons subject to mortality. According to Apollodorus, Medusa and her sisters were born with viperine locks, yellow wings, and skin lined with impenetrable scales. In Ovid's later conception of Medusa, she was fancied by Poseidon and subsequently raped by him in Athena's temple; the jealous and enraged goddess in turn transformed her locks into serpents and left her with a most abject face. In most accounts, she was slain by the hero Perseus, who used a shield gifted by Athena as his primary weapon for reflecting her gaze. He used her removed head as a weapon, but at some point bestowed it to Athena, which was then affixed to her own shield.

The fact that Medusa can't be confronted face to face because of her abject appearance and petrifying stare, is what defines her as the embodiment of what can't be concretely represented, ie. Death. Death is an abstract concept that exists in a realm beyond our experience, thus it's unfathomable. Like Hades, she was impossible to look at. Medusa's tragic duality, her beauty cursed with a mask of lurid ugliness, establishes her also as a symbol of ambiguity.

Other facts:

- Medusa's face represented that of a warrior consumed by battle frenzy. In The Shield of Heracles (232-3), Hesiod describes the wide-open mouth, the fearsome hair and the Gorgons' shrill cries which conjure up her terrifying aspect. 

- She is the guardian of terrifying places, either the nocturnal borders of the world or the Underworld. She reappears in this role in Dante's Divine Comedy (Inferno, IX, 55-7) and Milton's Paradise Lost (II, 611). Guarding the doorway to the world of the dead, she prevents the living from entering.

kaiqi gao

Asdzaa Nadleehe-Changing Woman sketch

Asdzaa Nadleehe-Changing Woman
For four days, the mountain Ch'ool'i'i was covered with a dark cloud that slowly descended down its base. One day, First Man decided to investigate and set out chanting a optimistic song. He ascended the mountain and at the tip, right when lightning flashed and a rainbow showered him with vibrant colors, did he find Changing Woman. Here is Zolbrod's description of the actual discovery:
 He looked down at his feet where he heard a baby crying. But he beheld only a turquoise figure. In it, however, he recognized the likeness of a female. It was no larger than a newborn child, but its body was fully proportioned like a woman's body. (Zolbrod 1992: 175)

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Mary Stevenson Cassatt

I researched on Josephine Baker, who is known as "Black Pearl", "Black Pearl", or "Creole Goddess" because of her "barely-there" dresses and "no-holds-barred" dance routines. She was a dancer, actress, and performer, and was born in St. Louis, Missouri. Her bold performance brought her to success in New York, and later in Paris 1920s. She performed not only for entertainment, but also served as a spy during World War II for the French Resistance. She adopted children with different ethnicities and religions, and had three marriages in her life.

I was inspired by Josephine Baker 's dance moves and her bananas skirt. I am thinking of making a very short stop-motion animation(16-20 seconds, or even shorter?), inspired by her dance moves:
Instead of pencils, I am thinking just using gouache or watercolor might work better. I am using tracing papers and thinking of scanning them, and work on photoshop....!

Queen Nzingha a Mbande; Allison Mackey

Nzinga Mbande (1583-1663) was the powerful queen of the Ndongo and Matamba Kingdoms (modern-day Angola) who fought for the freedom of her people against the Portuguese whom were colonizing the area at the time. Early on they had made a peace treaty with one another. In the first of a series of meetings, there was said to be but one chair in the room for the Governor Corria and a mat on the floor for Nzinga, something that denoted her as inferior. Noticing this, she sought to establish her equality with the representative of the Portugal crown. She motioned for one of her assistants who immediately fell on their hands and knees and acted as her chair for the meeting. The Portuguese betrayed Queen Nzinga five years later and she began a thirty year war against them. She died peacefully in her eighties.

I chose to illustrate the scene of Nzinga and the peace treaty and plan to use gouache or watercolor for the finish.

Biography 1
Biography 2

Joan of Arc (Lauren Sessa)

Will be painted with acrylics.

Scheherazade Sketch - Evee Erb

Scheherazade was the legendary Persian queen, main character, and storyteller of One Thousand and One Nights. According to the story, the king would marry a new virgin ever day and send yesterday's virgin bride to be beheaded. Scheherazade was well educated and had studied science, poetry, and the stories and legends of different cultures. She volunteered to spend a night with the King, who accepted. That night, she told him a story, and he listened to her all through the night until after dawn the next day, at which point Scheherazade had still not finished her story. The king agreed to spare her life for one more night so that he may hear the rest of the story. As Scheherazade finished her story, the king asked her to begin a new one, which she once again needed several days to tell. The king kept Scheherazade alive for one thousand and one nights, until she claimed that she had no more stories left to tell. Having become wiser from hearing all of Scheherazade's stories, the king spared her life and took her as his queen...

For this piece, I either want to use a combination of watercolor, colored pencil, and perhaps conte. My color palette will consist of blues, browns, and light yellow tones, perhaps with little pops of green and red on the ornamentation on the wall...

(also I know that the perspective on the table is wrong. I've fixed it, but my camera ran out of charge so I don't have a more recent photo to upload...)

alexandra david-neel, harriet sussman

Alexandra David-Neel was a Belgian-French explorer and writer, among other things, born in 1868. She lived to nearly 102, dying in 1969. Best known for her travels in Tibet, which was then forbidden for foreigners to visit.

1890-1891: traveled through India for the first time
1895-1896: worked as a prima donna with a traveling French Opera company
1911: went back to India where she continued studies in Buddhism
1912: met the 13th Dalai Lama
1914-1916: lived a bare minimum lifestyle in a cave in Sikkim with a young Sikkimese monk, Aphur Yogden, studying spirituality. Afterwords she adopted Yogden who then became her traveling companion. They trespassed into Tibet for the first time and were able to meet the Panchen Lama before they were found and forced to leave.
1916: Europe was in WWI so Alexandra traveled to Japan
1924: Inspired by a man she met in Japan, Alexandra returned to Tibet this time disguised as pilgrims. She journeyed to Lhasa, a city in Tibet
1928: she settled in Digne France and wrote books for 9 years
1929: when she published her most famous book "Magic and Mystery in Tibet"
1937: went back to Tibet and ended up in Tachienlu. She completed her circumambulation of the holy mountain Amnye Machen
1955: Yogden died
1969: Alexandra died
1973: A friend dispersed both Alexandra and Yogden's ashes in the Ganges, as she had requested in her will

I'd like to be able to do multiple illustrations, since Alexandra David-Neel had such a full life. For now though I'm going to start with one of her traveling through into Tibet -- a journey where she had to use a special breathing technique she learned from her studies in Sikkim to keep herself alive.
I'm going to use watercolor and a very limited color palette - mostly blues and oranges - as well as a colored line.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Wangari Maathi, Melissa Hecker

This is the sketch I will use to collage over. I used the computer as a tool to create a template of how I would like to block the color. The collage will be a mix of both digital and paper collage which is a new method I have been interested in and wanting to explore.

Wangari Maathai

Maathai was born in 1940 and died in 2011. She was the founder of the Green Belt Movement and the winner of the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate. She was an environmentalist and political activist in Kenya, who believed the environment was an issue of "now" and not "tomorrow." She was most interested in sustainability, peace and democracy. However she faced challenges of authority in government who control the resources. Yet, she established the Green Belt movement which took a step forward in addressing poverty and environmental conservation. Among other things, they create income opportunities for rural farmers to grow tree seedings. Groups of women also participate in the planting of trees. After planting over a million trees in one specific area, Kenyans were able to see their land restored slowly, but surely back to health. Before conservation, the land was very degraded. But after the trees were planted and grew, it helped immensely with the erosion problems and gave the community clean water.
Communities in Kenya are still using the methods they were taught from the Green Belt Movement. People living in poverty are more educated farming and sustainability which will then be passed on to the next generations. What Wangari did for her people was more than necessary and it has sparked a change in the way people live their lives.

Monday, February 25, 2013


Mary Antisarlook- Reindeer Queen

Reindeer Queen
The woman I picked from my amazing owl hat was Mary Antisarlook, born Changunak, or the Reindeer Queen. She was born in St. Michael, Alaska, in either 1870. Her mother was an Eskimo and her father was a Russian trader living in Alaska. Because of this, she could speak three languages: her mother’s native Inupiaq, her father’s native Russian, and English. In 1889, she married Charlie Antisarlook and moved to Cape Nome, Alaska. There, she and her husband worked as translators for a US vessel used to transport reindeer from Siberia to Alaska. Eventually, Mary and her husband were given their own small herd of reindeer. They were some of the first Natives to have their own herd.
Their herd thrived and grew to large numbers. In 1900, Charlie died. As both a Native and a woman, Mary should not have been able to keep any of her husband’s property, including their reindeer herd. She fought hard and won the right to half of the herd.  Over the years, the herd grew stronger and Mary herself grew rich through her herd. In 1902, she remarried and began training other Inupiaq men as herders.  She never had any children of her own, but adopted several, who all grew up to take care of their own herds.
Mary was a strong and independent woman, and was a key contributor to the reintroduction of reindeer into Alaska. With her love and dedication to the reindeer, she rightly received the nickname Reindeer Queen. Mary passed away in 1948, leaving behind numerous children and grandchildren to carry on the tradition of reindeer herding.

Research on Inuit Art
The Inuit art is based around their way of life, with focus on traditional myths and beliefs, and the animals of the artic. Their art reveals more about their life: the pursuit of food, their closeness to nature and animals, and the every day tasks they consider simple.
The artworks I found were brightly colored, with patterns within the different colors.  I was really interested in the colors and patterns incorporated into the art, as well as the constant association with nature. I want to use collage for this project, going back in with colored pencil or marker to give the paper the patterns found in Inuit art.

Color Study

Thursday, February 14, 2013


Belgium research & sketches: Melissa Hecker

   I was really intrigued by the work of Rene Margritte and Leon Spilliaert. Margritte was a Belgian surrealist painter who used themes of ordinary objects in an unusual context.
   Here are some rough sketches of their work that I emulated. I would like to work with the aesthetic of architecture juxtaposed with landscape. This has been a common theme in some of my previous work.  I would like to experiment with different compositions of negative and positive space through the use of monochromatic tones.
   For the content of my illustration, I am mostly interested in authentic Belgian architecture, specifically from Brussels. Here are some images of buildings that I referenced. 

Also it is interesting to see the changes in Belgian architecture throughout the centuries. This is a good website I found that lists images of buildings starting with the Romanesque era and ending with current 21st century buildings.


belgium sketch

Belgium sketch

I was inspired by the work of Achraf Amiri, who works primarily in fashion illustration.

belgium sketch, harriet sussman

my inspiration was mainly the work of Frank Pe
dodo book sketches
parc paradisio environment sketches

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Belgium Sketch

Lange Wapper
Belgium folklore portrayed as a trickster.

I'm choosing to illustrate Klüdde, who is a shapeshifting beast/demon from a Belgian folk tale, who most notably takes the form of a dog or wolf with wings who terrorizes the citizens of Flanders. 

More info:

I'm also drawing inspiration from Thomas Ott...

Belgium Sketch; Allison Mackey

Illustrator Sketches/Inspiration (Lauren Sessa)

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Belgium-Inspired Sketch

I picked the Belgian illustrator Jan Van Der Veken to draw inspiration from, as well as Belgium's traditional Mardi Gras celebration of the Carnival of Brinche, and the principal character of the Gilles.