Thursday, February 19, 2009

Moon Tarot (A Wayward Process Post!)

Alright. And now for something a little different. I have uploaded a video capture of my working on the above image:

You may download it directly (~50 megabytes) by clicking.
If the video doesn't play, it may be you're lacking the codec I used.
It is the Techsmith SC codec, which you may get from here.
It is tiny, just a simple exe installation and then run the video again, it'll work.

If that all sounds like too much hassle, you may instead watch the video on Vimeo, here.
But at the expense of definition, size and quality. Such is life.

It took about 2 hours to draw the image, it has been condensed at 10 minutes by being sped up. The music is the track First Narrows by Loscil, from the same-titled album. The program I'm using is Manga Studio EX 4.0 which I'm truly sorry Techsmith, I stole from you. If I ever become well-off I swear I'll buy it for real.

I like time-lapse videos of people drawing because it pleasantly removes the period the artist employs between thinking of a concept and actually rendering it on the paper. It also removes minor backtracking errors or undos (you can catch a big undo where I use the spraycan on the big rock and the remember "oh wait, it'll be a tattoo, you can't use this sort of grain!") so the end result is wonderfully automatic. In the future with our chemically augmentated reflexes and brain power, this will be how we will draw. We shall think it and behold, there it shall be.

So, about the piece. My friend Blazej Dzikowski has decided to get a second tattoo. I usually don't accept offers to do tattoo drawings. It is, as I'm certain readers who also draw will testify, something of a regular occurrence to be asked by people that barely know you to draw them something inane like a big Sepiroth from Final Fantasy rocking out on the electric guitar to get tattoed on their lower back. Shallow judgments aside (for all I know Sepiroth might mean a lot to them! Also, their lower back!) I am primarily not keen on the implied responsibility involved into making something another person will carry on their skin for a long time. However I do not have a lot of friends like Blazej so I asked about the details of the piece.

It's that Moon Tarot card. Here's some reference we dug up: 1, 2, 3. The prevalent themes are of course the naturalistic environment, the high tide water (along with the variable crustacean), the two towers (signifying distant judging civilization or perhaps bygone subservience?) and the dog and wolf, the one housebroken and trained, the other fundamentally wild, giving into their instinctual urges. When Blazej explained to me what the image means to him I told him I'd try to do a rendition, because most of all I felt I could understand the point of it (or to be exact I could understand his understanding of it and how it differed from my own complentary one). The one on top of the post is the initial version. His concerns over readability and relative sizes of the forms led me to alter the image in the following way:

As this would wrap around his arm. I think the distant dual towers also probably capture the underlying meaning of the card better than the fancier pillars of the first version. He seems happy with this image and I'm happy that he's happy, it's a fitting gift for him, just now a father. Responsibility coupled remembrance of internal desire, yes.

Best to you, Dominika and the child.



Dominika said...

This is really great!

I love this drawing, the details and I love the idea behind it. As a person who will look at it every day and night I have only one sugestion.
The line of the horizon bothers me. It "cuts off" the heads of both main characters (something we photographers avoid unless it conveys some extra meaning). So when you look at the drawing very fast it almost looks like four towers on the horizon, two of them collapsing. I mean, the size of the heads and the towers is very similar.

I don't know how to solve it (and I don't know if Blazej sees the problem - he is asleep now), perhaps changing the perspective and moving the horizon above their heads could help, so that the dog and the wolf stand out more?

For me these two animals plus the moon are the key elements of the card. both cyvilised and wild animal howls at the moon as in longing for something unreachable, for something unknown, powerful and haunting. So very Blazej :) It seems like the underlying subject of his every book or story.

What do you think?


And I really enjoy your blog. The last story about the house is brethtaking.
I think I envy you the positive feedback a little. Maybe it is time to get courageous, and start my own blog :)))

Greetings from Feliks. I just learned he thinks that "temple of love" by sisters is a great lullaby.

Helm said...

Oh you're absolutely right about the horizon problem. Let me try to address it.

How about this? : ?

Your keen photographer's eye saves Blazej's tattoo!

RE: blog, yes you should. Whenever I want to talk about you to people who don't know you I can only link them to those found photographs you've put online, not to a comprehensive resource or bio.

I am glad to hear that Feliks has started on solid musical foundations!

I'm very glad you wrote me a comment. Much love and hope from Greece.

Nick said...

Very nice video! You use Manga Studio for all your drawings? I had the impression that you did them with pen&paper and then scanned them.

P.S. The blue 'shades' are supposed to be helpful in some way, would it be harder to draw it all black&white from the start?

Helm said...

I use Manga Studio a lot, but pretty much most of the stuff in the blog is drawn on paper and scanned. The Cintiq is a pretty new purchase and that's why I use Manga Studio as much as I do now. I just can't stop!

The blue shade is useful because it's full intensity, whereas if I was sketching in black and white I'd have to turn the opacity of the layer down when I inked the finals on a different layer on top, and black and grey... eh... a mess. In blue is much easier to distinguish what you've drawn and what's left to be drawn.

RosenRed said...

green with envy

1. Consumed by envy; envious to the point where it is noticeable to others.


Dominika said...

RE: Helm, the last version is great. Thank you so much. I can't wait til I see this on Blażej's arm :)

jspade said...

Hi there!

Good to see another PROCESS post here, at the blog. I really enjoyed the video (the music is nice too) as well as the finished piece. The moon tarot card concept is really interesting. If Błażej didn't mind it, it would be great to see a picture with the real thing wrapped around his hand!