This week’s illustration theme was “Wheels”. Always one to buck the trend, I wracked my brain (and Wikipedia) for wheels of less-vehicular variety.
A couple hours of research into mythological references for wheels turned out to be a dead end, but I learn of the existence of Frigg, a Norse goddess of some sort. Another early contender was the medicine wheel – which had the added appeal of being the name of an Aimee Mann song from her #%$@ Smilers album (which also notably references Lake St. in Minneapolis). But a real medicine wheel is a Native American structure built from stones on the ground. It was just too unwieldy for a figure-focused drawing.
So the drawing started down the path of a Rumpelstiltskin sort of scene. Along the way, the woman became less European, the demon became first a kindly man and then a kindly woman, and somebody’s kid brother showed up, too.
The spinning wheel in the picture is the product of another round of research. The actual positions and proportions of the figure and the wheel are fairly accurate. However, I did not copy from a photograph, since the photos I found did not have the wheel at a suitable angle.
The finished drawing resulted from two sessions of line work, then a few days of fussing over colors and such. Actually, the composition started out much wider, but by bringing some of the background elements closer in, it was able to be cropped quite a bit. This made for a much more intimate and focused picture.
Much deliberation went into deciding just what the background would contain, and its placement relative to the women. Photoshop makes it almost too easily to position and re-position the different layers, so many precious minutes were spent moving things a couple clicks this way, and that. In the end, a good balance was reached, and a satisfying suggestion of depth.
The colors came together fairly nicely. The color palette is essentially monochrome: it uses one base color (orange-brown) from which lighter and darker hues are used alongside variations with more-or-less-intense color.
Finishing touches included adding a grain to the colored areas using a photoshop filter, and a slight lightening of the lines in the background using the dodge tool. This helped to downplay the secondary interests and create a greater feeling of space.
Between me and the characters in the picture, it looks like we’re all learning something this week.