Hi everyone! This week I have been looking at different types of art that I like and what it is that I like about them. I want to explore different ways that I could illustrate Eartha and Okko. For Eartha I want very fluid, organic lines, so my one of my first starting points is Art Nouveau.
“O Love’s but a dance
Where time plays the fiddle!
Strange dance! ‘Tis free to Rank and Rags
Here no distinction flatters,
Here Riches shakes its money-bags
And Poverty its tatters:
Church, Army, Navy, Physic, Law:
Maid, Mistress, Master, Valet:
Long locks, grey hairs, bald heads and a’—
They bob in ‘Cupid’s Alley’.”
(‘The Dance in Cupid’s Alley’, Arthur Rackham, 1904 | Tate, 2020)
(You can read the whole poem on Poetrynook.com) Arthur Rackham has illustrated lots of literature such as Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens and the Brother’s Grimm fairytales. This piece above is Art Nouveau. Art Nouveau is a style most famous for its elongated curving lines, plant and other natural elements and intense colours. I think this style would suit Earth nicely as her name meaning “of the earth” fits well with the idea drawing inspiration from “evolving elegant designs that united flowing, natural forms resembling the stems and blossoms of plants” (Nouveau, 2020). I want Eartha to embody nature uniqueness, it is along this thought that Wabi Sabi came to mind.
“wabi-sabi is the art of finding beauty in imperfection and profundity in earthiness, of revering authenticity above all.” – (2020)
Wabi-Sabi is an idea that my mentor introduced to me when I was frustrated with some of my work not coming out on paper exactly how I was seeing it in my mind. I was trying to go for the “effortlessly perfect” look and was trying way to hard, I needed to loosen up my drawings. Anyway my mentor told me wabi-sabi is “imperfect, inpermenant and incomplete, modest, and humble it is the beauty of things unconventional“ I think that this a wonderful way to see the world. I find it easy to apply it to my everyday life outwardly but when it comes to viewing myself and my work it is a whole lot harder. I have been set an exercise to draw one thing every day only giving myself 15 minuets to work the piece and i’m not allowed to tweak or redo any part of it- wabi-sabi. I’ll aim to post Okko & Eatha drawings or drawings of things to use in their story Wabi-Sabi style on my twitter account.
Blue Willow Pattern
Seeing how much inspiration I took from Eartha’s name I thought about looking at what Okko’s name means and what connections I can make from that. As I have mentioned in a previous post Okko means Blue; which is quite a vague starting point. Thinking from a design point of view it would make sense to include the colour blue in his appearance or as his favourite colour, so for my first few drafts Okko has blue hair and purple eyes (I am still fond of this design so I may stick with it later). One of my favourite mediums is ink and stick and I usually begin my creative process by drawing with these when I know movement will be involved. I made the connection between blue and ink to Chinese paintings and then to Blue Willow china. When I was researching this I found a love story behind the origin of the pattern:
“Long ago in China, there lived a very wealthy mandarin. He had a beautiful daughter named Koong Shee. The beautiful, young girl was the promised bride of Ta-Jin, a very old but wealthy merchant. The young girl however, fell in love with her father’s secretary, a young man named Chang. Koong Shee and Chang would meet in secret beneath a large Willow tree and dream of their future together. Koong Shee was of noble descent and Chang was a mere commoner. So the young couple , no matter how great their love, would never be allowed to wed.
When the girl’s father found out about their secret meetings, he was furious. He banished Chang and forbade his daughter from ever seeing Chang again. Koong Shee would sit beneath the Willow tree that had once been a place of joy and would quietly weep. Her heart was filled with pain. Not only had she lost Chang but Ta-Jin was a wicked man and a very difficult person to please. Koong Shee longed to see her handsome, young Chang and her thoughts would fill with the happiness they shared while sitting in this very same spot together.
As the day of the wedding drew near, Chang returned. He sent a message with Koong Shee’s maid to meet him by the Willow tree. As Chang approached, he saw his beautiful Koong Shee sitting beneath the tree. Chang rushed to her side and once more held Koong Shee in his arms. They were so very much in love and did not want to be separated ever again. Chang and Koong Shee finally decided to elope and get married without her fathers permission. As they were starting to leave together, Koong Shee’s father saw them and chased after the pair. The young couple raced across the bridge to a waiting boat and sailed away.
A storm developed and the boat sank at sea. Suddenly from out of the storm flew two snow white doves. Seeing the young couple’s love for one another, the gods transformed Koong Shee and Chang into two beautiful white doves. These two doves have lived on forever and can still be seen today flying high above the Willow Tree where Koong Shee and Chang first pledged their love.” (The Legend of Blue Willow, 2020)
(You can read an alternative ending at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Willow_pattern)
I find this very interesting and in relation to Okko & Eartha has given me some new ideas, I could look into some digital ink tools to use on Clip Paint and I could draw Okko in that style if I research it a bit more. Also the idea of transformation at the end is interesting, at the end of the novel I could have Okko transform into a pocket centaur like Eartha which is a fun idea to play with if I went down a romantic route, it’s not what I have had in mind and is not my main focus but it’s a possibility to look into in the future.
I believe these are incredibly beautiful pieces, minimalist art like this is my absolute favourite. I love the energy, expression and fluidity that is achievable in this style and in the case of iconic characters the simplicity is very appealing to me on a sensory level. As much as I love this I don’t think I could make it work for Okko & Eartha. However on side projects (such as posters/postcards/t-shirts/tote bags/coasters etc.) it would be a lovely idea to use.
So these are the type of styles I like, I am going to take what I like about them and incorporate them into my own style 🙂