Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Moonstone

The Moonstone is the first title from the upcoming Black Coffee With Some Sugar series. Like all the other "coffee" titles, it's based on a sketch drawn from the actual coffee grounds, but it's been modified more heavily than I usually do -- mainly because it features a live model, which is quite rare for the Black Coffee series.

I intended to use a live model originally, which is clearly noted in the draft: "Draw Tanya from life," indicates the Russian inscription. Tanya is the name of my ex-wife, which means the draft has been made somewhere between 1997-1999, when I was married. Naturally, drawing my happily re-married ex-wife from life, all the more topless, as required by the draft, was not an option anymore. But luckily, I had no need for such drastic measures -- earlier this year, in a traditional photo-session with Diana, among other things, we made some photos especially for this project, and I had everything I needed to begin the work.

As you can see, there are significant differences between the original draft and the final layout of The Moonstone. Originally, the torso was meant to be turned rather forcibly, breaking the laws of anatomy, to bring a sense of tension. In the "final product" this approach has been discarded in favor of a more realistic and relaxed representation. The basic concept has been maintained, but the factor of a live model made its inevitable corrections.

Originally, the skirt was meant to be pitch-black, to match Tanya's dark hair, so I followed that scheme when I started to distribute the basic colors and shades -- you can see that the skirt is black at this stage of work. But in the process it became clear, that such a scheme didn't look too good with Diana's amber hair, so I needed to revise my decision. As a result, the skirt turned dark-brown, which, in fact, proved to be a turning point on a much larger scale than I could have imagined: the overall "sepia" feel, established by this new color scheme, made The Moonstone so distinguished from the other Black Coffee titles, that I decided to start a whole new series, as described in my previous blog post.

At this stage, I still had no clue on what to do with the background. The original draft was rather vague in this aspect, so I had to improvise. Thus, the idea of the "shadow throne" was born: a grotesque, distorted shadow, forming sort of a backrest, combined with a stump-like base in order to imitate a throne. The picture started to develop its final shape and it was time for the last stage, when ball-point pens enter the show. Only a couple of days and it would have been finished, but that's when I stumbled upon the unforeseen circumstances -- I caught a nasty flu, which rendered me unable to work for almost two weeks.

When I started to come back to my senses, I made a little lyrical digression in the form of Her Childish Smile, just to get back into shape. After that I continued the work and finished The Moonstone as intended.


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