Historical Disney Portraits: Cinderella

Historical Disney Portraits: Snow White

I’ve been wanting to drawing more historically accurate versions of Disney characters for ages and have seen so many artists do amazing takes on this, the first that comes to mind is Claire Hummel.
I wanted to focus on artwork from around the time that these Disney movies are set and then create artwork based on the art of the time. Even though I’m calling them historically accurate, I’ve still taken liberties with the accuracy myself and kept some of the more fantasy elements to the look of the character.
I had a pretty good idea of the setting for Disney’s Snow White, early to mid 1500s Germany, most likely Bavaria. I did do some research into artwork around that time looking mainly at the works of Lucas Cranach the Elder for inspiration. 
‘The Disney Princess: A Celebration of Art and Creativity’ by Charles Solomon has been a great reference guide for this as well as the videos by @gremlita and @karolinazebrowskax on YouTube also helped me loads with the research. 
I’m currently working on two more characters and am hoping to do a lot more. 

28, a Self Portrait

Even though I’ve been drawing quite a bit on Procreate, I haven’t drawn or painted traditionally in ages. I’ve wanted to do a self portrait for a while and decided to work on one to help kick start some traditional painting again. I started this last month, the day before my birthday and I thought it was a fitting time for a self portrait.
I’ve been looking at a lot of medieval and Renaissance portraits as part of a personal project I’ve been working on and this was my starting point for the portrait. I was unsure of what to do in the background so started some plant pattern work, not sure if I went too overboard but I quite like the contrast of the plant work against the face.
I don’t really know if I’ve captured my likeness well, I look very moody in this but that’s quite reminiscent of those medieval and Renaissance portraits.
I’d like to work on another self portrait, possibly a profile one soon!

Sister Undril

Something which I’ve been working on for a few weeks now, a commission for a friend. It was inspired by Catherine of Aragon from the tv show ‘The Spanish Princess’. My friend is using it as a basis for they]re own fictional character called ‘Sister Undril’. Initially a tricky commission, I soon got used to drawing the armour and particularly loved how the colours turned out. The baby bump took me awhile to get right though!

Rachel Zegler as Snow White

A quick drawing of Rachel Zegler as Snow White who has recently been cast in the upcoming Disney live action film. The original Disney animated film has been a favourite of mine since I was a kid and so I really can’t wait to see what they do with a live action remake!
I used the paintings of Cranach for reference which seems to be the go to for a historical version of Snow White. I’ve wanted to do historical versions of Disney characters for a long time as I’ve seen some many great artists do it. Maybe one day!

TED Talk: The Roots of Plant Intelligence by Stefano Mancuso (2014)

A project I completed as part of my university illustration course involved chasing a TED talk to illustrate through a series of illustrations. After watching a variety of different TED talks I chose to focus on Stefano Mancuso’s ‘The Roots of Plant Intelligence’. I chose this TED Talk for my project because I found they way Stefano Mancuso talked about plants very interesting, especially when he gave life to them and described them as almost having a mind of their own and this is a idea I thought could translate well into illustration.

Here are some of the key ideas and themes I took from the talk:
– the underestimation of plants by humans
– the comparison between plants and animals
– the mention of Noah sheltering animals on the ark, but not any plants
– the sophisticated senses of plants compared to animals
– the complex behaviour of plants
– the fact the the blue whale is thought to be the largest living creature on earth when there are trees much, much larger
– plants being considered low level organisms
– the movement of plants, e.g. growing,finding sunlight, flowering
– plants communicating with each other
– plants tricking insects and animals to distribute pollen
– the roots of the plants and the comparison between them and the brain

All of the points above are issues and ideas that I intended to explore my final illustrations for the project. I originally began my project by working traditionally, using mainly ink and a drawing pen but later on moved to colouring them digitally.

After my first critique for the project I started to colour my images, experimenting with different ways of applying colour to the images as suggested in the critique. I also was told that to re-think the idea of using the imagery of a brain in the images and to look into the shapes and patterns of plant roots compared to the shapes and patterns of brains and neurons. As well as this, I was given the idea to incorporate themes of nature verses man made, in relation to the idea of the underestimation of plants by humans, in the use of archways in the illustrations. I could do this by having the plants breaking out of and taking over the man made arches. As for the colouring of the images, I experimented with using a mix of gouache, ink and watercolour as well as gold ink for the archways. The painting process was taking a very long time to finish, mainly because there were quite large images, and eventually I began to run out of time and had to think of a different way to colour them.

I eventually ran out of time with this project and the day before the deadline I had to re-draw some images, scan all of them, clean them up on Photoshop and the digitally colour them. It was a very long day but was very rewarding as I finished all of the images and I was extremely pleased that I managed to meet the deadline. Also, I believe that I learned a lot about meeting deadlines in the future and having to change a project slightly at the last minute. Now that I managed to finish all of these in that one day, I know that I could get a lot done in one day if I set my mind to it
I am extremely pleased with these final images, even though I was hesitant about working digitally at first, but the block colours worked extremely well compared to my original paintings.

Heart of Darkness, Final Images (2014)

These are the final three illustrations that I submitted to the Folio Society Heart of Darkness competition. I was pleased with the final three illustrations mainly because of  I think that the composition and colour of each worked very well and I like the consistency of them. I think that these images also work a lot better than my initial image ideas, and it is very interesting looking back on how my work has developed through this project. For the binding, I just cropped one of my development images and used that instead of any of my previous book binding images and believe it works a lot better and is closer to what I initially wanted to do for the binding.

I still have these illustrations at home, they’re very big, maybe some of the biggest drawings/paintings I’ve ever done! I never got the chance to get decent scans of them, it’s such a pain piecing together two scanned images to create one big one.

I absolutely loved working with quink ink and bleach during these projects, I think it just creates an interesting look and contrast in the work. I really don’t use it as much as I used to, but would love to get back into it.

Heart of Darkness, Research and Development (2014)

In 2014 I illustrated scenes from ‘Heart of Darkness’ by Joseph Conrad for the Folio Society competition that year. It’s actually the only time I’ve entered the competition, I’d like to again at some point but I’ve just been waiting for the right book for me to be announced for the competition.

These are development images I created inspired by the research I did on the Bapende and Mangbetu  people, which I then used as a basis for the look of the native people in Heart of Darkness. The images of the Mangbetu women helped me to develop the characterisation of Kurtz’s African mistress, particularly the description of her helmet shaped hair, which the Mangbetu women have due to their elongated heads. The Bapende people served as an inspiration for the male natives because of their interesting body paint patterns and masks which I recreated using bleach. I also created some rough thumbnails based on my previous images as well as creating new compositions and began to play around with placing the characters in the jungle scenery as well as creating the light and atmosphere with the bleach and ink.

These are two of my earlier illustrations which I painted as part of my development for the project. My lecturer encouraged me to study other paintings to help create my compositions and figure so I looked at a lot of Pre-Raphaelite paintings for inspiration as well as Victorian photographs for the second image. I want to work bigger in the future for this project so that I can have more detail in the image and be able to capture that detail in scaled down, scanned versions of the final images. Also, for the competition, we can’t illustrate a scene from the last ten pages of the book so I won’t be able to submit an illustration for the scene with Marlow and Kurtz’s intended, which is a shame because it is a scene that stood out to my since the first reading of the book.