Book of Portraits Part 14: The Romanovs V

The latest set of Romanov drawings, like the previous, features a mixture of ink and pencil sketches and once again I think the combination of the two works best out of all these images. The top two images are my favourite of the set and this is the first time I’ve included any sort of scenery or objects within these portrait drawings and I’m happy with the result.

I also like the image above of Alexei with a drum, particularly the more expressive and quick mark making, the same can be said for the drawing of Nicholas and Alexei together. However the seperate portraits of them I’m not too happy with, particularly the on of Nicholas as I think the proportions are incorrect.


Alice Development Part 5

I’ve been continuing to compose my images for the Alice project and have drawn a number of thumbnails so that I can plan out what goes where in what image. I have taken inspiration from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and my research into the Romanov family and the Russian Revolution in order to draw these compositions and the final result will hopefully be a reflection upon both of these subjects. Some of the images are more relevant to Alice, such as Alice’s rapid growing, while others like the Faberge egg and the house surrounded by soldiers are more applicable to the Romanovs. Despite this, I do think that overall they are all very relevant to all that I have been researching and this is once of the main aims of the project.

I’ve also included other images I have worked very quickly on as they also show the development of my composition ideas as well as the development of my character studies. As well as this, below are very rough composition ideas which I cam up with and am currently in the middle of developing for my final illustrations.

Composition Ideas

Book of Portraits Part 13: The Romanovs IV

Another set of Romanov drawings including images of Olga, Tatiana, Alexandra and Alexei, Rasptuin and Nicholas. As with the previous post, I think the combination of ink with pencil has worked very well and I really love the final outcome of the two images above. The watered down ink really helps to illustrated movement within the clothing and this is a technique I am using for my Alice project and the depiction of my verision of the Alice character.

As well as the illustrations above, I have been continuing to draw with a blue pencil and I think that these two images are succesful and I am happy with them. Unfortunately, I’m not that happy with the regular pencil sketch below or the ink drawing I attempted of Alexei, however it’s all just a part of my continuing development and it just displays things that I need to develop more if I want to improve them for the future.

Alice Development Part 4

While researching the Ronmanovs and Russia I came across an image of a family sitting around a table outside and having tea which immediately reminded me of the Hatter and March Hare’s tea party from Alice. In the centre of the table was a Russian samovar which is used to boil the water and the look rather unusual and decoartive at the same time and so I thought it would be a good idea to include one in my illustration of the mad tea party. Above are a few sketches I did of samovars in order to get an idea of the kind of image I would want to use.

After sketching the characters of Alice I found characterising the mock turtle and gryphon very difficult as I did not want to simply replicate the look of them from the original illustrations. I eventually decided to use some of the reseach I had done on the Romanovs to help me and ended up basing the characters on people who were involved in the lives of the Romanov children, one of their tutors Pierre Gilliard and the sailors from the Imperial yacht the Standart with whom the children were friendly. I thought this would fit nicely in my illustration as the scene takes place by the sea and a lot of lessons are depicted.

Finally, I have been playing around with the idea of using Russian symbols and imagery to help emphasise the setting and meaning behind my project, one example being the use of Faberge Eggs. I came up with the idea of Alice being trapped within a Faberge egg and thus representing Imperial Russia and the confinement of the Romanov children in their palace; a gilded cage. I’ve also recrated the Romanov double headed eagle crest with a Wonderlan spin, using a flamingo and crowned heart in order to emphasise this.

Book of Portraits Part 12: The Romanovs III

This is a continuation of the Romanov portraits I have been working on and again I have been using similar materials and also combining them. I really like the combination of the ink and the pencil and think that this is workign the best out of all the portraits that I have ben working on. The contrast between the detial of the pencil and the bleeding of the ink used for clothes is quite striking in my opioion and I enjoy working in this way. The set includes illustrations of the Tsar’s two middle daughters Tatiana and Maria, a group image of all the sisters, the Tsar’s son Alexei and finally the infamous Grigori Rasptuin who played a big role in the life of the family.

As well as these images I have also continued working with blue pencil as well as regular pencil. I don;t like these images as much but I did find them more difficult to draw and for the group images I think I would need to work bigger in order to acheieve the desired result. I do however quite like the quick and rough pencil sketches below and also enjoy working rather quickly with the pencil and so this is something I could develop more.

Easter Sketches

Here are a few sketches I worked quickly while I was home during the Easter holidays. They included sketches of the amazing view from my bedroom window and my trip to Dan yr Ogof caves and I worked with graphite, coloured pencils and watercolour. I would really like to try working with more landscapes, especially wih colour as I think there are always surprising colours in the landscape and they make interesting imagery.

Book of Portraits Part 11: The Romanovs II

I’ve been continuing to research and draw the Romanov family as part of the development for my Alice project and here is the first set that I did during the Easter break. Most of the images have been drawn from the various books I have been reading as part of my research and this set includes images of Nicholas II, his wife Alexandra and eldest and youngest daughters Olga and Anastasia.

With the portraits I have been using different materials as seen in the images, from graphite or brown pencils to a combination of pencil and ink. I really like how most of these portraits are turning out and I’m particularly fond of the one of Olga and the one of Nicholas in 1917. There will be more of these portraits to come featuring other members of the family.

Book of Portraits Part 10: Family Members I

As well as continuing my projects, I have carried on drawing in my portrait book as it is something i really enjoyed doing and I think it helps greatly with the development of my drawing skill. This time I decided to focus on old family photographs starting with an image of my grandparents wedding day which is a penicl drawing mixed with quink ink. I have also drawn some other family memembers however I do not know who they are so I think I would have to do some more digging and questioning to find out who they are. I would also like to continue drawing more family members when I have more time as i find the old photographs very interesting to look at and draw.

Alice Character Sketches

In order to bring more life to my characters, I have been continuing to just sketch them out so that I can capture them completely and not struggle to draw the for my final illustrations. All of these images are rough and showcase quick sketches I did in order to achieve this before I moved on to composing my illustrations.

As I’ve continued my research into the Russian Revolution and the Romanov family I have continued to make connections between them and Alice in order to tell the story, most notably with the characters. The Hatter for example is inspired by Rasputin as discussed previously, but I have also now developed the character of the March Hare and have decided to portray my version of the character as a representation of Prince Felix Yuspaov who was involved in the assassination of Rasputin. Their tea party is also inspired by the events of Rasputin’s murder and this is something that I will hunt at in my depiction of that scene as well as the reputation of Rasptuin with the nobility.

I have also been questioning whether or not to have the caterpillar inspired by Lenin. I made this connection because of the research I have done into the symbolism of Alice and the phallic shape of the caterpillar representing a sexual threat. I thought that this threat could be more representational of the doom surrounding the lives of the Romanovs and the questioning of “who are you” representing the question of what side Alice is on, the monarchists or revolutionaries.

The Duchess also gives the impressiong of a predatory sexual threat and so I decided to base her on the nobility at the time leading up to the revolution who were hoping to make marriage alliances with the Romanov duaghters, thus reflecting greed which I thought would be suitable to the advances of the Duchess. Orignally I did not want to base the King and Queen of Hearts on Nicholas and Alexandra, however I came to the conclusion of them being a characterization of the view the public had of the royal couple, particularly when Alexandra was thought to be domineering over her husband. Finally, the White Rabbit I really stuggled to characterize  but I thought he could be an embodiment of traiditonal Russia, or just Russia itself as the Romanov girls were very naive about the world and did not know much about life outside their palace and their curiosity can therefore be reflected within Alice’s when she follows the rabbit down the rabbit hole.

Finding Anastasia

After watching Russia’s Lost Princesses, I wanted to explore more documentaries on the Romanovs for my research and came across a National Geographic one titled Finding Anastasia ON YouTube. The documentary followed a group of scientists as they worked towards the DNA testing of two Romanov remains which had been missing until 2007. Due to the remains being missing for nearly a century, there was a lot of confusion with what actually happened the night of the Romanov’s murders and there has been speculation about a survivor throughout the 20th century, most notable with Anastasia who became a myth or legend due to the speculation.

Making more connections between the Romanovs and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, I began to think of Alice and Anastasia as similar in some ways in that they both had a big part on popular culture and fiction. Alice is a household name and iconic figure and Anastasia arguably became something similar due to the constant rumours of her survival as well as famous imposters who claimed to be her. Despite the rumours, all of the Romanovs have been accounted for and are now martyrs after being canonized. Like the previous documentary, I wrote notes as well as drew a few quick rough images based on images from the documentary, though not as much as last time and I have included them in this post.