June’s figurative illustration workshop was dedicated to that mythological creature, the Fawn. Our model was Brittany (who can also be found in earlier posts on this blog as the Toy Hunter, also featured in my header). Someone had brought in some music that sounded like a movie soundtrack… perhaps from “The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe” which featured a fawn character. Whatever it was, the early pieces were fast paced and action filled, which were kind of freaking me out and made me feel agitated and rushed, amplifying the need for haste since we did a bunch of 30 second poses (we normally warm up with 60 second poses). Luckily, I had my Ipod with me, and switched over to that pinnacle of progressive/art rock, Close to the Edge by Yes.
For those of you unfortunate enough to be unfamiliar with this album, all I can say is that most fans of prog rock (Yes, Pink Floyd, early Genesis, King Crimson, Jethro Tull, Rush, Emerson,Lake and Palmer, Moody Blues, etc) consider this to be what Beethoven’s 9th is to classical music. If ever a piece of rock music could make you understand what it would be like to have your consciousness pulled from your body, expanded enough to take in a galaxy’s worth of understanding, and then hurled into the depths of the universe, this is it. It is LSD for the ears.
Anyways, I settled in, and the pencil danced. Or maybe it was the wobbly “table” I was using. There are no tables around, just easels and benches, and a couple of low cushioned chairs. I grabbed the best chair I could find, then flipped one of the benches onto its side to use one of the legs as a desk (the benches are 2×10’s slapped together in a sort of Stonehenge shape). It worked out. I was pretty happy with the drawings. Her face is still a challenge for me, she does not have “flat” or dime-a-dozen features, so that did not come out a close to perfect as I’d like, but everything else was good for me… I stayed close to correct proportions, shading, and did not have to erase or rough sketch… the first lines were coming out as I wanted them to.
On a side note, I had done a little homework prior to the session, quickly looking up some pictures of goats (skeletal and muscular systems) to hopefully get the legs close to correct. I wound up with a couple of sketches of what I thought would be a good balance of human and goat hybrid skeleton and muscles. Sometimes in films you see they just cut the two species in half and slap them together, and to me it looks wrong. A four legged animal has rear legs that sort of thrust forward, so when you set an upright torso onto legs designed for a horizontal torso, the end result looks off balanced, as if the animal is ready to fall over. Brittany actually brought her big dog as a bonus model, so we could use her legs as a reference… but the dog hilariously did not want to cooperate, instead laying down and refusing to sit up, except for the occasions she decided to walk over to the few artists who sat on the floor to sketch, and stuck her muzzle in people’s faces or neck to get a sniff and leave behind a little drool, your standard dog “hello”.
If I had to nitpick about something (and people who know me know I am fond of doing so) it would be the costume had the wrong horns. The horns we had were ram horns, which just tie around your chin, so not only are they the wrong sex and species, they do not even sit on the top of the head. How could you ram anything with the horns sitting like sideburns- you would bust your face! In my studies I had also found out that male and female goats have slightly different horn shapes, thee females have a more slender base, the roots of each horn are closer set, and the horns are straighter, with the curve happening towards the end.
At the end of the day, I had some nice drawings, and the new found ability to distinguish between a boy and girl goat without looking between its’ legs.