Studio Monday Report #1: The Cave of Charon

Photoshop sketch of what the final set may look like.

The first Studio Monday was a huge success.

My initial idea was to create time and space to join creative forces, and it seems that this works perfectly. On Monday I had two guests, one of them wanted to test some materials for illustrating a children’s book, and the other one wanted to do an animation. We finished around 11 p.m. – tired but satisfied.

Even though I helped the others to get started and during their process, I had enough time to work on the cave setting. This is one of four sets I’ll need for my Orpheus film project, and it’s the last set that I have to build in 3D (the Underworld itself is going to be made of silhouette shapes).

I built the walls from cardboard and foam board, both some of my favorite materials. I then modeled the rocks from paper, and covered them with paper mâché. I completed those steps on Monday evening, and coated everything in thin layer of translucent white acrylics.

Adding Colors

Next I started to paint the set, and I’d like to show you how I developed the floor (I use the same technique in some of my drawings as well), and this is maybe something really jessica-esque:

Step 1.

After the first thin layer of white acrylics I drew several spirals with colored pencils to the ground. I used different colors and tried to achieve a dense structure.

Step 2.

My color scheme for the cave is turquoise, violet, grey and black. I used a lot of violet pencils for the spirals, and next I added a thin layer of cyan colored watercolors.

Step 3.

To reduce the intensity of the colors again, I covered the floor in another thins layer of white acrylics.

Step 4.

While the floor wass drying, I dyed the rocks and part of the background with violet watercolors.

Step 5.

Back to the floor: this time another layer of spirals, but here I drew the spirals with copic markers, since those are really bright colored, and won’t be covered perfectly by other colors.

Step 6.

In step 6 I added outlines and dust of pastels to the background to get some more depth.

Step 7.

Finally I added some more outlines, graphical shadows and the black and white tiling with deep black ink.

Painting the set took me about four hours. – I like this way of layering different types of materials, because it creates a dense atmosphere, which is what I’m often after. The cave setting is a bit more flashy than the cemetery or the house since this location is the transit zone between the land of living and the land of the dead.

This set still misses a few details yet:

  • the landing
  • the boat of Charon the ferryman
  • the River Styx and
  • the background that can be seen through the apertures.

I really want to finish the set this until the end of march, but I guess this could be possible if I’l be able to keep my current pace and motivation.

Wish me luck or join me next Moday!

09. March 2011 by Jessica
Categories: Stuff | Tags: , | 4 comments

Comments (4)

  1. fantastic, Jessica! Congratulations! Both on the open studio day and the set progress! It’s looking amazing. My favorite aspect of it is how much dimension you are achieving with the cave openings and then the backgrounds behind them! Really gives a sense of place.

  2. Shelley, hi!
    This is exactly what I think. I want to give an impression of depth with this setting, and I think it works great. I’m quite curious about how I get the transition done from the 3d setting to the silhouette part, but I’m quite optimistic that I’ll find a way.

  3. Yeah – busy week so far, heh? :)
    Looks amazing! Really! I especially like the contours in the background.

  4. Nils, thank you! It’s been an amazing day with you! Wait until the whole set is finshed!