sigune: (War in Gaul)
I finally got to Tongeren a week later than originally planned. On the day we were set to go, there was such heavy snowfall that we were forced to stay at home, a rather unusual situation for this part of the world. Anyhow - I got there eventually.

I took my camera with me in order to take photos that I can use as reference material for my comic(s). Those of you who are interested can find a selection below. I'm sorry to say that the quality isn't always good. It was dark in the exhibition hall and most objects were set in glass cases in which the camera's flash light would reflect. Because I tried not to use my flash light, a lot of my pictures predicatbly turned out blurry. But I do have a few good ones :).


For an exhibition that carries his name, the display was very light on Ambiorix. Of course that is not so odd: all we know about the man is contained in a few paragraphs of Caesar's De Bello Gallico. Some historians even dispute the fact that he existed at all. So basically the Gallo-Romeins Museum's staff set up an exhibition about the Celts with a focus on the Low Countries and used Ambiorix's name as a kind of lure for the wider public.

Did I, as a long-time Celtophile, learn anything new? Weeelll... Not much. But was it worth my while? Absolutely! The objects on display were most interesting, and there were rather many I had never seen before. By contrast, the audio guide told me very little. There were plenty of things which I would have liked to have seen/heard explained or detailed, but the text was purely "Celts for Beginners". And if you didn't get an audio guide, you barely knew what you were looking at. I wish I'd had an archaeologist handy :/.

Anyway: on to the picspam.

Celtic Picspam )
sigune: (Young Severus)
I have been thinking for a while that one way to make my drawings look less static might be to ink them with brushes instead of with my Staedtler pens. With the pens I can vary the lines by adding pressure, but only a bit; if a line is thin in one place and thick in another, it's usually because I have gone over the line several times until I think it is thick enough in the place where I want it to be so. Of course such a process hardly ever produces swishy lines. I don't swish: I sculpt! On the other hand, I have a very good reason for having started to work with Staedtler pens: they just give me a lot of control. And when it comes to pictures, I am a total control freak.

Brushes = scary. I have an intense admiration for people who manage to get brushes to behave. [ profile] pojypojy is one of those miracle-workers, and Cabepfir is another. I would be inclined to think it's a particularly Italian skill :P, but Béatrice Tillier, who created the wonderful watercolours of Le bois des vierges, is clearly adept at it too.

I wanted to have a try myself (without the hope of ever reaching the high standards mentioned above, *sigh*), with the colour version of my Aching Heart Snape picture. But before I started to ink that, I thought it prudent to do a try-out. The try-out is what you find below.

Brushed inks )
sigune: (War in Gaul)
I don't seem to do anything else than to keep repeating that I'm not dead and haven't abandoned LJ or fandom... It's just that work is killing me, so to speak. The company hired me because they really, really, really needed someone to help them out, so I find myself doing hours and hours of (utterly uncompensated, haha) overtime. And if perchance I manage to get to the station in time for a comparatively early train, you can bet the stupid thing is delayed by at least a quarter of an hour! Read more... )

Anyway - during weekends I try to make the most of the time I have left after doing all the necessary things (like shopping for supplies and necessities) that I don't get the occasion to do on weekdays. Mostly I end up painting and drawing. I have done some War in Gaul. There are also two new Snape pictures in the works, and I am still attempting to adapt (and post in a few archives) my now-AU Snape-and-family-in-Germany epic. The beginning of the story takes some effort to put right; the middle is mostly fine; and the end requires some juggling too. But I am determined to get it done :). I have got to chapter two so far *g*. When I have a few more chapters and can promise a more or less steady posting rhythm, I will bringing them out.

Last weekend I had great fun messing around with my watercolours. I have rather come to adore them, even if the results don't always live up to my enthusiasm :P. It suddenly occurred to me that I have bought two Moleskine watercolour notebooks, but that I have been nervous about using them. It's always like that with me: I am addicted to notebooks, but somehow I have the idiotic notion that I shouldn't use them unless I am going to produce a masterpiece. But why on earth shouldn't I use them to doodle and experiment? *shakes head at self* At least it would mean I have my pictures (good and bad ones alike) together in bundles instead of on loose bits of paper that lie around or get lost and/or damaged. So I gathered my courage and started painting furiously. The six little pictures/portraits that resulted are of various quality and can be found below.

Ambiorix's four sisters and best friend )
sigune: (Luna)
Did I mention that I spent the Easter weekend with Cecilia/cabepfir? ;-)

...I did.

Anyway: when Cecilia visited the Sleeper's Den, she was kind enough to try and teach the Den's inhabitant a thing or two about watercolour, one of the media she handles really well. I was dying to pick up a few tips, anything that could help me improve, and, well, I did :-). Cecilia had to teach me the basic-est of basics, and I'm immensely happy that she had the patience to do so.

Now, I didn't actually paint anything while she was here. I did start a picture, but I just didn't get very far on account of the tedious fact that watercolour takes so much time to dry, and we had started so late :P. The result was that I had to try and practice what I had seen and heard when I was on my own again. I was a bit nervous about that, and I actually left the picture to lie around until last weekend. But once I had started painting, I couldn't stop anymore - it was such fun! - and I produced no less than three pictures (all of which I had admittedly set up in advance). Here they are.

Photobucket Ambiorix in the Woods (G)

Photobucket Brynhild (G)

Photobucket The Lady under the Cherry Tree (G)

Ambiorix in the Woods )

Brynhild )

The Lady under the Cherry Tree )
sigune: (War in Gaul)
...Okay, maybe they are not that exciting to you, but they certainly are to me :D!

Today the blogger formerly known as [ profile] bettyboop_comic and his dazzling Elfie came over for coffee and cake, and apart from a pile of yummy comics (Courtney Crumrin Tales! Scott Pilgrim! Castle Waiting! Wonderland!) he also brought me a picture. Actually, it was my own picture - but a friend of his (I don't even know the bloke's name - Nout?! What's his name? Linkie to blog?) had been playing around with it - and given it digital colouring. Have a look!

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Comm Coloured )

As you can see in the next picture, I am still more comfortable with monochrome myself... This is watercolour paint on sketchbook paper that is actually a little too light for it :-). Anyway, if it is exciting, it is not so because it is particularly brilliant, but because it is my first picture of a War in Gaul character that is not a development sketch or a kind of study, but a pure picture picture that is not meant to be anything but pretty. It's a shy start, but it is a start at least.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
The Bleak Winter )
sigune: (Brynhild grisaille)
Tomorrow I am leaving on holiday, and I will be gone for the rest of the week, so for once I am making a second post on the same day :-)...

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Rigantona Dressing / Vercingetorix )
sigune: (War in Gaul)
When I started to work on my Snape comic, the style came first and the scenario came later. I knew how I was going to approach the subject in terms of graphics, and basically took that as a start. The art was going to be in black and white and have a lot of cross-hatching; everything else simply followed from there. - Okay, maybe that is simplifying things a little ;-), but it is a fact that I set off in earnest once I had made this one large drawing that seemed to summarise the story I wanted to tell. You could say that the whole comic was built around that picture.

For War in Gaul, I haven't got such a picture (- yet?). I haven't drawn anything so far of which I think: this captures the spirit of the story I want to tell. I haven't got anything that serves as a guideline. It is possible that it is still too early, that the idea is too fresh and that I haven't engaged sufficiently deeply with the story so far. After all, my Snape comic and stand-alone Snape pictures deal with one character only - and a character on whom I have been very focussed for years now. I know him inside and out. Moreover, the style that you have come to know so well is a direct result of my engagement with Snape: I didn't use any black at all until I started to draw him - and I had to learn about using black before I could draw him in a way that pleased me.

War in Gaul requires colour: the Celts were a colourful people, so much so that the Greeks and Romans felt obliged to report on the many and bright colours of their clothing. Unfortunately I am bad at colour. I have to learn about it, find my style, just as I had to find my style for Snape. This time the task is harder, because - ach, my colouring skillz, they make me weep ;_;. My blacks were never that bad. This is going to take time.

Below are a few samples of styles I tried out. None are great. Suggestions and opinions are very welcome.

Pictures... )


Tuesday, 20 November 2007 03:30 pm
sigune: (Jeanne Kefer)
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

I have been updating my other Sleeper's Den with new pictures of my Gallic War comics project, but since that blog seems to remain a well-kept secret and I would really love to hear people's thoughts on what I'm doing, I thought I would show a few things here too.

Costume design, stage one )

War in Gaul: the cast

Wednesday, 23 May 2007 11:39 pm
sigune: (Tree)
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You’d think that after having started and abandoned several megalomaniac comics projects, I’d have learned to keep things manageable by downsizing the scope and number of characters of the stories I start, but no. I’m incorrigible. Whether War in Gaul has a greater chance of ever going somewhere than my previous enterprises, I don’t know, but once again I’m starting big. If I want to present my story’s main characters to you, I have to tell you about no less than five people. …Yes, I know. But I may still change my mind ;P.

Anyway – here goes, with plenty of pictures (I have kept them small; most can be clicked for larger versions).

Ambiorix, the Trickster )
Vercingetorix, the Tyrant )
Commios, the Traitor )
Women! )


Tuesday, 15 May 2007 02:51 pm
sigune: (Blue Acanthus)
Look, I've drawn Celtic helmets! :D

Yes, I am taking my new project very seriously (nil novum sub sole, eh? ;P) - I am copying ancient artifacts in order to get a feel for the design side of the world of War in Gaul. The thing is, if I am going to make a comic of this story rather than to tell it in novel form, I have to exploit the visual side of things, and remedy that which annoys me so terribly in most visual renditions of the Celts in comics and films: the almost total neglect of their concern for appearance. I have to try and do justice to their fine workmanship - the beautifully decorated weapons, the fine fabrics, the colours, the refined jewellery, the elaborate hairstyles. It's going to take a lot of exercise!

Read more... )

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(click for larger images)

The bronze helmet on the left was found in northern Italy; it dates back to the third century BC. The thingy on the top used to have a crest attached to it. All other helmets are from the first century BC, which is the epoch in which my story takes place. By that time, helmet-makers had apparently dispensed with crests and the smooth bowler hat-style was all the rage. The helmets of Roman legionaries were inspired on this type.

The large helmet with the bird decoration on the cheek pieces was found in former Yugoslavia. I'm very fond of it, and it's the only one for which I have found a definite owner in the story: on account of the bird, I'm giving it to Catuvolcos. Catu-volcos apparently translates as battle-falcon, and though the bird on the helmet is most obviously not a falcon, I think it sort of fitting :-).

A note on the medium:
I used graphite and colour pencil, and made the drawings in my brandnew Moleskine reporter notebook. The paper is very smooth and light, and I believe it is to this that I owe my pleasing results with the colour. I tend to be not very accomplished working with colour pencils, but on this paper they glide and blend so nicely; it makes the notebook a good buy :D.

(images cross-posted to [ profile] moleskine_users)
sigune: (Default)
I have a recurring obsession with the war in Gaul, conducted by Gaius Julius Caesar between 58 and 51 BC. This is slightly strange in view of my pretty anti-violent, anti-military and mostly un-bloodthirsty nature, but there you go. These days I'm contemplating a comic - a fairly impossible project of which I will be posting the first sketches soon. Meanwhile, I am sharing a few musings in the shape of a sort of essay/column/meta thingy :-).

War in Gaul, and Why Belgium is called Belgium )


sigune: (Default)

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