Saturday, December 18, 2021

My Xanthian, with movies


Now that the Xanthian Coloring Contest entries are out in public view (they're on Studio Minkiewicz LLC's FaceBook page under Photos), I consider it high time to show mine in a much better format:  MOVIES!!!!

The Contest's rules for commenting on your entry were "two to three brief sentences."   This wasn't much obeyed.  I forced myself to boil my comments down to the essence -- obedient! -- but compression generates heat, and so, here in this blog, everything will come foaming out.  

The contest was announced November 1 and registration closed on the 5th.   I entered and was given access to the drawing on November 2nd.  I chose hand-drawn (instead of digital) and was obscurely pleased to see the hand-drawn entries outnumbered the digitals by two to one (78:35).  I started quite faithful to my packet of colored pencils.  By the 7th I had done a first pass.  However, within 24 hours, the prism tape had moved in and taken over, as neat a conquest as ever I've seen.

I am the fortunate owner of a Hillingar, and when this contest was announced, I originally saw it as a chance to practice for him.  My Muse had come up with the most astoundingly audacious idea for that unicorn -- a Dragon in Green and Gold -- which I can only attribute to looking at Evelyn Munday's FB feed, combined with having Carousel dreams for years.  But however I looked, I couldn't find a dragon I really liked in those colors.

This shot (below), taken on the 15th, and the above (16th) are the only ones documenting the work in progress.  Here, as nowhere else, you can see the glint of the gold gel pen in the edges of the forefeet, tail and ears.  Later on this detail would be swallowed up.

Xanthian has two sets of wings, and I wanted to make them notably different.  I started out pairing the lesser wing with the cheek (gill?) wing.  It must have been here that the prism tape made its appearance, with the dark green spines.  The gold stuff I had lying around for Parade set insets.  It had been rather unsatisfactory.  But by gar it was perfect now!  I had a small quantity of a very strongly pearlescent/opalescent tape, and that just seemed perfect for the horn, the best and most powerful part. 

With these successes the prism tape ran away with me.  Xanthian has a somewhat confusing rear end, a natural result of depicting a 3D spiral in 2D.  I wanted to try and clarify this area by making the spine dark and the underneath light: to show the curl.  Such coloring is what deep sea creatures have, anyway!  The place on the withers, where the wings transition to the neck, was my least happy.  Prism tape does not "shade-into" very well.

 All the rest of these pictures were taken the 25th, the day of finish for me.  The early ones show I hadn't gotten around to coloring in the webs of the belly fringe, nor to doing the background.  It was only well along that I decided to use pearl prism tape for the belly, the closest I had to white.  Its rainbow effect just made me faint:  "my heart is stoln."

I am the sort of person who saves the least little bit of prism tape, this sparkly plastic thin film used, in the wider world, to make fishing lures.  The process of tracing and cutting created, you may imagine, dozens of tiny snippets.  I stuck a few onto his scales and then got the idea that some could be thrown off by the horn.

The process used to create this entry was entirely by hand.  Prism tape comes with its own backing paper:  "peel-and-stick."  I first traced each part-of-a-shape with tracing paper and pencil.  (I had to break Xanthian's parts down to fit within the 4" x 1" tape pieces, saving as much tape as possible in the process.)  Next I inverted the paper over the back of the tape and went over the lines with a blunt point, usually the letter opener (high tech here).  This transferred a dim print, whereupon I cut out the tape and its paper with my tiny scissors.  Miraculously right-side-to, each shape was peeled and stuck down, and trimmed if necessary. 

I had to take some small liberties with the outlines due to the thicknesses involved.  The degree of transfer error was just barely acceptable.  I do not know if my sheets of prism tape are replaceable.  But I could hardly find a better home for them than this.

The work generated a huge pile of paper scraps as well as tiny bits of prism tape.  I reused some of the tracing paper -- a sign of obsessive recycling.

(See the letter opener... it has a bullet casing for a handle.)

My finished entry photo was chosen for the look in his eye and the coloring of the belly fringe.  Here's my text:  "Colored pencil, gold gel pen, prism tape (holographic laserflash film) of various colors (belly different from horn), textured gold tape.  My Muse for Hillingar said: Dragon in Green & Gold;  I saw this contest as a chance to practice.  Everything was traced and cut by hand; I'm frustrated that a camera cannot truly capture it.  I saw him as a deep sea creature, dark above, light below.  The bits around his horn are sparkles thrown off by his power."

As it turned out, no one else used the word "dragon."

Now, a camera has captured it!!  Finally, movies!!!  This first one is only 9 seconds long.  Think of him swimming in the deep dark ocean, appearing out of the blackness.

The second of the three movies is 12 seconds long.  I'm tilting it a bit here and you have some more close-ups.

The third and last movie is 17 seconds long.  This is the best one, showing all the rainbow richnesses as the moving light reflects. 

I stand in awe of Sarah's gift.  I believe this drawing of hers sprang from assuaging the grief of the death of a pet rat.  Seeing 40 Xanthians all together was amazing, an experience to lift the heart.  They are so beautiful, and the variations absolutely fantastic -- things I never would've thought of, like bioluminescence!  Maybe I'll learn about digital coloring, eh.  I look forward to the next Christmas coloring contest, although I've no idea how to top this year's effort.  I've also no idea how I'm ever to paint my Hillingar!  Maybe design, not execution, is my strong suit... 

but man, that was fun.  Thank you, Sarah, and everybody.