Monday, October 18, 2010

Esther: Process

There's a long tradition of artwork inspired by biblical narratives, so I've decided to take my crack at it. I'm creating a series of five pieces based on women of the Bible. So far, I've selected two Old Testament gals and two New Testament dames. From the Old, we have Esther and Delilah, and from the New, Mary of Bethany and Saphira. For the fifth, I'm thinking of Mother Mary, but I'm willing to reconsider.

This weekend I was reading my friend's copy of James Gurney's Imaginative Realism. I was feeling lost with this piece, but it set me back on track - thanks again, Mr. Gurney! If you don't read it already, check out his blog. It's a wealth of information and inspiration!

Here is some of my process for Esther.

This first one is my original thumbnail. I sketched a few others for her, but I went with my first. It's important to me to show both her uncertain gaze ahead at the king as she approaches, what may well be her death, and her hands, clenched in determination.

I soon realized, that to match the format I want (a two-page book spread), my image would need to change. After I shot reference, with a model I clothed and lighted, and after creating the interior of the palace, I created this drawing. However, I bit off more than I could chew at this point in the process. I was making this 11"x17" sketch my value study; it was taking me too long and getting me off track. It was good, however, for planning out the format. At this point, I also realized the image needs another figure - a soldier standing guard at the entrance to the throne room. I added him in the next image. (Also, everything is outlined here so I could re-trace)

This is the official value study. It's about half the size and I was able to get a handle on the values in less than half the time I spent not completing my first try. The guard is suggested at the bottom.

Now, I'm on to finalize the guard and then I will move on to my color study.  The final will  be watercolor and pencil, 11x17.

I welcome any feedback on what I've done so far!  Thanks!


  1. Great sketch! Spectacular job with the figure-the facial expression, the costume. Cant wait to see where you go with the final art.

  2. This looks amazing so far Emily, I can't wait to see the final product!