Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Polyphemus the Cyclops... a little Greek Mythology Illustration

© Nicola L Robinson 2015 All Rights Reserved
Polyphemus the Cyclops, in glorious technicolour © Nicola L Robinson 2014 all rights reserved

A new illustration I would like to share with you this week, Polyphemus the Cyclops... Those familiar with Greek mythology will recall in Homer's Odyssey, the hero Odysseus landing on the island of the Cyclopes with his men on their (very long) journey home from the Trojan war, finding food and shelter in a cave and meeting it's giant one eyed resident, resulting in a number of the men being eaten before Odysseus eventually outsmarts the Cyclops and they make their escape...
© Nicola L Robinson 2015 All Rights Reserved
 Black and White version © Nicola L Robinson 2014 all rights reserved

Some points I wanted to consider/include when illustrating this-

-I thought about including Odysseus and perhaps some of his ill fated men too being picked up and crunched up like cookies by the enraged monster... but then I thought it might be nice to not get too taken in with details, as I do have a tendency for, and so I stripped the idea back to focus on the main protagonist, the Cyclops himself.

- To focus totally on the Cyclops I have placed us, the viewer as Odysseus/his men, in the cave, at the point where Polyphemus has just arrived home from his day out shepherding his sheep. We can see our ships docked along the shore.

- Polyphemus is the son of Poseidon, king of the sea, and I've included a trident at the top right to symbolise him

-Later in the myth, Odysseus and his men manage to drive a big wooden stake into Polyphemus's eye, blinding him, I've added a blinded eye to the top left.

-Odysseus is famous for his bow, which I've included at the bottom left corner

-Polyphemeus was a shepherd, and I've drawn a ram's head to the bottom right.

-I wanted to make the Cyclops a little more interesting so have designed him some eye tattoo's, jewellery and woollen/leather smock. I imagine given all that wool from herding the sheep a Cyclops might develop skills in weaving, spinning and the like... (watch out etsy)
-In the myth the Cyclops is meant to be about the size of two men in height, mine is obviously somewhat larger, as I wanted him to be filling the space, and by adding the tiny sheep made him appear even bigger.  

© Nicola L Robinson 2015 All Rights Reserved
Pencil Sketch/Layout Plan © Nicola L Robinson 2014 all rights reserved

© Nicola L Robinson 2015 All Rights Reserved
12 Cyclops faces © Nicola L Robinson 2014 all rights reserved


Ralph Corderoy said...

Nice to see some of the pencil sketches from behind the scenes. What media was used for the final artwork?

Nicola L Robinson said...

Thanks Ralph! Final colour artwork is a combination of pen and ink, watercolour/gouache and coloured inks with some digital editing/faffing about in photoshop to put the background and border layers together and add highlights.