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Observational Fantasy Painting Canvas

Project type

Final Major Project: Fantasy Crossover Life Drawing.




Middlesex University Hendon Campus, London


Illustrations in Acrylic Painting.

For my final year of studying BA Illustration at Middlesex University I chose to create a final piece for my Final Major Project, relating to my interests in Life Drawing and is something that I want to do as a career. Since I have been illustrating the models' appearance between the aspects of reality and fantasy, I thought about collecting a variety of models to be painted onto a canvas with acrylic paint. A painting-collaged style with a mixture of portraiture and reportage.

Getting hold of their actual body measurements, scales and facial features is one thing but I wasn't sure to illustrate their identities in their natural coloured form or be multicoloured. Or the other option which I loved doing is to change their identities as a fictional character from children's books, fairytale, folklore, mythology, movies and TV shows, etc. Anything that is iconic through pop culture.

Finally I decide to go through the last option of fantasy life drawing. During my teen years I remember drawing many anthropomorphic characters crossing over together from one world to another in films and fictional stories as a hobby, only in felt tip pens but never in paint. There was one of the reasons it was something I have always wanted to do not only for career purposes but for fun.

The models I collected to be painted on canvas were:

The first model I started off painting was Matt, the only youngest male model out of the older men. Matt wore a Spider-Man t-shirt but he also had other parts of clothing he wore naturally: a jazz-looking-bonnet hat, tabby brown cardigan and glasses, possibly as one of his costumes. Dressed in a jazz-librarian stylised version of Peter Parker. Something came into my mind that he could be Spider-Man but that depends on how Matt can be positioned. Maybe Spider-Man could sit up on top of a statue on one of the largest buildings having a morning coffee. Suddenly in the afternoon the girls (my fellow peers) and I were discussing of what he could have with him on his lap as he is sitting on a chair. They came up with an idea of having a skeleton prop with him so I instantly agreed because something came into my mind from the Spider-Man comics I researched that one of the characters dies. Spider-Man had many friends and enemies but he had variety of love interests before Mary Jane Watson wins out of all the other girls. Gwen Stacy was also the primary love interest which Peter ever wanted to be with. She was Peter's high school classmate then turned girlfriend and happens to be the daughter of a well known New York City police captain, George Stacy. The relationship between her and Peter Parker/Spider-Man as very strong, loving and supportive but a great risk. Gwen fell to her death that she was murdered by the Green Goblin during a battle between the him and Spider-Man. Spider-Man thought he caught her on time but was too late. Her head hit onto the ground causing her neck to snap and died of a web shooting falling impact. It devastated Peter for years despite continuing his legacy as Spider-Man until he was able to forgive himself and let go. The skeleton prop had to be Gwen Stacy while Matt's Spider-Man is holding onto his lap looking at it. In my painting version Spider-Man is crouching down holding his dead girlfriend in despair. I thought this could be a dark tragic Valentine's Day Special because we were in the month of February that we jumped ahead of Valentine's Day.

The second model was Amanda, however I did many different versions of her due to how she was positioned that I had her about three or four times for the next few days and weeks. The characters I illustrated her as: Two female reptilian models, Medusa, Four Statues of Medusa's victims - a man, young woman and a mother holding her baby; and a fairy model. I started off doing the humanoid lizards first because I wasn't sure of which character she could be, then I decided to turn her into a lizard, looking all glamorous, depending on which location she could be. Either in her bedroom or being photographed by the paparazzi due to modelling industry, same for the other lizard resting on a bed as Amanda had to change position again. Why not include reptiles into the fashion and model industry?

Her next character had to be Medusa and the victims surrounding her turned to stone. Instead of Medusa being a bitter, vile and aggressive through her emotional and physical appearance. Behind that anger and aggression reveals to be some sadness of a cursed but broken woman with a traumatic past. The stories of what we learnt in Greek Mythology of what happened to Medusa when she was human due to being considered an obsessed lustful object to entire village because her beauteous appearance instead of her personality until Poseidon raped her in his wife's temple. Athena out of jealousy, blamed it on Medusa and did nothing to punish her husband's actions. She cursed Medusa into a snake-haired, monster-looking, stone-turning gorgon. People will look directly into her eyes and be turned to stone. Moving onto the statues which I painted were Medusa's victims as Amanda had changed positions again. I thought the story of Medusa after her assault from Poseidon in the aftermath could be taken place of her recent transformation, then accidentally killed a few people as she was forced to remain exile from the outside world and crying in agony. Also, remind the audience to understand her as person of who is truly is; and was from before rather than a monster. Mortals are the tortured victims, whereas the Greek Gods are the vilest villains.

The last character of Amanda had to be a fairy being part of the modelling industry with her two fellow lizard co-workers. Looking all sparkly and shiny, green wings spreading out and her purple hair being blown by the wind. Maybe could always use one more model to be in the industry. A mixed variety of anthropomorphic characters taking part in fashion and modelling. The fairy, also had to be reference of Amanda's interests: her fashionable style of clothing, her love of pink and other glamorous things.

The third model had to be Stephen. During the afternoon longer hour poses he was sitting on a chair still as the others and I were illustrating him. Despite him keeping still, the expression on his face looked like he was happy but it was way more than that, it looked like he was feeling love-struck. Something came into my mind to come up something funny that he could sitting on a toilet feeling love-struck, day-dreaming. Unfortunately I was running a bit out of time so I thought that he could be himself as a living toilet seat instead but still smitten. By adding in Stephen's smile very wide around the toilet's seat and lid as part of the mouth. His eyes filled with large heart shapes as there was a few more hearts floating above his head, however I created another version of him as a toilet brush cleaner which could be the toilet's companion who is in the same situation. Two characters are making eye contact of the female models on public display feeling enamored.

The fourth model was an American but a recent graduated student and her name was Hunter. When I heard her name for the first time, surprisingly the name "Hunter" is normally for boys but never for girls. I managed to interact with her after doing quick sketches of her arms and body. I thought about making her into a octopus or Kraken from one of the folklore tales but a friendly version. Meanwhile in the afternoon Hunter laid flat on a soft, possibly a mattress. The way she was relaxing came into my mind that she could be a mermaid, also a reminder of the public advertising boards of the live-action remake of the original Disney's animation, The Little Mermaid (1989) before released on 26th May 2023. Hunter's mermaid is located in the surface of underwater relaxing on the sand. Her characteristic features had to be in: lightly pink skinned, glimmery-scaled purple tail, amongst pink streaks with the fins by adding bits of green and white dots; and flowy green thick hair waving across the front of her head.

The fifth model was a stunt man, involved in acting taking part in films and tv shows and his name was Reno. We both talked while having a 10 minute break and lunchtime about his role as a stunt man before continuing Life Drawing. Around the morning's sessions we did quick sketches on Reno, dressed up as a boxer before he could go into nudity. Since he admitted himself as a stunt man, also posing himself as a boxer I thought that he could come as either a builder or miner. Then I instantly transformed him into a miner working in the mines but showing off his muscles and being cool. It also came into mind of a scene I saw from a comedy film, Zoolander (2001). Ben Stiller's role as a dimwitted, modelling fashionista male goes back to his hometown to work in the mines with his family after receiving some disgrace at the awards and embarrasses himself into front of the entire town. Showing off his athletic appearance, causing accidents and making pranks while a song is playing in the film.

The sixth model was Nate, a middle-aged man with glasses. During the drawing and painting exercises it got me thinking that it was a tricky decision of what to illustrate him as through my canvas. The way he was posing in the background looked like he was feeling down until I recapped on my quick paintings his appearance in blue. Then it got me to paint his character as a blue man. Therefore he did had some black hair and one for his beard but with a bit of tinted white, showing that he is a middle-aged character. A man with his ups-and-downs but wearing blue clothes: a buttoned shirt, sunglasses and a round bowler hat. I only painted half of his character in the background in the corner of the right below but I did manage to add some details around the edges of the canvas and same for the others.

Seventh model had to be Jessica. I remember drawing her for the first time a year ago during the third year in quick sketches with a graphite stick and soft pastels before moving onto my FMP and did the same again. Moving onto the longer hour sessions in the afternoon Jessica was dressed as an aristocratic woman with an elegant large hat between the late and early 19th to 20th century. I transformed her into a witch like the those classic witches with pointy hats, wands and flying broomsticks, like the Wicked Witch of the West from The Wizard of Oz. Therefore I managed to include Jessica's witch almost looked like the character from the film but I included her new equipment: a magic wand and a broomstick. Turned her skin green, then made her thick, wavy and flowy as it's blowing in the wind. As for her clothes her dress coloured in grey, whereas the hat is black. Also to be part of the fashion and model industry with the other crew members because there was a few more gaps to fill in.

The last of all was Megan and she wore a clown costume. Since she mentioned about herself being a clown I was thinking she could be a monstrous clown like from horror films as an example of Pennywise the Clown from Stephen King's It or something. However I noticed on her costume that there were printed characters from the sequel of Disney Pixar's Monsters Inc. (2001), Monsters University (2013). Not only I could illustrate her as a dressed clown but a friendly monster clown, feeling down as she is snacking on a purple icing, pink sprinkled doughnut due to the fact that I ate Krispy Kreme Doughnuts for lunch. Her characteristic features had to be a furry, monster-looking-cat with two horns. Therefore a reference of one of the two main characters from the first and sequel of Monsters Inc., Sully. His appearance is dinosaur-bear looking creature, whereas Megan is cat monster with horns on her head. I adopted Sully's furry features with the colours of blue and purple dots and horns. I also remember the little girl, Boo from the first film calling Sully, "Kitty" was another reference to illustrate the character into the form of a cat. Finally gave her a clown costume, coloured in light green with much brighter green spots, whereas the textured sleeves and crown neck are coloured in red-orange. So far her costume got a bit messy while snacking on a doughnut. It really was a fun task and a great reminder of the Pixar films I watched from my childhood.

Moving onto the reportage I had to paint many locations for the characters' story to fit in which I needed to finish off, especially with their identification in features.

Two anthropomorphic bathroom characters feeling love-struck of the four female models featured at a public digital advertising display on a rainy day.

The four female fashionistas being filmed while modelling, surrounded with two seats, flowers and a standing bowls of berries or flowers close to the other lizard while seating bed-like-therapy chair as their appearance has been sent out in public capital cities for advertisement in fashion.

Medusa's recent transformation and accidental murder set in daylight somewhere far off distance as she is on top of rocks as she is coming close to the caves.

A mermaid relaxing in the sand as she somewhere beneath of the ocean.

A body-building miner working in the mines.

A man feeling blue walking far ahead from the digital advertising wall of the four models.

A friendly cat monster dressed as a clown snacking on a doughnut while feeling distressed.

The Night Gwen Stacy Died from Marvel Comics The Amazing Spider-Man #121-122, published in between June - July 1973. Spider-Man holding Gwen Stacy, begging her to wake up until he realised that he was too late to save her and his feelings were crushed. Since it became popular they still kept the actual story, however in some cases they made a lot of changes on a different location of where Gwen's death would take place. I never read the comics but I have done plenty of research on the comics. Also I never watched the Marc Webb-Verse series of The Amazing Spider-Man with Andrew Garfield's role as Spider-Man. Therefore I did witness a death scene in a YouTube clip of the sequel of how Gwen dies, then decided to paint some bricks in the background from behind Spider-Man to make the surroundings more dark and melancholic.

Everything I did for my FMP of creating a fantasy crossover theme onto a painting canvas was incredibly hard-working, fun, imaginative and beautiful. I wish could do it again everyday.

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