Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Meet Moru and his friends -a journey into WilderIndia

© WilderIndia
Spot Drawing © Nayna Shriyan
          Join me today as we meet Moru's friends and family :) Creating the characters of the story is generally done solely by the writer, so also with these stories, but the fun for me was to put to paper Sharmila's ideas with regards to their appearances, putting down particular features and aspects to each character that not only made them stand out but also meant that each character's personality was immediately evident. Moru himself had a very prominent feature in that his tail had to be very different from the rest of the peacocks, (okay so I am going to let you get a peek at the cat, not let the cat get out of the proverbial bag completely !!) see Moru is quite shy and keeps his tail shut or rather believes that he simply isn't coordinated enough to be graceful and thus never opens his tail feathers, and that's why his tail had to be shown a little stunted.
        The royal family consisted of the King and Queen of peacocks and their look was kept simple but elegant with rich feather colours and the Queen had an adornment of white feather pattern on her body. While creating the individual looks we thought about adding extra elements like a pearl necklace on the Queen and en eye patch on one of the village elders but realized that made the story to gimmicky so instead, one of the evil elders just got a single eye with one permanently shut! One of the judges was fat and short, another one had a crooked neck !
Moru at his 'damce' competition
© 2011WilderIndia, illustration © Nayna Shriyan
Painting on silk.

      In this image you can see the villagers on the top and bottom tiers with the evil elders on the right and oh by the way that tree stump is their round table ! what do you think of that? :)
       In the center is the princess from a neighboring clan with our hero trying to dance (but falling flat on his beak !!) . Creating this princess was the most fun, she got long shapely talons nice drop shaped feather patterns and a long graceful beak, long lashes and an orchid to add to her charm, gorgeous isn't she?
With all the excitement about the characters in progress we also wanted to stay true to the style of Pattachitra with their traditional layouts. So we had a different layout for each page that we designed and naturally each one has its own unique border. Or borders got their very own animal so while this one had lady bugs, one had leopards while  another one got deers, do look out for each animal as you read the book! An extra treat are the smaller animals featuring on each page, small birds, insects and animals in one instance a surprised frog jumping out of the way ( of who else but our clumsy hero !) Do find out how Moru finally learns to dance :)

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Continuing the Quiver saga........

Continuing the quiver saga...

Currently I am completely taken in with the arrows and their designs, keeping in mind that these arrows are not meant to hurt but meant for the viewers to fall in love with them, I decided that they had to be of different shapes and have bright colours. Here they are cut and ready to be enameled and with the first coat of transparent flux fired and the cloisonne wire  . I will be revealing the finished pieces complete with all the wires and enamels in place as I want the final design to be a surprise! Of course the quiver itself is not being ignored, here it is with one coat of flux and the armature that will be holding it upright Although I will admit not too much of the electro-forming has stayed in place, I have faith that I can attach it by way of embedding it with the flux. for now this is where we are all fluxed up !!

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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Continuing the journey through WilderIndia!!

The second little cutie pie in the book (WilderIndia)  is 'Moru' as you may have guessed Moru is a peacock!! (Mor means peacock in Hindi and Marathi ) A prince at that! now while I do not intend to give out the story here, I will let on this much, the story is quite action packed! Well I think I am done with the exclamation marks :) !!!
© 2011 WilderIndia
Illustration © Nayna Shriyan

            Before we go on to the amazing characters in this story and the fun we had visualizing and creating each of them, I want to tell you about the unique medium we used. Moru happens to be not just the national bird of my country (India) but also the state bird of the north-eastern state of Orissa and in keeping with the theme of the book, the art style we used is Pattachitra .
             Traditionally this art form is practiced in Orissa , with the themes centering around the religious tales of the Ramayana and the Mahabharata as well as the Dashavatara painted in painstaking detail on specially treated surfaces with vegetable dyes. The surface to be painted upon is firstly prepared by sandwiching layers of cotton cloth (usually old sarees) with an organic glue, which is followed by sun-drying and then hours of hand polishing the hardened sari layers with a smooth stone! After the surface is prepared comes the turn of the colours which are either mineral colours or derieved from processing vegetables ( a good example is their red which is obtained from boiling certain seeds). These colours are then hand mixed ( read index finger till your bone aches!), till the correct consistency is achieved! Now aren't you glad you get to use pre- mixed colours from your favorite art stores  :D (Guess the exclamations are back ! )
           The one fun fact I really want to share here is their brush, this one is actually hand crafted from a mouse hair !! Yup you read that right a mouse is caught and his fur is harvested to bunch together into a brush ! ( Hopefully the mouse is free to scamper away afterwards ) This comes in specially handy while painting in the finer details like lines of hair and minute designs as the mouse hair is quite stiff and can work out the details beautifully!
 While we did not go into as much detailing we did order some authentic Tussar silk from a Pattachitra artist all the way from Orissa and mounted that prior to painting it with silk colours! As you can see from the image the uneven texture of the silk makes for a great backdrop.
Well you just read about some unusual art materials, if you know of any more such do drop a line, I am always interested to learn more about folk art , in the next post I will let you in on some inside details about the characters in the story, stay tuned :)