Friday, May 7, 2010

Moby Dick pt1

I'm going to attempt a WIP series on my blog that will hopefully keep me motivated to see it through to completion. I've been reading Moby Dick recently which has inspired about a 1000 different illustration ideas so I'm going to try a couple of them. My goal will be to post stages of progress which may last months given my schedule:) Starting here are some very rough thumbnails of scenes in my head while reading along. The tail fluke idea comes from the part of the book when they've gotten surrounded by a huge pod of sperm whales in the south Asiatic Sea. A ring of whales has surrounded mothers and calves who swim just below their tiny boat regarding them with (slightly curious) indifference. The visual effect in my mind is a slithering mass of (what must seem like to the whalers) eyes, flukes, and teeth just below the surface.

I also have the ubiquitous White Whale jumping out of the tumultuous sea with Ahab's boat in the foreground which is always fun. As you can see I've thrown in some steep high waves to create a sense of even more peril. The other one I really like is a top down view again of Ahab's boat cutting across MD as his pectoral fin is cutting through the water towards Ahabs boat. Seeing this one through I think will be a challenge and could be a strong yet subtle piece. We'll see:)

My immediate goals are to do some very strong refined drawings using models and props with anything I can make, beg, borrow, or steal. Stay tuned...


Lianne said...

I already love these thumbnails! Love the composition and silhouettes of the figures in them. Can't wait to see these fleshed out!

dolphinguy said...

Hey Ray,

Love these sketches. Are you doing this for the heck of it, or is it related to a work assignment? If you would like some help with the sperm whales/Moby Dick, just give me a shout, as I'm an artist who has studied their anatomy for over 40 years, and have done some Moby drawings of my own, and I'm also working up some ideas for a painting. You can see my work at . Also, go check out the work of George Klauba at He has done a huge series of Moby Dick paintings that will knock your socks off, and several of them use the same framing with the dramatic waves and clouds like in your sketches.

dolphinguy said...

I was just looking at Klauba's revised web site, and a lot of his Moby Dick paintings are left off the new one. There are only a couple left that have the dramatic waves and clouds that I wanted you to see. However, I saved all of those a few months back, and I can send them to you if you're interested in seeing them.

Rayford said...

Hey dolphinguy, thanks for the links and fantastic work my friend. Your marine mammal drawings are top notch. I can see the result of years of hard work and study come through in your drawing and painting. Your anatomy feels spot on and I'll definitely be using your drawings as reference. Thanks!

I'm digging the Klauba stuff too. The bird theme is very personal and interesting. I'll have to look more closely after work. His stuff seems very meditative and inspired in it's process.

As to your question, this is for fun, not work. I'm reading Moby Dick right now and it's been inspirational to say the least. Even if I don't understand every single reference, Melville clearly loves language and paints rich evocative worlds and states of mind with words. I believe he is a painter at heart and his medium is language.

As for the other Klauba stuff yes please feel free to send them my way. I'd love to check them out. Thanks again dolphinguy! -Ray

Rodney Dollah said...

Nice stuff!