Updates every other Sunday with new artwork and content from the working life of a freelance illustrator.

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Lord of the Deadwood - a work-in-progress

In the interests of building up a catalogue of references I went wandering 'round Arnos Vale last week and took some pretty interesting photographs of trees and old, mossy tombstones. Everything's really ancient and overgrown, and the elegance in design of the architecture and sculpture is something that you just don't find anywhere else nowadays. It's an incredibly peaceful place, almost ethereal in its binding together or natural and man-made elements. 
To be honest the references were mostly of really interesting tree shapes, leaves and plants, with the architecture being secondary. I like the idea that it just happens to be there and that, if anything, it's a handy perch to a bird or a shaded place to bury nuts for the squirrels. I'm thinking about ways I can shape it around an old idea for a Farthing Woods meets Redwall series of children's books, loosely based around the idea of wildlife being effected and shaped by human concepts of afterlife.
It originated from a desire to talk about death and the grieving process with children, to make such a huge and important concept easier to digest and lessen the fear that we seem to have culturally amassed. When I visit my dad (gone for about five years now) at the cemetery I feel comforted by watching the antics of the squirrels, magpies and robins in their little busy squabbles. I wonder if they know this was a place where humans lay their dead, and love the fact that each cemetery is essentially a nature preserve where wildlife is undisturbed. It's a very unique environment.

12x12inches digital sketch
Anyway, here's a character inspired by that very loose concept. A benevolent old badger, groundskeeper of sorts to some ancient woodland cemetery and particular favourite of the birds that thrive there. I'll be colouring this as a means of practice with digital painting and messing around with lighting and textures.

Practice, practice, practice!


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About Me

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Hi! I'm Claire Spiller, a freelance illustrator, vis-dev artist & storyteller based in Bristol, UK. I love animals, wild places, plants, handmade things, and creating characters and stories. My work often blends nature and fantasy, science and mythology. I also do bits of sculpting and needle felt occasionally as a hobby, and sell prints, original art and bits of arty goodness in my Etsy store!
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