FOCUSING ON: 'Elephant Eye'
approx 14 inches wide©Sue Walters 2001
Let's face it, most art is meant to be viewed from a distance. When viewed extra close up it looks, well...bad. So, to show something like Elephant Eye like this is a bit of a leap of faith on my behalf. You aren't seeing it in its best light, but I'm aware that the stippling technique used to form the skin is something that can't be seen at its best viewing distance. Stippling is simply the technique of building a picture by dots. It's a very time laborious technique but it's also an excellent way to portray broken textures and a deep tonal range. Up close it looks like clusters of smudges or dots, much like looking at a newspaper up close does, but as the eye pulls back, the dots form a cohesive mass that fools the eye into thinking they are seeing a real image.
Elephant Eye was born from a challenge. I commented that I thought just about any natural texture could be portrayed by pyrography. This fellow pyro doubted it was possible, that something like elephant skin couldn't be burnt. Now...you don't know me, but a challenge like that can't be ignored. And so, Elephant Eye was the result.Elephant Eye was actually very basic to create. I used a skew to cut the wrinkles and I used a spoon shader to render the the skin tone and texture feel. I used a stippled pattern to do this. Dot upon dot upon dot upon....well...you get the drift. I actually got so sick of it that I frisbee threw it into a cupboard in frustration...unfinished. (Patience was never my strong suit.)A friend of mine saw it, loved it and framed it for me. The break from stippling must have helped my mood because, all the sudden, I loved him too! Since then he has hung on my wall and travelled to many locations with me...as a sort of mascot. The unfinished challenge. (Oh, BTW, I did win the challenge;))
A bad picture of Elephant on his side, but you can see how stippling deep tone can give the impression of 3D realism.
Elephant Eye was burnt using just 2 tip profiles: 1) A skew cut the creases and outlined the lashes. 2) A spoon shader stippled the skin.