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Animal heads

Discussion in 'Research' started by skip.knox, Jun 1, 2018.

  1. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

    I just stumbled across a marvelous set of drawings done by the 17thc French artist, Charles Le Brun. Here are a couple to give the flavor of it.


    I could not find a book or even a web site that collected all these, but search on "Charles Le Brun physiognomy" and you'll see a whole treasure house full.
  2. Orc Knight

    Orc Knight Maester

    Goat man looks like a rather hairy Grey.
  3. CupofJoe

    CupofJoe Vala

    Those are quite amazing.
    I did find this site CHARLES LE BRUN The most important Painter in 17th century France
    There are not many more images than you have but some other good stuff and a bit of background to him.
  4. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

    Found another fellow, Giovanni Battista Della Porta (that's a Pinterest link). Given my historical background, I ought to have thought about this--there was a real fad in fantastical illustrations starting in the later 1500s and lasting through the 1600s. I figure it was an effect of the discoveries in the New World. Once we get well into the 1700s the focus shifted to a realistic depiction of animals and the fantastical dropped away until the Romantics. Anyway, I find those older illustrations great imagination fodder for crafting fantasy creatures.

    The interesting exercise for me is capturing the image in words. FWIW, I'm finding I do something analogous do what a sketch artist does--I don't try to describe the head (or full body) in detail or completely; rather, I focus on key elements--large, wide-set eyes, or bristles for hair--and let that serve as a trigger for the reader's own imagination. Or, at least that's what it says here on the box.
  5. Corwynn

    Corwynn Troubadour

    Another artist who drew these types of images was Jean Ignace Isidore Gerard, AKA, J.J. Grandville, who was active in the early 19th century.

    Indeed, this is something I am trying to accomplish as well. My fictional races do not have a direct correspondence to any established fantasy race, or specific animal hybrid. I do not want to sit down and describe them in detail at the beginning of every story, so I think the best way would be to dole out small details as the opportunity arises; mentions of webbed fingers, antlers, movable ears, tails, etc.

    It would be so much easier just to draw them, and maybe one day I will do a series of anatomical illustrations, reminiscent of what you might find in an anatomy textbook published between 1500 and 1900. Unfortunately, my drawing skill is not yet up to the task. Maybe someday...
  6. Thanks! I hate it.

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