Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Urhu's Instrument

A first draft sketch of the Urhu, serpent musician character for Halfland.

Anxious to get back to Halfland progress, I chose to rough in a sketch of the Urhu character that I knew could be done relatively quickly. What prompted my turning my attention over to this character now was that I had recently found a line drawing of a Middle Eastern musician in the wonderful book that I'm enjoying about color. The sketch in it caught my eye because the musician was holding a very similar instrument to one I had bought in New York 14 years ago for this exact purpose. Seeing it answered an important question about how the instrument should be played for the character. When I bought the prop on the street or in a shop I didn't really know what it was but thought that it would be in the film.

The sketch above shows the line drawing from the book composed with a photo of that actual instrument I bought with some serpentine sinew added to this half wise man half giant serpent/musician. You may notice that his desert sandscape is shaped like the contours of a woman's body. The real setting in the midst of the endless stark landscape for the character will include opulently dressed tent and carpet where he'll sit to play his inspiring songs.

Making the sketch has helped me realize a few further things regarding the character. One, was an idea of how the human arm and serpent arm might actually hold and play the instrument. Another is that his serpent skin coloring can be in pretty hues of teal, turquoise, and violet. It showed me that I could have fun with his turban and robe in rich saffron colors. And that I might also embellish the instrument prop with a bit of gold leafing.


  1. Anonymous8:35 AM

    Nice we have got back to Halfland!!!

    P.S sorry to caquse a cerfuffle

  2. AWESOME!! Another character revealed!!! I love it......

  3. Thanks a-nony-mous, no apologies, I love having a sevret Halflander here. You are a big support. And because you used the word cerfuffle, can I guess that you come from a British nation?

    Thank you, Jeffery! I'm hoping to get these guys rolling for real. I think this character should be a build-up construction rather than cast. I'll know more later. Although, I doubt I'll have the courage to try foam like you've done with such great results!

  4. Anonymous5:50 PM

    Hi there, my guess is you are familiar with 'Blood Tea and Red String', but if not heres the link:
    The music and animation reminded me of you! Charming... (perhaps not the blood...)

  5. Hi Ulla, YES! I had come across Blood Tea and Red String along the way several months ago. I love how it's one woman artist's own story vision in the medium of stop motion. I am really relating to that.

    I'll have to go back again and see whatever clips she's posted now.


  6. Oh yes, I remember her more now after visiting her site and watching the BTRS trailer again. Christiane Cegavske,"Creator Extraordinaire", as she puts it. Interesting person!

    Her vision seems dark to be sure, and bloody, but I like some of what she's done within the film. I find some beauty in the delicacy of her characters. It isn't my world, er, fantasy world, but I admire that she's been able to create her own.

    I look at the stills and the trailor I can't even imagine how long the project took her to complete. All the models and the sets and the creatures. And that sky in the outdoor scenes is an absolute masterpiece and fits the style of her film perfectly with its soft clouds.

    Thank you for pointing me to her direction again, Ulla.


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