Tarn has shown up for Halloo-ween

Here's a brand new sketch of a Halfland main character, Tarn, the half-crow woman just in time to wish all visitors here a Happy Halloween! She's a careful blending of human and black crow, split essentially vertically, with her human side visible on her left with it's flesh instead of feathers. Her hair is raven black, long and wavy, tied in low bundles to keep the strands from her face on that side. She's seen here without her typical jet black beaded veil headdress that covers her eyes. Her slick black feathers will mesh her flesh so that one won't be sure if she's a human wearing a feather cloak or a crow whose feathers conceal a human form.

The Tarn character symbolizes deep and permanent depression, the kind of black sticky profound sadness that knows no other reality. There's no terrible cause for it, no any cure per se, it's simply her existing in constant melancholia regardless of circumstances. It's her way.

This new sketch is based on an accidental image I caught of myself as I was photographing a necklace I had made. My bare face profile is not something I have seen too much. My own self image doesn't look like this to me, the nose so strong and the chin so weak. My life long self view of my face has been one of grotesquery that in no way measures up to the view of beauty prevalent in the culture in which I live. I have come to a peace with that by expanding my own definition of beauty to include a broader range of visage. And by focusing on what I do that's interesting more than how I, or anyone else, looks.

I exaggerated my features and melded them into a crow's silhouette to really intensify my feelings about my facial features. In Halfland, there are many many odd looking creatures, all of which are accepted fully for what they are in total. There is no sense of ugliness there, only what is, and all of it appreciated.

Boo! xoxox


  1. I know exactly what you mean about your profile; mine is the same. I used to obsess about it, but as an adult I just go with it. (Though I do have days where I really wish for a stronger jawline...)
    This image of Tarn is interesting. I'm glad you shared her on Halloween.

  2. That's so funny, Elva, I adore your face! Gah! To me you are without a doubt one of the most beautiful faces I've seen. You're like a classical Pre-Raphaelite beauty/fairy/mythological lovely that belongs in another age and place.

    You're like a younger, much prettier version of me, without the strong Greek, and goodness knows what else, ethnic grotesquerie of my features.

    So fair and lovely, just like a living fairy princess with your natural red locks and green eyes.

  3. You know what.... the most physically attractive people I've known have without fail been the least interesting. In some ways I think it's almost a curse to be beautiful. Beautiful people tend to become social butterflies and not do much of interest with their lives... become models or actors... often self-absorbed. It's people with more 'personality' to their faces... those tend to be the interesting ones. When you don;t fit in with the cheerleaders and the preppies you have more time to yourself... you don't fall into that habit of insulting anyone you consider ugly, and you actually take up hobbies or even become an artist.

  4. Oh, and Tarn looks incredible Shelley!! Really fantastic!! I didn't know it was a distortion of your face at all until I scrolled down. I hope the puppet captures that warped distorted feel.

  5. Thank you, Mikeeeeee!! I'm really pleased with the sketch. I'm getting a bit better at illustrating I think.

    As I work out these things and get better references for the characters a lust to build them in reality wells up in me that is nearly unbearable.

    I am overcome with the desire to lock myself up in here and do nothing but work on everything. And yet it's always time to go to ballet or something. This is a heavenly horror to have, going from one extreme pleasure to another I realize. It hardly compares to real problems. Still.... so much to work on for Halfland, it really does get nerve wracking.

    I love what you said about the strength gains possible from being considered less than attractive. I can sure vouch for that!

    By being by myself growing up I developed a deeper connection to myself, out of necessity granted, but I wouldn't have it the other way around. I guarantee I would be the biggest, most insufferable, bitch that ever lived had I been born pretty!

    Same goes for money. If I had had a lot of money I'm positive I would have been gigantically materialistic and even bored in life by now.

    As it is, given living this long with an unusual face without a lot of money has forced me to understand what matters in life and how to be truly happy.

    That's not to say that other people who are beautiful and/or are wealthy can't know those things for themselves. It was strictly my own thick-headedness that required this longer route to some wisdom.

  6. OH! And your saying those things and your thinking the profound way you do is precisely why you are my best friend for always.

  7. Awwwww!!!! Smooch smooch!!! ;)

  8. Grandpa always said "Beauty is, as Beauty does". Just one of his favorites I heard over and over. Wisdom, simple.
    Say, I love your new coiffure, it works for you, (I always cut mine) and it looks like your all healed and happy.
    Have a creative day!
    Tarn is fab-u-louse!

  9. You had a wonderful grandfather, Marci!

    How do you cut your hair? And don't say, "with scissors!"

    All healed up, thanks. Nuthing but a small scarline bump. Adds character!


  10. Shelley, Tarn is such a wonderful character!! I love how it looks and also its chracteristic features you described.

    Do you know what... as an Anatolian woman I have a profile similar to yours too... I have enjoyed a lot reading your post and your messages with Mike here. Beauty... I am not sure what I could be doing now if I had a very pretty face.. I might probably doing a similar thing but I am sure I would have had lost some more years finding the right path. Same thing about me being not very socially active person. I can not get closed to people in person easily and I usually get bored when I am in a crawd of people. My happiest time is when I am with my family and when I am alone. For many years, I wished I were a more fun person. But now I know that being uncomfortable in groups of people is what opens up my way to be an artist....

    Anyways... I look foward to seeing Tarn alive in Halfland.

  11. so cool you were able to take something negative and transform it into something beautiful and inspiring. very very cool.Love this concept.

    Oh and by the way, from over here, your a goddess of stop motion, rad artist and a hot dancer chick!

  12. Tarnation! What a great character sketch!
    Hey, I think it's glorious that we aren't all hollywood-homogenised, that there are as many ways of looking good as looking ugly.

    By exaggerating what you see as your deficiencies, you've created a new and mysterious beauty, a kind of avian mona lisa. We probably all put some of ourself into our work, but this seems particularly fitting for Halfland somehow - I hope something of the transformed Shelley is still there when it gets incarnated into puppet form.

  13. well, that's it. The visitors here are to coolest nicest people on earth.

    Yaz, I love learning new things. I'd never heard the term Anatolian before. When I Googled, I found more great Turkish weaving loom photos to use as I'm about to build Rana's!

    And you're another case of gorgeous face. I LOVE LOVE LOVE your looks! Gah! Not to mention who you are inside and out.

    Hey Rich! Way to make my day. Fanx for that. Woo hoo!

    And Nick, No one could have ever said anything more encouraging to me. Some say DaVinci pained Mona in his own image. I say we paint what we like and we generally all like how we look on an unconscious level.

    And one of my favorite phrases is that "An artist ONLY EVER really depicts themselves."

    All of Halfland's main characters are me in various aspects. Which brings me to the theme of another overdue post. Shel Rasch came over recently and in our discussion about projects, she so clearly described the difference between our two films. She and Justin are constantly considering their audience while crafting their movies. I am in no way thinking of mine.

    I am ONLY after satisfying my own private need to express what it is. I am thrilled that my doing that seems to be inadvertently touching into others and they seem to share some of the feelings I have. But this fundamental difference in our thrusts means her films are bound to be successful entertainment, with interns and others wanting to be a part of the fun, etc., while mine can and should only be my publicly-shared private art. I think Shel is pretty brilliant.

  14. I really love that sketch and that it came from a self portrait that reflects what you don't include in your self image.

    One of the most challenging things I do for my blog is try and take self portraits. They also don't reflect what I really consider my self image, and neither do those strange angle profile, up the nose, too close or too early shots. My sister says "You are a creature best seen in motion."

    which brings me to my excitement of seeing the creature you created in motion.

  15. "...a creature best seen in motion."

    I'll use that line!

    Thanks, B

  16. Hey Shelly!

    I feel ya......

    One of these days Ill have to show you a couple of my early animated films....

    A couple made very much like you are making yours presently.......expressing many parts of myself...through the character designs to the movment and storytelling..

    and also....dont get me wrong...our present films are very Much for Us ....as much as we wish to create Entertaining Family films for an audience!!....

    I dont know many people who would put the ammount of EFFORT required to make a stop mo film in there spare time......if they werent telling a story they want to tell...ha!

    its all looking good...keep on truckin!


  17. Hey, Justin! Great point, I didn't mean to suggest you and Shel were only trying to please an audience for commercial reasons. Of course the stories mean something to you both. If they didn't, there's no way anyone could feel so much genuine feeling, like in Gerald's Last Day!

    You're right. I was using the difference to partly excuse why you guys are attracting/appealing for people to get involved with. There are other more hard to accept reasons why I'm not in the same place as you.

    It's all cool though.

  18. Shelley, by Anatolian woman I meant someone from Anatolia; the asian part of Turkey. I am glad to hear it led you to weaving loom photos :)

  19. (^ yep. scary month and all doth changlings.
    (^ now on to wrapping presentations for thanks and constructing more for the monthe thereaft.

  20. Holy cow! There's an Asian part of Turkey!? WILD!

    Hy Brye! Still waiting here for an address to send you stuff... nobledesign[at]sbcglobal[dot]net

  21. Anonymous6:11 PM

    Ah yes, the debate between what is beautiful and what is attractive...

    After looking at the umpteenth dreadful photo of me, my brother once told me "you just don't flatten out well"

    Ah well!! Better that than to be dull in person!

  22. HA! Another great line that I will be stealing! Thanks, Peggy! xoxo


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