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Pyramus suggests a meeting by GregStevens Pyramus suggests a meeting by GregStevens
Pyramus was the handsomest youth, and Thisbe the fairest maiden, in all Babylonia. Their parents occupied adjoining houses; and their acquaintance ripened into love. They would gladly have married, but their parents had a long-standing rivalry and forbade them from even talking, much less marrying. However, as chance would have it their bedrooms had an adjoining wall, and in that wall there was a crack. It afforded a passage to the voice; night after night, Pyramus on his side of the wall and Thisbe on hers, they would tell each other all that had happened during the day, and to complain of their cruel parents and circumstance. "Cruel wall," they said, "why do you keep two lovers apart?"

They finally agree to sneak out in the middle of the night and meet. This attempt to meet sets off a complex chain of events that eventually leads to both of their deaths. Isn't that always the way it is in Roman mythology?

This sketch shows Pyramus on the night he suggests to Thisbe that they meet. "My love cannot wait," he says, "and what could possibly go wrong?"

Technical details:

This started out as a line sketch using 4H pencil.

I then used 2H pencil and soft and medium gray charcoal pencils to do shading. Encouraged by the success of my smudge work in my digital paintings ( [link] ), I decided to try to use the same technique: softly doing rough shading in shadow areas with the charcoal pencil, and then using cloth, tissue, and q-tip to smudge the charcoal around. I learned three things from this exercise: 1) it's not as easy to smudge real charcoal as it is to smudge digital charcoal, 2) the ability to zoom in and out to get different levels of detail in digital work makes a HUGE difference, and 3) OMG fingerprints everywhere!

After getting a fuzzy blended mass of shading from that experiment, I went back with 4B pencil to do contour shading, add contrast and detail, and add some texture. The texture in the wall behind him is created by lightly rubbing the soft charcoal pencil over the rough surface of the paper and NOT smudging it afterwards. I deliberately was going for the contrast between figure-blended / wall-rough for the textures.

I have some issues with the anatomy, especially his arm and shoulder, and where it comes up against the chest. I tried the pose out myself a few times and looked in the mirror to see how things go, but did not use a reference photo.

Next time: charcoal was a little too messy; I'll try doing the smudge thing with JUST pencil next time. Or maybe I just need bigger paper?

Took a total of about 3 hours.
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MaverikElf Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
Awww, Pyramus and Thisbe! I love that story... :heart:
Well done! :D
christuffer Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2011  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Overall a good piece, but several proportion issues:
-Chest development vs. arm(forearm in particular) muscularity, for ex.
-P's head seems a bit small for his bod.
-Trapezius muscles seem a little out of whack with the neck position.
-Some nice stipling and stressing of the wall surface.
-Is he on the floor of bedding: if floor it slopes away a little to sharply.
-Nice loincloth!
GregStevens Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you so much for the feedback! And yes, I agree, the thing I'm probably least satisfied with in this piece is the arm anatomy, especially where it meets the shoulders.

The floor was also a challenge. I meant it to be rock floor with some reflection to it, so I was trying to get two sets of contours expressed: the perspective lines of the texture of the floor itself, and the lines of the reflection of his loincloth and body in the floor. I don't think I totally succeeded, because as you say: it looks like the floor falls away with the reflection. LOL

Thanks again for taking the time to comment and critique! I appreciate it...
christuffer Featured By Owner Jan 18, 2011  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
happy to do...your work warrants the crit!
Psychoanimeniac Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2011
Putting in the background tho the pic was an excellent idea! I would really like to see a pic of Thisbe too. ( as an idea, you could have both of them in a pic in their own beds, and the pic is seperated by the wall. and they could be facing it as if speaking through it like in the "story") if you can't get the picture I'd be happy to explain it further.. then again, you may not like it at all. it is just a suggestion, :) oh, by the way, the wall texture is excellent. and his muscle tone is very well done.. keep up the exquisite work.
GregStevens Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you so much for the feedback and the compliments! That would definitely be fun to show both, with the wall splitting down the middle of the picture. Quite a challenge!

Thanks again, I love your suggestions.
Psychoanimeniac Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2011
Aww... yer welcome.. Im just glad somebody liked them! Keep it up!
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Submitted on
January 6, 2011
Image Size
191 KB


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