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Daneel Olivaw

By Landylachs
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Interpretation of my favorite literary robot, R. Daneel Olivaw. This started as a bad sketch that I tinkered on and off with a short time over a few days to try and save, and it ended up turning into a fun experiment drawing to practice faces. I think I'm getting better at drawing faces from imagination (I hope).

Even though the books describe Daneel's eyes as brown (I believe toward the middle-end of Caves of Steel), most fan interpretations give him blue eyes to go with his "bronze" hair. I thought he had (and drew him with) blue eyes for the longest time, most likely due to Stephen Youll's book cover for "The Naked Sun," until I came across that passage on a reread and was astonished to realize Asimov envisioned him with brown eyes. Blue seemed the natural choice, maybe even a too obvious choice. I tried him out with brown and blue eyes, and I actually think I like Daneel better with brown eyes now. They add a mysterious air to him, like you could get lost staring into those dark, artificially real eyes.

Daneel is from the 'Robot Novels' literary series by Isaac Asimov.

Edit: A quick glance over at tumblr showed proof that Daneel's eyes are actually described as blue in the third book. So Asimov changed his mind, it seems, haha. Then again, he is a robot, his eyes could have just been replaced. Maybe Fastolfe became bored between and wanted to see how blue would suit Daneel haha. A life-sized BJD for Fastolfe, ahah.
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© 2013 - 2021 Landylachs
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76AMS's avatar
I was just randomly googling for things about Daneel and ran across this beautiful art! I've always loved him and this comes really close to how I've always seen him ^_^ Thank you for making the image in my mind come so close to real!

I've saved the picture, and I hope you won't mind if I share a smaller version of this in a small post I'm making about Daneel, with full credits and a link here of course. 
Landylachs's avatar
Hi there, my apologies for my delayed reply! You're more than welcome to save the picture and use it in your post about Daneel. :) I'd also enjoy reading your post if you'd like to share the link!
Thanks for your kind words and I'm glad you enjoy the artwork! It's always a pleasure to meet fellow fans of Daneel. :)
76AMS's avatar
Hi! I sent you a note with the link, hope you got it! ^_^
Landylachs's avatar
I did, thank you! Just replied. :)
Catbar's avatar
Beautiful!  And l LOVE Daneel with brown eyes - so much more exotic and sensual, like he might be Eurasian/mixed-race.  Mmmm - those 'artificially real' eyes in which to lose one's heart completely.
Landylachs's avatar
Thanks for your kind words! I'm happy you're a fan of Daneel and like this portrait of him. :) I very much need to draw more of him sometime, ahh. Daneel deserves all the fan art!
GiskardReventlov42's avatar
I'm not sure why everyone is shocked that his hair is brushed backward. It's described in all of the books as being brushed backward with no part. So, the artist hit the nail on the head.
And, if anything, Data is inspired by Daneel, not the other way around. ;)

I love this, and I'm glad to see so many people that enjoy the Robot Series.
Landylachs's avatar
I would be very surprised in Data was not inspired in part by Daneel, especially since they mention Asimov in Datalore. :)

Happy you like it! Hopefully I can do more artwork for it sometime.
JaidanWolf's avatar
Actually, in the books, Daneel DOES have blue eyes. It's not just a fan interpretation :)

However, eye color aside, this is an absolutely beautiful and perfect portrayal of Daneel. I love that he has that alien look...a man, but an almost ethereal one. Gorgeous job!
Landylachs's avatar
Haha, yeah, I looked it up after doing the picture, and found out that they're described as brown in the first book, and blue in the third book. One of the rare times where a change in eye color can be completely canon, due to robotic eyes. I thought that was a nice little touch by Asimov, whether deliberate or not. :)

Thanks for much for your kind words, I'm happy you like the artwork! I've long wanted to do more Asimov-inspired artwork, hopefully this will be the year *crosses fingers*
JaidanWolf's avatar
Oh wow, I just looked up an online version of Caves of Steel in order to do a quick scan and yep, I see brown eyes mentioned at least twice for Daneel. I totally forgot about that! He's described as having blue eyes in all of the other books, so that's how I picture him, whereas Lije is always said to have these intensely brown eyes, so I always saw it as a bit of a contrast. Lije the Earthman with the darker hair and eyes, and alien Daneel with the brighter hair and eyes. Maybe Asimov just confused himself along the way! LOL it's an amazing series though. I'm so disappointed that there are only 4 books (or 5 if you count I, Robot). It seems like there was still so much to explore there.

You did such a good job with this one, I'd love to see more Asimov artwork from you! I wish there was more Asimov artwork out there in general; he has such great material to work with. I'm in the process of doing my own set of Robot series images...right now, I'm doing my own versions of the covers for books and then I'll probably illustrate a few random scenes. I just reread the series recently so I'm kind of on a kick :P
AlrauneFlower's avatar
Perfect, he's just as I imagined. I REALLY love Daneel
Landylachs's avatar
Thank you! He's definitely one of my all-time favorite characters in any media :)
AHH I've been meaning to do another one of him, or one with him and Elijah, ONE OF THESE DAYS
I have some Daneel sketches from a while ago, maybe I should just upload them into scraps, they're getting a little too old to be finished properly at this point
AlrauneFlower's avatar
Well, I'll be waiting ;-)
Landylachs's avatar
You inspired me to upload one of the sketches to my scraps xD
Still want to do a new, updated version of either him or Lije. I hope I find time to soon. :)
AlrauneFlower's avatar
Can't wait to see it! :-)
boltonbastard's avatar
This is absolutely gorgeous. You captured perfectly everything in Daneel that is intriguing, pensive and yet somewhat soft. I love it.
Landylachs's avatar
Thanks a lot, glad you enjoy it! I'm always happy to hear from a fellow Asimov/Daneel fan. ;)
boltonbastard's avatar
It's hard to read the series without falling a little in love with Daneel, he's definitely one of the most eye-catching and elaborate characters. (: Although to be quite honest I'm more in a bit of a Gladia Delmarre kick myself at the moment, (I have no idea why).
Landylachs's avatar
I definitely agree! It's what makes him so difficult to draw, but fun to try. I enjoyed seeing how Gladia's character developed from the second book to the third. Which aspects about her do you enjoy the best?
boltonbastard's avatar
Wow, where to start... Her development is definitely a big part of it. I recently reread 'The Naked Sun' so it's fresher for me, but I like that she was very openly emotional, in contrast to all the other Solarians who act like they have sticks up their arses all the time. It made her socially deviant, really. One of my favourite scenes is when she makes her magnetic art-thingy without quite understanding how it works, "painting" her own abstract impression of Baley based solely on instinct.

Also, the personality aspects that show more in the 'Robots of Dawn', when she went on to take her own decisions and initiatives, are quite awesome. I like that she's able to keep everyone in line, haha, and her stoicism. Even though Aurora fits her down to a T there's always that continuous feeling of stigma going on about her too, not sexually anymore but sentimentally as well.

Also although I don't like to talk to her just in relation to other characters, she has some interesting relationships besides the obvious Baley and Fastolfe. I have a particular soft spot for her very creepysweet dynamic with Dr. Leebig pre- 'The Naked Sun' (nobody ever pays him any attention at all, but he's totally my favourite...I could wax poetry on that pairing, haha). Sadly one thing I miss about Asimov's writing is deeper character study, since some psychological things he touches upon just very lightly would be interesting to explore.

WOW, I just ranted. And I'd keep going if I hadn't got to go, hahah! So sorry. Pray tell, what do you enjoy the most about Daneel? :D
Landylachs's avatar
I'm so sorry my reply is so late ;-; It's difficult for me to cohesively articulate what makes the Daneel character so appealing, which resulted in postponing my response for an inexcusable length of time. xD

I loved reading your analysis of Gladia! She really is one of the singular characters who jumps outside the boundaries of social norms, no matter which planet she is on. And also of Dr. Leebig - you're right, I don't think I've heard anyone show interest in that pairing, which is intriguing! I'd be interested in hearing more on your thoughts of him!

As for Daneel, I think part of what I enjoyed the most about him was the development of what are, by the third book, properly called "emotions," and his gradual realization and respect for not wholly logical thought processes. What I really like is here you have this totally logical creature, programmed and completely ruled by logic, and despite all circuitry he manages to not only gain respect for the, at times, illogical nature of humans, but arguably grow respect and feel fondness for it.

I read his relationship with Elijah as his relationship with humanity, so for me the relationship between the two is symbolic of the struggles between the illogical nature of humanity vs theoretically pure logic, and there was something comforting in having those two forces not only coexisting peacefully, but actually complement each other. It made the novels feel very humanist, which is optimistic and rare in science fiction, but is probably my favorite sub-genre (and I'm sure why I'm also very fond of Star Trek: TOS and TNG, even if TNG can be a little too rose-lensed at times).

Getting past any symbolism, I also really like how Elijah is able to trigger emotions in Daneel. The way the book presented it made it seem like Daneel did not have any real emotions at his genesis, but that they slowly developed due to the increasing complexities of his interactions with people, but especially due to his interactions with Elijah (I guess it can be argued that Fastolfe added them later or upgraded his programming, but it's never clarified, so free interpretation! :D). By Elijah simply by being human, that was enough to turn a machine ruled by logic into something that can feel, something that is in itself a little more human. Again, it's very humanist. It's also why I'm sure people love the Spock and Kirk dynamic, but I read Asimov first before Star Trek, so Daneel and Elijah hold a special place for me. :D
Bimtav's avatar
YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS. Thank you for this :)
Landylachs's avatar
You're welcome! ;)
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