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Earthsea: The Hands

EDIT: I spent half a day taking decent shots of these images for my portfolio, so I'm uploading a new file - the colour balance is much better in this one (and it did look spiffy in print :) )

Another illustration for "The Wizard of Earthsea" by Ursula K Le Guin.

Ged, aka Sparrowhawk, decides to chase the shadow he released into the world, rather than be chased by him. He sets out from Gont, is shipwrecked on a tiny island inhabited by two very old people - a meeting that will prove deeply significant for the rest of his life - then sets out in a boat made from pieces of shipwreck, and held together more by his spells than anything else. The shadow lures him into this weird dark and spooky place, then, when Ged realises he is trapped, and turns the boat around, he suddenly appears behind him. I always thought that was one of the severely spookiest moments in the entire book.

Hope I've managed to capture some of it at least!

Oil on canvas

Ged/Sparrowhawk, and all places, objects and magic in Earthsea, are owned and operated by Ursula K Le Guin: [link]
Image details
Image size
2856x2248px 4.55 MB
Shutter Speed
1/250 second
Focal Length
40 mm
ISO Speed
Date Taken
Mar 10, 2010, 4:56:37 PM
© 2010 - 2021 Starsong-Studio
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lhumungus's avatar
Cool interpretation.
empressofmelnibone's avatar
As an avid Earthsea fanatic I can only say this; your art is fantastic!!!! Just, just please more. Everything is stunning. The watercolors and lighting had me staring at this piece in absolute awe. Just please do more, I beg of you.
Kokiri-Miji's avatar
Fantastic :) Its nice to see someone draw a picture that captures so much of the actual book and plot, rather than the things made after it :)
I had a moment placing Ged, but the simple shadow adds a lot. And the scenery is gorgeous :)
Starsong-Studio's avatar
Thanks! Yes, I consider myself a good oldfashioned illustrator, so I work from the texts, not from any screen adaptations.

Glad you like it! :)
SaucyPlebeian's avatar
This is absolutely amazing. I think this is an excellent representation of the book, not to mention a ringer for what I was imagining at this scene. Great colors, I really dig your style of painting.
Starsong-Studio's avatar
Wow, thank you - glad you like it! This painting seems to be a lot of people's favorite from the series I did. :)
SaucyPlebeian's avatar
Yes, I really enjoy it. I'm just now starting The Tombs of Atuan for the first time after all these years, so I won't let myself look at the other paintings in your Earthsea series and it is killing me. They look wonderful, so I expect to come back and fully enjoy the other paintings you've made, hahahahah.
Starsong-Studio's avatar
DON'T look at the pictures before reading Tombs of Atuan!!!!! It's a fabulous book and must not be spoiled. :)

The Farthest Shore will be ok, the pictures don't give away much. :)
SaucyPlebeian's avatar
Hahahah! Okay! My curiosity is intense now, but I think I'll have the book done in a day or two, so it'll stave off.
Dracorex4's avatar
((Okay, I apologise in advance for any rude or otherwise insensitive comments, because I'm just going to speak my mind now....))

My first impression? Woman in white sailing through a serene glade.

Which, as you can tell, is totally wrong given what you were aiming for. The colours of the overall scene are too bright. The sea shouldn't look so calm and reflect bright sunlight. I don't recall the cliffs being in full bloom. And while I understand that Ged was probably rather messy at that point, somehow the hair and what I presume was supposed to be ragged clothing just don't look right. And the shadow doesn't have a shadow, and thus shouldn't have a reflection in the water.

Despite all above, your painting skills actually are quite good. The greenery is detailed, the flowing water really looks like it's flowing, the reflections in the water are very nicely done.... the picture would be excellent, if it wasn't such a far cry from the scene you were aiming to portray.
Starsong-Studio's avatar
Actually, the picture represents the scene I was aiming to portray quite accurately.

But I guess everyone reads books differently.

The joy in looking at illustrations, for me, is to see other people's points of view.
vamp-kitty-meow's avatar
This is beautiful!
captainmania's avatar
I'm still planning on buying this print, but still evaluating my finances
Starsong-Studio's avatar
Are you going to be at Mygalaxi this weekend?
captainmania's avatar
nope, I haven't done that one yet, not prepared for that one yet.
SuperSmurgger's avatar
This incredibly awesome and outstanding !!! The colours are splendid and the water texture is neat !!
katshadow's avatar
I can't say that impressionism is my favorite style of painting, but even for that the reflection of the landscape and the boat is very well done.
Starsong-Studio's avatar
thank you! Well I wouldn't say it is really "impressionist" but I did do it after seeing an exhibition of Monet's paintings. :D
katshadow's avatar
It's not that it is impressionist so much as it just reminds me of that. Still really pretty though
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