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Starsong-Studio's avatar

Earthsea: Tombs of Atuan 1

... "a light under the hill"

My first completed illustration for Ursula Le Guin's "Earthsea" cycle. Let me know what you think!

This is the scene where Tenar and Ged first meet, from "The Tombs of Atuan". Read the books, I don't want to give you spoilers!

Earthsea, and the characters, names and places therein are owned and operated by Ursula Le Guin. [link]

oil on canvas
After trying out several other media, I think that is really what I like best. :D

EDIT: Since a few of you have commented that, alas, they don't know the story at all, I've written up a summary in my journal, have a look here: [link]

But be warned, it is one big spoiler if you were intending to read "Tombs of Atuan" at some stage!
Image details
Image size
3804x2795px 8.79 MB
Shutter Speed
1/250 second
Focal Length
130 mm
ISO Speed
Date Taken
Aug 31, 2010, 6:04:17 PM
© 2009 - 2021 Starsong-Studio
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lhumungus's avatar
Love this so much. The overall image looks like a monster's eye. It's like evil has them in it's sight and they are so much closer to danger than they even realize.

I wish so much there was half as much Le Guin fan art as there is for Harry Potter.
I created an account just to say so, is how impressed I am. :)
Starsong-Studio's avatar
:wow: Now *I* am impressed! :)
I also have a website btw, though the illustration section is on the list of *really needs to be updated* - which I hope to do over the next few weeks. [link]

This was the first image in the series I painted - it started quite spontaneously, and although I had already planned to do some Earthsea images, and drawn up a good many thumbnails, I had no intention to paint this picture when I started it - but it turned out just right! And you are right about the symbolism: dragon's eye, gaping mouth, and you might also read it as a yin and yang sort of thing.

I wish images always fell into place like that -- but I guess that is a bit too much to wish for. :)

cvrc11's avatar
Reall great picture, I love the moist, almost flesh-like walls of the Labyrinth, makes it really creepy and connect it to the Nameless Ones nicely. Only one weird thing: didn't Tenar first see Ged in the Undertomb, which is a huge, open cavern, rather than the narrow passages in your painting?
Starsong-Studio's avatar
There is a cave to your left. >duuuude<
HeidiCeleghin's avatar
I absolutely love the Earthsea books and it is wonderful to see someone creating artwork informed by those amazing novels.
Your use of shadow and light really captures these scene in the book. I especially think that your use of painterly strokes and mark-making work in the piece.
nienor's avatar
Yes! It's so rare to find pictures of these awesome stories. You did a great job!
Starsong-Studio's avatar
Oh btw, I've just started an Ursula Le Guin group - please join or watch us, if you're interested! There are a few people here on DA who have been illustrating Earthsea. :)

nienor's avatar
ok, I submitted a request :)
nienor's avatar
Liamythesh's avatar
you rendered the light source and its effects very well.
Shearin's avatar
Beautful illustration! I love the Earthsea books and your picture fits the scene very well! :heart:
bluesunsetfox's avatar
I like this piece. When I saw the thumbnail though, I thought it was a picture of a big dragon eye. XD that's what it looks like from a distance... Great use of color btw ;)
eye-am's avatar
This is beautiful!
vihmakivi's avatar
I'm pretty much in love with your paintings. They all look so "dense" in a sense that there's so much to look in them. All the different shades and the marvellous play of light...

I've read all the Earthsea books btw, but several years ago, so I don't remember much. Tehanu was probably my favourite too. I was so thrilled by that book that I couldn't stop reading it in my math class and my teacher confiscated it =D
Starsong-Studio's avatar
Awww thank you, thank you! :aww:

Yup the light worked out well in this one, didn't it? Sometimes it seems more fortunate accident than planning, though I suppose years of photography and lately, sketching from life a lot, are finally beginning to tell! :D

I've been painting for as long as I can think, really, carried right on from childhood, but I never bothered much about technique until fairly recently. I think with these Earthsea paintings I've reached some sort of watershed for myself... where I feel I can confidently step up and say yes, this is professional level work and not just some - however talented, perhaps - amateur stuff.

If the fave count here on DA is any indication, at least. :lol:

I never thought I'd ever get there -- seeing that I decided to focus on music instead when I was younger -- but hey, it's never too late to have a second artistic career! (perhaps) :D
vihmakivi's avatar
You're welcome =)

I sometimes feel the same way, that all my drawings that look nice enough for me to upload them are actually a fortunate accident. You have painted for as long as you can remember and I have drawn from the moment I could hold a pencil. I went to an art school for nine years and got a reasonable amount of teaching, but I can't really focus on the "right technics". I've always drawn the way I like and the way that fits me. So I'm not sure if I'm still an amateur or not ;)

Well, but I can certainly see how much effort you have put into this painting and hell, yeah, of course the fave count is an indication! You sure have a reason to be proud of yourself.
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