Sunday, 21 July 2013

Alice Gerbod Illustration


The You Are What You Ate team at Wakefield Museum asked me for a drawing of Alice Gerbod for their travelling interactive display pod which will move around libraries in the Wakefield area. Having done characters for them in the past, I said Yes.

First sketches; pencil on tracing paper. Reversing the character for posture. Sounds easy but before that came some costume guidance from the Museum and lot of internet research on 14th Century medieval women. 


Time was spent 'noodling' with pencils and pen trying to find a way in to the character. Tracing paper is great for this and I had soon gone though 10 sheets of A4. Impoverished and malnourished, probably a sufferer of seasonal scurvy and struggling to get by snaring a rabbit or two. First thoughts from the Museum team at this point were she was too rounded for the 'poor' Alice character.    

She looked too gnarly, less arthritic hands and bent posture. Clothing looks good, but perhaps slightly too long. Trailing skirts was something of a status indicator.

 The dead rabbit was not working for me, (it's hard enough drawing live ones let alone carcasses) so the suggestion that it be replaced by firewood (more accurate to her record in the Manor Court Rolls) was okay by me.


Could she have a bit more of a smile, and finally there is Alice Gerbod.

A quick tidy up of the pencil drawing...
And then digital colour applied over the top using Photoshop. Colour recommendations came from the team:

Apron, headwear – natural linen colour (pale beige)
Shoes –brown
Dress – brown or a madder red (a dull, brownish, ochre orange).

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