Graphite pencil illustration



This artwork began as part of my Unit 3 folio for VCE studio arts. I was researching myths, and vaguely remembered one explaining why ravens had black feathers. It went along these lines: Apollo was with a mortal lover. He left her for a second to go… do something? Some kind of divine duty? I’m not entirely sure. She was pregnant at the time, so he told a white raven, Corvus, to keep an eye on her. Whilst Apollo was away, the mortal lover accepted the advances of another man. *Scandal!* When Corvus reported the event to Apollo, he was furious enough to scorch the raven’s white feather black. (There are a couple of different versions of this myth, but let’s go with this one for now.)

I have a particular little love for ravens and crows. So, I was immediately interested. It’s also not the most well-known Greek myths (it must be hard to contend with heroes like Herakles or Odysseus). So, through my art, I wanted to share this myth.

I was inspired by Caravaggio’s artwork “Medusa”. It’s a round artwork that depicts Medusa’s head. It takes place just moments after being decapitated by the hero Perseus (well, “hero”… read my poem “Mortal man depicted as the Monster” for my thoughts on this). I liked how the painting illustrated a fragment in time. That’s how I decided to illustrate the head of the raven moments after Apollo scorched its feathers.

Later, I decided I wasn’t going to use the concept as one of my finals for the class. However, I wasn’t willing to give the idea up. I completed the work in a bit over a week during the term 2 holidays.

Corvus was also turned into a constellation. I represented this through the geometric shapes and lines behind Corvus’ head. I felt this added a nice bit of detail to create a bit of unity between the background and the illustration.

I’m extremely happy with how the textures in the feathers turned out! This was something I was worried I wouldn’t be able to pull off. Apart from this worry, I didn’t really have too many problems during this process – which is always a bit of a relieve. A problem-free work is always nice once in a while.