June 26, 2013 Perseus and Medusa – beginning stages Posted In: Art and Design

I remember watching Clash of the Titans as a kid, and the scene in which Perseus fights Medusa, featuring brilliant stop motion animation by special effects legend Ray Harryhausen, scared the piss out of me. But I’ve always been fascinated by these characters, particularly Medusa, turned into a hideous monster for the crime of being a rape victim. Oh, you silly Greeks.


I took some reference shots and posed some models in Daz 3D to get them just so, and I was fairly happy with the characters. My first pass at the background, however, was not so great. The vertical columns are way too static and straight in contrast to the diagonal, flowing foreground action. With some great suggestions from my illustration colleagues I ditched this background and attempted a new, more dynamic composition.


The problem is that working with biologists and engineers for so long has the left-brained science nerd inside me yelling “No, no, no; Greek stone columns weren’t designed to sustain an off-vertical angle; they would collapse under their own weight with unbuttressed support.” So my right-brained artist is going “Shut up, science nerd. I just drew a woman with living snake hair; I don’t need an engineering lesson. Give me your lunch money.”
The new background silhouette, sketched digitally, turned out way better. I’m going to print this, break out the tracing paper, and pencil in some ruins.
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  1. writingbolt • September 4, 2013

    Rape victim?? Wasn't she punished for sleeping WILLINGLY with Poseidon in Athena's temple? Why would she be punished for being a victim? Just as Arachne was punished for daring to say she was a better weaver than Athena. Essentially, both women suffered for "testing" the gods. If Poseidon had been a mortal (and the woman a god), he would have been the one punished. Instead, he got away with his misdeed.

    The first set of pillars are just as nice as the one you went with. But, I can see a very different color scheme with the first. I see blue sky and white clouds behind clean-er white pillars. But, that wouldn't suit the scene of them meeting in the volcano brimming with steam, lava and sulfur/brimstone.

    I am not sure which was creepier, Medusa in that movie or the one in Land of the Lost who turned human to trick the family. I have a strange fantasy with Medusa:P I find her as scary as she is intriguing. Like Scorpios. Reply

  2. scatterbrain73 • September 4, 2013

    Whoa, calm down. Some versions of the story have her being raped by Poseidon, some have Poseidon "gaining her favor" in the temple, and other versions have her making vain boasts like you say. Whatever, who knows? Mythology is full of stories about injustice towards women. Reply

    • writingbolt • September 4, 2013

      I was being calm...I think. :)

      Yea, lots of stories about abused and misguided women. The same happens with Japanese myths about ghost women. But, it's usually more about how they died than how they lived with gods.

      I guess I just saw the only logical story as the one being about the woman who willingly slept with Poseidon in Athena's temple and was thus punished. Had Poseidon been dealt some sort of punishment, I might look at it differently.

      Did you ever see that episode of Land of the Lost? Reply

  3. scatterbrain73 • September 6, 2013

    My bad; must've misinterpreted. That's the internet for you :-) No, I haven't seen that episode. I never really got into that show, although I'm told it's a classic. Too many shows to watch leaves not enough time for drawing! Reply

  4. writingbolt • September 6, 2013

    I grew up being afraid of that series. I used to cover my eyes every time the fake T-Rex walks up to the cave and roars at the camera. It was scary! But, for some strange reason, I remember seeing Medusa and becoming a bit infatuated:P She was mysterious and dangerous. I can't even remember what she looked like. But, I remember her changing her form. There was a similar experience with that Space 2001 series, I think. Some sort of alien shapeshifter who turned from a woman to a big "wookie" of a thing with big eyes and claws. Oh, the odd things I remember. Like the old Thing cartoon with Benji and his magic ring.

    Right. However, it was all the TV I grew up with that fueled my art:P Reply

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