Dorothy – The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

A slight change of direction

In taking a break from a couple of long term projects, I decided to try something a little different, something that was a little more relaxed, something simply. In the process of choosing a subject, by sheer coincidence, I think I’ve have found a whole new path I wish to take my relief work down?

I’ve been a great fan of old book illustrations since I was kid, there’s certain quality of draughtsmanship that I admire, a quality that I feel is lost in this modern hyper-realism age that we find ourselves in. A great free resource to view these kind of works is the massive Project Gutenberg, a resource of 45857 publications that are in the public domain. Its here that I un-earthed  an illustration from 1900 first edition of “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz”.


For me there are times when a project screams out to be sculpted – this was certainly the case with this illustration by W. W. Denslow. Yet it is not just the figure of Dorothy that cried out to been sculpted, I wanted the whole composition.

The plan with this project is to produce the relief of Dorothy,  colourise the background, then place the figure on top and frame it.

The figure has now been roughed out and fired, it now needs to be refined and sharpened up.

DorothyThe background will be manipulated in Photoshop to colourise it and to facilitate removal the original image of Dorothy. The old text will be replaced with new shaper version (in the original font) that will fade out towards the base of the paragraph.

Its very tempting to paint the background by hand the traditional way, but because of the manipulation needed to remove to adjust certain items, it only make sense to produce the whole image digitally then produce a high quality print from the file.

The process of producing this figure has been little more than 30 hours work, I have perhaps another 10 to go in refining it. The timing on the background will consume a certain amount of time as there is elements of manipulating it that I am unfamiliar with – so as to finishing time I’m a little uncertain?

The project as a whole, I feel has opened up a whole new field of resource that I can delve into for ideas. I love the idea of adding relief work to backgrounds, as it adds a whole new dimension to my work. As to the subject matter? Its in the public domain (ideal), it the subject matter is something I love and genuinely feel that others will love too.

So onwards (but this time on a slightly different path) and upwards. Lets see how this all pans out?


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1 Comment

  1. Kjeld Buchholtz

    Rich: Surprising as always, and very delicate work, if this and the Amy Johnson bust will be available comercial, do let me know, I’ve fallen in love with the Amy Johnson bust, and would love to try my brush on her.
    Kindest regards
    Kjeld Buchholtz

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