Monday, June 24, 2013

Greater Amazon Jungle Troll

I want to revisit these to touch them up after I work on something else for a bit to clear my brain, but I present to you the Amazon Jungle Troll!

Males and females share the work in this peaceful, intelligent society of trolls which have become almost as much a part of the forest as the trees. They make simple clothing from the forest around them and live off the land, which coincidentally begins to live off them as well-- animals nest in their bent-tree headdresses and their cloaks begin to blossom with more than just the plants they are initially made from. 

I imagine these troll's golden age was right around the time of Pizarro's conquest of South America, and their largest grouping was in the forests around the Incan Civilization in the Peruvian Amazon. 

It can only be imagined, then, that the Spanish conquest of South America deeply affected these Jungle inhabitants' lives.

Push Yourself: The Writings of the Troll's Chieftain

"We heard the animals whispering of a new people. Not like the Incas, who farmed in their cities and warred only with arrows and spears.

These new people wore metal pots on their heads and rode strange animals. They would call us “trolls” and point to images in their books and maps of creatures growling in a land of white sand raining from the sky. They would have strange instruments that shot thunder and bows that shot faster and stronger than the Incas’. They would go on to do terrible things to this jungle and its inhabitants.

We did not think such a thing was possible; we lived in peace with the forests and its peoples, a land of lush green canopies and thundering rainstorms. Women and men alike hunted lazily with the children slung across their backs; nothing was a danger to us and we vowed to not be a danger to anything that does not threaten us, (except the minimum which we must eat to survive). The trees grew on our backs and the animals in them, and for as long as I have lived, (and that is a long time), we have been as much the forest as the trees. We move slowly and sleep soundly, wrapping leaves around the newborns and weaving ourselves blankets and cloaks from the leaves and vines. The children make hats of the rotten-fruit flowers, and snack on the insects that gather there. The men and women in the Inca villages and cities barely knew we existed; it was a balance tested by time and proven comfortable for all involved.

It was a shock when the first crossbow bolt pierced the bark-like skin of our people; when the men in metal hats shouted at us and pointed to their books and maps in horror. When the first of our kind swung a mighty hand and took the man off his feet. What had we done to deserve this? How had they discovered our home so deep in the forests? Why had we no choice but to defend ourselves but by hurting them? They did not speak our forests languages nor did they give us time to learn theirs.

They came through our clearing, the one in which we slept, with torches and crossbows and the loud cracks of what we would learn to call a gun. They pushed us to the edge of the forests. We were afraid. A few of our kind would try to pluck the men off the ground and keep them away from the weapons that hurt us, but they numbered more than our group and we continued to retreat, scared of these angry people. When we stepped out into the light and the hillside temples and farms of the Inca came into view they all but forgot this fight, left behind a few of their terrified own, and rode off in search of gold.

With heavy sighs we fled into the jungle, deeper and deeper still, many scarred by the knives and guns of the men—men we learned to call conquistadors." 

My illustration for this isn't nearly finished, so my first goal is to get it cleaned up and presentable!


  1. First off, I love the idea! Very original! And elements in the environment incorporated into the wardrobe is great. It gives a good feel of where these trolls live without actually having to show it. (Though, i think it goes without saying that wardrobe is one of your biggest strengths!)

    I think Kristina mentioned this in a previous comment, but the stance is kind of confusing. I thought he was sitting on something, it's kind of hard to tell, because I don't think he's be able to balance well like that without something else under him! If he IS sitting on something, it should be included.

    I'm looking at the reference picture of the hulk, where he has the same wide stance. The big difference between the two, is that the Hulk is leaning forward, while you're guy's back is straighter. Probably why I figured he'd have to sit on something without falling backwards!

    I'm looking at the sketch you have along side the finished version of the chief, and I would have hoped you'd include another viewpoint, since the mother, child and extra illustration all have front views. (I know I only did 3/4 views for mine...I'm a bit of a hypocrite I know haha)

    I like where you're going with your extra illustration too! The composition is looking great, my eye goes from the conquistadors down the path towards the troll (like I'm charging towards the monster right along with them!)

    I might suggest a different placement for the arm though. The way he's holding the bow looks like he's gingerly plucking it out of the guy's hand. It almost looks like he's playing with a doll more than fighting for his life.

    I'm excited to see this finished! I know you've got a couple of commissions that are taking up most of your time, but if you ever come back to this one, please share!


  2. HI Brittney-

    I really love the thought and detail you put into developing your troll and his story. This is a very rich character, and certainly deserves continued exploration. I think Emily gave you some great feedback and look forward to seeing what you do with this character when you take it into account. IF you take some time with this aspect and correcting the stance, this could be a great piece.

    I want to add that I can tell you really paying attention to specifics on aspects of the design- such as choosing a very particular tree bark to make the skin different on both trolls. I think with your original especially that attention to detail can be taken much further. Think about how that texture will not only wrap around the form but affect the silhouette. You started experimenting with different brushes for the moss- see if you can do the same with the bark-making it look rough and cracked.