Tabernaculous

Designs for Seder-Masochism continue with the “furniture of the Tabernacle.” Since I want to show the Hebrews out in the desert fighting with Yahweh and each other, I had to make all this anally-specific Tabernacle decor. For all the important details the Old Testament seems to have left out, it is packed with rigidly precise instructions for building, decorating, and furnishing a Tabernacle. Leaving us today with Tabernacle Nerds who make Tabernacle drawings, Tabernacle plans, model Tabernacles, and critiques of other Tabernacle Nerds who iz doing it wrong.

And I just know some Tabernacle Nerd will tell me my Tabernacle is wrong, and back it up with scripture. It’s like Trekkies who cite Star Trek verse and number, except the genre isn’t labelled science fiction.

All this stuff has to do is evoke a sense of Tabernacle, a certain Tabernaculosity if you will.

I haven’t even started the tent walls yet, because finding the color instructions will require me to re-read some of the dullest passages ever written (unless you’re an interior designer).

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Hebrews

I designed some Hebrews for Seder-Masochism. Doing all 12 tribes was too daunting, but I’m calling the additions to Moses and Aharon Fatiman, Menorah, and Asher* respectively.

There aren’t a lot of representational images in Jewish art – not compared to rich delicious pagan religious art traditions like Hinduism and Catholicism – but there are a lot of visual symbols, which hopefully people will recognize. (The Hand of Fatimah isn’t Jewish per se, but it is popular in the region that includes Israel.)

I also made a little “before and after” illustrating what happened to the Levites in Exodus (hint: the Levites wrote Exodus):

*The Tribe of Asher is usually symbolized by a tree. I further simplified by using a leaf. Lately I’ve been reading Merlin Stone’s When God Was a Woman, which I’m enjoying very much despite its archeology being out of date. Asherah was a popular Goddess in Canaan during the Hebrew reign, and she was often symbolized by a tree. So when I was doing some research on the 12 Tribes, I was a little stunned to see one called Asher, with a tree symbol. Maybe these were some of the Israelites who pissed off Yahweh by worshipping idols – that would be cool, but we’ll never know, since they’re Lost.

Time for a Cartoon!

This outstanding use of animation and design to illustrate otherwise difficult or dry concepts is by Dermot O’Connor.

Brown Outlines FTW

See, this is why I leave myself open to comments, even though they can cause discomfort. Sasha Rubel made an excellent suggestion. On areas that were already brown, I used gold outlines.

Ziz of a Different Color

Two Zizzes, actually. The first has black outlines, which are thicker in the animated gif than the source file:

The second has no outlines, reminding me of 1930’s travel posters.

Maybe this Ziz is on its way to visit Palestine.

File:Visitpalestine.jpg

More Zizzy color

Slight improvements? Or exprovements? Either way, I’m still fiddling and posting the Ziz as it develops.

I’ve only just learned that if you post a work in progress, everyone wants to tell you how to change it. Not once did I request advice, but advice is clearly what I’ll get if I post unfinished work (or finished work, come to think of it). I’m free to ignore any or all of it; everyone on the interwebs is just talking, they don’t have any power over me unless I give it to them. I can “take what I like and leave the rest” – and sometimes someone offers something useful. (Of course praise is always useful! It’s like water and sunshine to a plant.) Instead of criticizing the critics, which was my initial impulse, I’m remembering that it’s my choice to post these W-I-P’s, and my choice to accept or ignore people’s “helpful suggestions”, and that I’m actually in control here.

If I can learn to do that here, I’ll be better at living with criticism elsewhere. As my daily prayer says:

…forgive us our criticisms
As we forgive those who critique against us

So whether you’re criticizing or praising or ignoring what I post here, I’m benefiting by getting a little stronger and growing up a little more. And hey look – a ZIZ!

Ziz color test

This is a test. This is only a test.

Birdy Ziz II

I can’t stop! And I haven’t even added color yet. This one replaces the sin-wave wings with the stiffer wings I made before, adjusted for a 24-frame cycle.

Birdy Ziz

This one has a beak and a different mane, a whole new head design actually. Also: dotted lines everywhere.

In case you’re wondering, all these modifications aren’t in pursuit of the Perfect Ziz. Any of the ones I’ve made so far would be plenty adequate for storytelling, and my motto is, “Adequate is Good Enough.” No, I’m just pulled along by curiosity right now. “What would happen if I did _______?” This kind of open-ended fiddling gets a lot of us artists in trouble – it’s addictive, and also “safe,” not risky like designing a whole new character, or actually telling a story, or moving on and getting a project finished. Hence my motto.

That said, I’m indulging myself right now. Plus I’m getting great exercise ignoring criticism, something I’ll have to do lots more of in the coming years.

Another Day, Another Ziz

This one’s for Ravi Swami. It needed a little movement in the neck and head, but I thought the feathers were too much. Of course I might redesign the head, so all this will have to be re-done, but who cares, I’m crazy.

Ridin’ a Fast Ziz

Those previous Zizzes are 36-frame cycles at 24-frames-per-second; each cycle lasts 1.5 seconds. Above is a faster Ziz, on a 24-frame cycle. Because I left various components spaced per the 36-frame version, this one’s a lot more “active” – curvier, wavier, more energetic – as well as being faster.

Building a Better Ziz

Do you have any idea how many versions of these I generate in a day? A lot. I can’t possibly post them all. But here’s another one that I think improves upon the last one, by adjusting the timing of the legs and synchronizing the pairs of wings.

Progress of the Ziz

So many details, so many things that can be tweaked in animation. This version is sinuous and sin-wavy, including trunk and tail. It took a full day to make these changes that may hardly be noticed by some. But, I am curious, and I’m into the kinds of wave animation that are possible in Flash, that I didn’t fully explore in Sita Sings the Blues because this learning takes time.

Leviathinfinity

The primordial sea monster makes an infinity sign.

The Stomping Behemoth

It moves! Animation test for my Behemoth design.