Apollo and Hyacinthus Picture

Hyacinthus was a beautiful Spartan prince, so handsome that he had gods fighting over him. Having his pick of anyone he wanted, he chose Apollo: the most attractive of the Gods. (Figures, right?)

Well, Zepherus, the wind god, was jealous. One day Hyacinthus and Apollo were out in a field near the woods throwing the discus and playfully competing (you know: male bonding), Zepherus blew Apollo's discus off course so that it hit Hyacinthus in the head.

Hyacinthus died, and Apollo was devastated. However, Apollo promised that the world would always remember Hyacinthus's beauty (and blood), and created the Hyacinth flower as a memorial.

A note about technique: This is probably the most complicated piece I've done so far, and also represents the most time I've spent on a single piece so far (about 10 hours).

After coming up with the idea, my first task was to find reference photos for individual elements. I used reference photos for Apollo (a photo of Tyler Southwick in a similar pose) and for Hyacinthus (a photo of Lucas Kerr in a similar pose), as well as for the flowers and yes, I even scanned the web for photos of head injuries so that I could do a realistic blood pattern on his head.

I then made a kind of "collage" of reference photos, to get an idea of how they would fit together.

My initial sketch of just the two figures was done on the Wacom tablet using Corel Painter 11, with simulated oil point. I then used airbrush, "smudging" and pastels to do shading and blending. At one point I OVER-blended it, so I loaded the image into Corel PhotoImpact to use the "find edges" and "sharpen" features, which then meant I had to go back and re-smudge the inevitable bad pixelation that happened as a result. The whole thing went through several iterations of drawing and blurring/blending.

Then, I added the flowers and the blood on the forehead, with additional touch-ups.

Finally, I drew in the surrealist / abstract "forest" in the background.
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