The Mighty Roc

Richard Bell's Wild WestYorkshire nature diary

previous Saturday, 18th November, 2006, page 2 of 2 next



In one scene, the mighty Roc, the giant mythical bird of Eastern legend, swoops down and carries off Sinbad.

I wanted to make it as large as possible so I drew it to fit head and body into the 8ft x 4ft piece of hardboard we'd found to use.

It looked like an oversized cockatoo!

I was trying to get the majestic power of a bald eagle but this one (right) looks like a smug cartoon character. Even adding a few crests to turn it into a Pheonix didn't seem to put it into the realm of legend.

Roc heads

I realised that I needed to go for something symbollic rather than naturalistic, so I drew this one with heraldic eagles in mind - the sort you'd see on a coat-of-arms.

Attempting to fit head, body and tail into the rectangle of the sheet of hardboard was giving me owl-like proportions so, giving up on the eagle, I've gone for something more like a kestrel . . .





When David our joiner cut out the silhouette I realised it had turned out like that of Batman.

I folded the paper (left) as a simple way of blocking out the design; when I'm standing up I always think the half-way up point on a board is higher than it actually is. I painted those three horizontal folds on the board to divide it into quarters then painted each rectangle from head to down to tail.

The wings are cut out of another sheet of hardboard and we're intending to have them pivoting on a bolt, perhaps even with some kind of pulley so that they'll flap as the bird appears.

I've painted the feathers in flourescent orange which should give a suitably impressive glowing effect when lit with ultra-violet.

I won't be surprised if one or two young children don't have to be taken out of the auditorium in tears when this monster budgie swoops into the story just before the interval.

That happened with the giant head of the Wizard of Oz I once designed for the Pageant Players! It had glowing eyes, it was lit eerily from below and the mouth actually worked. I think we even had some dry ice smoke billowing around it. next

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