Monday, July 28, 2008

Oro Iwin: Iya Korin

This character was actually done in the 100 demons scroll section, but I decided to redo her with better execution and an actual explanation of who she is. She is the 'singing lady' or Iya Korin (in Yoruba), who was cast out of her village somewhere in old Oyo because of an age old transgression; She gave birth to twins, which according to old Yoruba customs meant that the mother had an affair with a man besides her husband. She was cast out of the village into the forest of Irunmale where she roams to this day, singing an agonizingly dolorous tune trying to allay the perpetual screams of her unfortunate children.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Oro Iwin: Fere Baale

This fellow was a fun one to illustrate and his name literally translates to 'Flute Landlord.' He is similar to the Pied Piper except that instead of mice this Iwin Oro leads humans deep into the forest with his his ethereal tune to be transformed into one of his enigmatic race. All that hear his mesmeric tune never leave the forest again.

Oro Iwin: Madame Koin Koin

Here is a lady Yoruba Oro Iwin for a change. Her name was Headmistress Ina Kere (small fire) and she stems from an old tale that most Nigerian school kids know, but here is my telling of the old tale.
She was once the headmistress of a prominent school in the old Oyo kingdom in Yoruba land. She was of course very strict and puritanical, as her name implies. So on a hot day the students of her school grew tired of their Headmistress' wrath and hesitantly dared one amongst them to retaliate. It turned out to be the headmistress' little son who was instructed to steal his mother's shoe. Unfortunately, he was successful and all the students knew this when they could hear cries of pain. The hot afternoon ground scorched the Headmistress' feet as she looked for her stolen shoe. It turned out that hearing his mother's cries the headmistress' son fled into the forest nearby for fear of a swift and painful reprimand. In time the boy did not return, and a determined and angry Headmistress Ina Kere followed in search of her lost son all the while calling out.
They never returned, and it was said that hunters and travelers over the years could hear cries of anger slowly turn to cries of sorrow. Till this day kids in Nigerian schools (especially kids in boarding houses in the middle of nowhere) hear the spirit of Headmistress Ina Kere, (which she came to be known as) calling out to her lost son all the while the eerie, paralyzing 'koin koin' sound ringing from her one shoe as she slowly wanders through the night. Today she is popularly known as Madame Koin Koin.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008


Here are the wire frames my brother requested earlier. They are screen snapshots so please excuuse the quality. The wire frame is overlaid over the normal map.

Test normal mapped artisan head

These are normal map tests for the previously shown model. The final normal map will be sculpted in zbrush. This was just a quick test to see if I could pull of normal mapping successfully on the character (it being the first time I've used the process). Any comments or crits are welcome.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Oro Iwin: Baba Itaniro

Here is the newest edition to my list of Iwin Oro characters. His name is Baba Itaniro (Father of stories or the storyteller). I realized while working on this guy that I'm facing the same dilemma I encountered when I was doing the 100 demons scroll. The demons that were myth- related in the scroll were a great challenge because there is such a lack of visual information on what Yoruba mythological creatures and deities look like and also the literary accounts vary, or are very sparse, however I believe this is why I enjoy creating them so much. I am able to infuse the character and visual identity without much of a preconceived mental fog, I also believe they look a little more unique than say if I would have referenced a design from some established visual source or the other. That said though, when I do look for visual info I look to Yoruba sculpture (Ife, Benin, Nok, Oyo, etc), a lot of character can be derived from those iconic looking sculptures.