Here’s how I think the Decans of the Zodiac were meant to be used as a program for training illuminators and illustrators, once upon a time: At left here, is the original whiteboard illustration of the Decan of Libra that represents “the strong African”, and it’s quite possibly the worst illustration I’ve ever done. But further down, on the right, is the next iteration of it — a pencil sketch I’m doing for my Dad’s birthday. Here, the theme is much more fully developed, and I’ve added the monkey which represents the Moon Mansion on the day of his birth, the 17th (a symbol of protection, and guardianship of resources, and success in growing wealth). So, these two systems happen to come together nicely here.
This is the essence of the drawing program. The first drawing or illustration one does of a Decan or a Moon Mansion is likely to be the worst drawing you ever do of that subject. But, each iteration will become better, and more thoroughly developed. As you keep doing the signs, one’s skills as an illustrator and graphic designer get better, and one’s abilities to create new images develops further. There is a real connection between the consistent, cyclical effort to create the images, and the growth of one’s abilities. And there is a very real magic in that.
As I develop this image with blackline and color, I’ll be posting additional pictures of this image, so that you’ll be able to see how my skills have improved and I’ve grown my abilities as an artist through the use of this ancient-medieval design program. I’m kind of curious, myself, to see how it has grown my students’ abilities over the course of the year. But we’ll see.
My Father’s birthday is Saturday, and in honor I’m making this illustration of the second decan of Libra, his birth-window. It also contains a monkey, as part of a reference to the moon mansion of his birthday.