Tiny pieces of history of art
Cave art - Giants, aliens and astronauts
We call it art nowadays but for our ancestors, it was not art at all. And until today we are not quite sure what was the purpose of cave paintings. We might have an idea but in the end, it's just a guess based on the data we have. We have rituals, and prayers for good hunting, but also paintings looking like monsters, aliens or astronauts.
One could argue if we just want it to be true that aliens do exist and the theory of human evolution is wrong or maybe our fantasy is playing tricks on us. Either way, there is something mysterious in a lot of these paintings and we as humans are always trying to reason it because we are scared of new things, things we do not understand.
But here is the question, was the brain in this era so evolved that our ancestors would have such a fantasy? Did they even have the time to just randomly paint and decorate caves? Or as mentioned in many resources, did they just use some natural narcotics which caused them to have strange imaginations?
One thing is for sure, it was very important, spiritual and symbolic, for our ancestors. Remember, at these times they didn't have domesticated animals which mean that they needed to carry a lot of materials by themselves and plan everything in advance - even bringing the light with them.
If we look at the paintings in Lascaux, we find symbols and animals mostly, but in Tassili n’Ajjer, there is a totally different world. We have paintings that look like from another world, or better to say - a future which we can imagine but how could our ancestors thousands of years ago?
We will probably never figure out what these meant, we can just speculate and try to uncover this puzzle in the decades following.
Cave art is a very important part of the history of art, the paintings illustrate the human needs to communicate and leave a mark for the future - to help, guide and send the message about something so important that it needs a permanent representation.
The creator took into account the rock formations so that they could communicate the viscosity of the animal. The artist used the protruding rocks to exaggerate the features of animals and make them appear as though they were three dimensional.
We could say that our ancestors were graphic designers in a way - using effective communication with visual solutions. .
Did you know?
- African tribe Tuaregs calls the region of Tassili n’Ajjer, Djabaren – meaning giants. The Tuareg (c. 4 mil ppl) inhabit the Saharan regions of North Africa- Tuareg is an Arabic term meaning abandoned by God.
- Among the frescos, there are illustrations not only of human-like creatures, but of hybrids as well – such as an antelope with the body of an elephant, or an ostrich with the face of a lion
- Bastar region in India - humans in prehistoric times may have seen or imagined beings from other planets - The most famous legend tells of the rohela people (the small ones), who used to come to Earth from the sky in a round shaped flying vehicles and abduct one or two people who were never to be seen again
- Cave paintings that were black and white were called monochromatic paintings, while on the other hand a polychrome painting was made of coloured pigments and shading
- Four teenagers accidentally discovered Lascaux caves in 1940 (some sorces say that four French boys were looking for a treasure when they encountered a vast underground cavern whose walls were adorned with some 2,000 ancient paintings and engravings. At first, they agreed to explore it secretly but then they sent word to an expert who verified its authenticity; other sources are stating that these four teenagers were actually following a dog chasing a rabbit hole)
On the reading list
- Giants: The Men Before Humans, giants, conspiracy theories or simply our imagination?
- Aliens in Ancient India, the remains of rock paintings that are giving us chills
Cave paintings are the earliest form of human Graphic Design. They are the first pictographs that humans used to visually communicate. They go back thousands and thousands of years ago to what was recently discovered - 40,000 BC. The oldest form of a cave painting is the outline of human hands pressed against the cave’s cavernous rock.
The ancient cave paintings had inspired many things in graphic design, probably because we are drawn to contours, simplicity, and shading.
This logo was designed for a London based literary agency. You can see the use of contour and simple design, both reminiscent of cave paintings.
Prehistoric Color Palette
Our ancestors used the pigments available in the vicinity. These pigments were earth pigments, (minerals limonite and hematite, red ochre, yellow
ochre and umber), charcoal from the fire (carbon black), burnt bones (bone black) and white from grounded calcite (lime white).
Prehistoric dwellers may have discovered that, unlike the dye colors they were using and which were derived from animal and vegetable sources, the color that came from iron oxide deposits in the earth would not fade with the changing environment.
Picking the colors
We can use the photos and pick our basic colors to try to recreate a cave painting, you can either use color picker in your favourite software or use one of the online tools from this post.
Your own cave art
To recreate the feeling, you will probably need a texture for your artwork and some charcoal brushes.
🖌️Procreate Charcoal Brushes [FREE]
🖌️Procreate Charcoal brushes [PAID]
Cave art competition
The deadline is the 10th of June. You can send the finished artwork to email@example.com
A winner will be announced on 11/06/2022.
- no age restriction
- digital or traditional artwork
- just stick to the topic CAVE ART
WITH TONY BANCROFT
Tony Bancroft is an animator and director, with over 30 years of experience in the animation industry. When working with Disney Studios, Tony co-directed the feature film Mulan and created characters like Pumbaa, from The Lion King; Kronk, from The Emperor’s New Groove; and Cogsworth, from Beauty and the Beast.
Affinity Publisher is a publishing program for Mac and Windows that allows you to create single- and multi-page documents. Publishing programs are suitable for creating layout-based media, which combine typography, graphics, and photos, such as magazines, brochures, flyers, and books
And finally, we will have this software on our iPads as well. This will be a game-changer because now you can do everything on your iPad and I have to say I'm very curious and looking forward to it.
Links I do find interesting
- What prehistoric cave paintings reveal about early human life
- Largest known cave art images in the US
- Many ancient artists were tiny children
- The Art Department Berlin 2022 (14 May 2022 - 15 May 2022,
- "Animal World" Digital Art Contest by Pixarra (submissions until May 21st)
- IAA International Achievement Awards (different submission deadlines, entry fee)
- ASUS ProArtist Awards (deadline 15th May)
Give it a thought.
The never-ending war of the internet
We have seen it, we lived it. The internet has two camps fighting all the time about the same topic. Ones are saying that digital art is easy and cheating, the other ones that digital art is harder and fair.
The artistic inspiration in myths and legends
For hundreds of years artists and writers have been looking back to the ancient world. They have depicted scenes from Ancient Egyptian, Aztec, Greek and many other mythologies, explored dark folk tales in gory detail, and even created their own set of characters
The rest of it
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Reply Challenge - Creative
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Personally, I think it's more related to graphic design, communication and marketing but at least we would have some fun. I couldn't find any real examples from previous competitions so no idea. We can always try!
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