Just a quick doodle today - a bird-girl based on the Raggiana Bird of Paradise in Papua New Guinea. I was feeling pretty homesick for PNG and spontaneously had this for an idea this morning. I guess you could also call it a take on the ‘fuzzy wuzzy angel’ - the nickname New Guineans earned for helping Australian soldiers in WWII.
I also needed to crack out of my artblock somehow, haha. I’ve been feeling very uninspired lately, and I’m not happy with anything I crank out. I’m actually not even that happy with this doodle, which is why I haven’t even bothered to colour it, but I feel better for having had a go with it.
I tried to imitate PNG traditional costume designs in her feather placement (grass skirts and feathered armbands are a common aspect of costume designs, even across multiple provinces), and her physical appearance is based on the ethnic group associated with the Solomon Islands. If I coloured her, her skin would be fairly dark and her hair blonde (Solomon Islander kids have blonde hair - their hair usually darkens as they age, so most adults have black hair, but I have known adults with orangey blonde hair). Some of the feathers on her head were taken from other species of birds of paradise. Her hair probably should be more afro, but I did know some Solomon Islander kids with straighter, kinky hair rather than afro curls.
The lines on her face are just patterns for facial paint I was thinking she could be wearing. Full face paint is another aspect of PNG traditional costumes, and she honestly didn’t look complete without it.
I didn’t want to add too many feathers - I tried to make her look more ornate with more feathers, but it just felt too busy and, for lack of a better word, Western. Full body covering just isn’t a PNG thing. So her body feathers ended up quite sparse and simple, in the end.
Aaaanndd yeah. I’d like to draw more pictures of these bird-people, maybe I could do several different combinations of PNG bird species and ethnic groups.