Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Atlas and the Pleiades

I share a studio with a bunch of other comics artists in Brooklyn, and we have a daily sketch blog where we post warm-up sketches on a certain topic, like "monkey" or "Wonder Woman". Today's topic was "Pleiades", the constellation named after the daughters of Atlas, so I drew this.

In Greek Myth, the Pleiades were the seven daughters of Atlas, the Titan who held aloft the sky, and Pleione, a daughter of Oceanus, the Titan of the ocean. They have always been associated with the constellation, and for the most part play very little role in mythology. The exception is Maia, who is the mother of Hermes and the namesake of the month of May. The other six daughters are Taygete, Elektra, Alkyone, Sterope, Kelaino, and Merope. The seven daughters (and their two parents) give their names to the stars that make up the constellation. There are many stories of the seventh Pleiad becoming hidden or invisible-- out of shame for having married a mortal, or in grief over the loss of a child. There is not a consensus on which Pleiad it was that went into hiding, but I pay a nod to that story by having poor Merope partially concealed by her father's arm.

I'm staying at my family's place for a week with no ink and only remedial imaging software, so I banged this out with a sharpie. I'm pleasantly surprised at the result, but man, I got a headache from wicked sharpie fumes.


  1. I read somewhere that Orion tried to seduce one of the Pleiades and she and all her sisters fled to the skies and became the constellation they are now.

  2. This is true, actually. I suppose I should have said that the only one of the Pleiades who plays a role outside of the group is Maia. Good catch.

  3. Actually I didn't think of it that way. I just wanted to show off that I knew how they became (new... profiles?) stars.

  4. Hey I really like your drawing of Atlas.

    Would you allow me to use it to illustrate an Objectivist blog?

    Of course you would be credited and a link would point to your own blog.

  5. I would love to use this as part of a tattoo design. Would that be ok?