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Deerskin by LaurasMuse Deerskin by LaurasMuse
Robin McKinley's Deerskin has had a lasting effect on me. I keep thinking about it, and having the urge to create art about it. This is a painting inspired by the most beautiful passages in the book, when the Princess Lissar/Deerskin/Moonwoman is described running in the moonlight with her hounds.

Expect more Deerskin art--possibly a Prince Ossin.

Watercolor, gouache

SPOILER ALERT: Don't read the following comments if you haven't finished the book.
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:iconlunalovegoodart7:
LunaLovegoodArt7 Featured By Owner Mar 20, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
beautiful
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:iconjoievalar:
joievalar Featured By Owner Feb 27, 2014
Ob, Pur, Ash… oh dear, why I can't I remember the others??
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:iconamber-duncan:
Amber-Duncan Featured By Owner May 14, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I absolutely love this book!! You did an amazing job portraying Lissar and her hounds!! :heart:
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:iconswandog:
swandog Featured By Owner Feb 23, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
I REALLY need to read that book! Been admiring (drooling over) the cover art of it for years! Absolutely love this! <333
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:iconscintillating-turnip:
Scintillating-Turnip Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2012
Beautiful. Lissar looks a little stiff - something about the arms - but her face is extremely expressive and emotional. I adore the way you did the sky, I could practically fall into it! And the dogs, oh my gosh, they're amazing. Absolutely perfect. Do you own hounds? They look so perfect, the way the muscles fit over the bones makes them look so real, you obviously know your way around canine anatomy. The one in the foreground especially, that face! Those ribs! The power in those thighs!

A beautifully composed painting of an emotional and expressive book! :D
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:iconlaurasmuse:
LaurasMuse Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
Thank you! I don't own hounds, but I have painted them quite a few times. I still think about that book from time to time. It really resonates with people. :)
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:iconnightfall26:
Nightfall26 Featured By Owner Oct 16, 2012
This is beautiful work. You did a great job. I loved that book growing up, and I can tell it had a lasting effect on you, because you captured the spirit of Lissar and the hounds so well.
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:iconlovedestructive:
LoveDestructive Featured By Owner Aug 4, 2012  Student Writer
Deerskin is one of my most beloved and favorite novels. I adore this.
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:iconrburrows:
Rburrows Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2012  Hobbyist Filmographer
This is wonderful. I had a hard time getting through this book. I felt at first it was too slow, but once you start getting to the end, like you said it has such a great lasting effect on you! I also couldn't get this image of Lissar running through the woods with her hounds, so I was quite happy when I found this! Robin Mckinley has a gift for painting pictures in a readers mind and you've done a great job with this! It's definitely one of my favourites of hers. Wonderful work!
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:iconlaurasmuse:
LaurasMuse Featured By Owner Apr 15, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
Thank you, I appreciate your comments.
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:iconhenriihs:
HenriiHS Featured By Owner Feb 23, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
I'm reading Deerskin now, and just today I came to this particular part in the book~ I like how portraited it :D
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:iconyalewin:
Yalewin Featured By Owner Feb 13, 2012
So I want to know which one is which. Id like to think the one nearest is Nob but I think it would be best sense ur the artist if u tell me.
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:iconlaurasmuse:
LaurasMuse Featured By Owner Feb 13, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
I think I knew when I created it, but I don't remember the names of the dogs now. They're any ones you want them to be. :)
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:iconyalewin:
Yalewin Featured By Owner Feb 13, 2012
the burning question i have is which dog is which? lol id like to think the one closest is Ob but all the same id enjoy knowing which was which.
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:iconmaskednightingale:
MaskedNightingale Featured By Owner Jul 22, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
Once you've read Deerskin you can never forget it. The emotions McKinely was able to show through the characters were astounding as well as the cruelities of fleshly human nature.

Beautiful tribute.
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:iconlaurasmuse:
LaurasMuse Featured By Owner Jul 23, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
Thank your for the nice comment. Deerskin is an amazing book!
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:iconkuume:
Kuume Featured By Owner May 15, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Oh - I never read that book, but now I became curious. I've always loved sleek dogs like this, they look so mysterious. A very dynamic-looking pack (I wonder how it would be like to run with them!). The starry sky is so lovely, too.
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:iconpazuzu-the-possessor:
Pazuzu-the-Possessor Featured By Owner May 3, 2011
I'm also a big fan of Robin McKinley's work, and your art here is fantastic. <3 Much love for fellow McKinley fans. Deerskin is one of my favorites, along with Sunshine (which is not the sort of story I ordinarily enjoy).
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:iconkanchancollage:
KanchanCollage Featured By Owner Mar 23, 2011   Traditional Artist
I love this! and I love RM's work, so I'll have to read this next.
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:iconcaitieberry:
CaitieBerry Featured By Owner Mar 17, 2011
I've just finished Deerskin today, and thought I'd comment on your piece. Last night, while reading the passage where Lissar and Ash are changed by the Moonwoman, I found that I was having a hard time picturing Ash's transformation. Even though I love dogs, I simply don't know enough about the hound breeds to picture in my head the difference between a fleethound and a wolfhound. So, I did a Google image search for the two breeds, got what I wanted, and decided to delve a bit farther. I went to devART and did a search for 'Lissar' -- this painting was on the first page. I clicked on it, and was blown away. The skill, the details, and the faithfulness to the book are just wonderful. And even though it gave a bit more away than I would have liked (my own fault, no worries) as I read the parts of the book involving Deerskin and her seven dogs roaming the countryside this painting was what I was visualizing.

Now I've finished, and can't wait to read more of Robin McKinley's work. I'm considering Beauty, because I love fairy tale retellings, but I'm a little put off by the fact that my local library has it listed in the children's section. Any other books of hers you'd recommend, as well?
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:iconlaurasmuse:
LaurasMuse Featured By Owner May 7, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
Wow, I love this comment! I'm sorry I spoiled a little bit of the book for you. I had the same thing happen to me while I was reading and I prematurely searched for fanart. But I appreciate it that you found my piece to be accurate!

I actually haven't read many of McKinley's other books. To be honest I found Beauty a little disappointing... perhaps because I did miss some deeper more "adult" elements. I would recommend her book Spindle's End. I enjoyed it, although it still wasn't as good as Deerskin.
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:iconcaitieberry:
CaitieBerry Featured By Owner May 11, 2011
That's not a problem -- again, it's my own fault for searching for fanart before even halfway through the book. And you're the second person who has mentioned Spindle's End, so I'm definitely giving it a read now, lol.
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:iconpazuzu-the-possessor:
Pazuzu-the-Possessor Featured By Owner May 3, 2011
Beauty is a pretty straightforward retelling - not a lot of questionable material or possibly difficult subject matter, which is why it gets sorted into Juvenile lit. It's definitely a quick read for an adult, though I prefer Rose Daughter, another of McKinley's Beauty and the Beast retellings which is (in my opinion) much more detailed and intense. Spindle's End can be rough to get into, because it seems like McKinley spends even more time than usual on the world-building. I enjoyed it, though... definitely one of my favorite Sleeping Beauty stories. The Blue Sword and The Hero and the Crown are both wonderful and romantic and enchanting, and though they're often marketed as YA novels, I find them just as appealing as an adult reader (plus I have a little literary crush on Corlath) If you're looking for something a little darker, give Sunshine a try. It isn't your typical vampire novel... in typical fashion, McKinley creates a world that sucks you in and characters you have to love (or love to hate). I've never liked a vampire novel until Sunshine, and I doubt any I read in the future can live up to it.

I hope I helped you. ;) I tend to ramble about books, but then again, I'm a librarian. It's part of the job.
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:iconcaitieberry:
CaitieBerry Featured By Owner May 6, 2011
Wow, it's been a long time since I've thought of Robin McKinley, lol. I did go on to read Beauty as well as Rose Daughter (and actually preferred the former to the latter). I also read The Outlaws of Sherwood and enjoyed it more than any other RM book I've read so far, save Deerskin (still my favorite, lol). Haven't read any of the others, The Blue Sword and The Hero and the Crown didn't seem like my cup of tea. I've never even heard of Sunshine, I'll have to give it a try.

Thanks for the recommendations! Don't worry about rambling on about books; I'm not a librarian, but I am an avid bibliophile who tends to devour books at a fairly rapid rate. Recommendations are always welcome. :XD:
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:iconfatlemons:
fatlemons Featured By Owner Oct 7, 2010
the sky and moon are absolutely beautiful
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:iconlaurasmuse:
LaurasMuse Featured By Owner Oct 10, 2010  Professional Traditional Artist
Thank you! You're very kind.
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:iconaberry89:
aberry89 Featured By Owner Aug 30, 2010  Professional Digital Artist
Really beautiful illustration!
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:iconlaurasmuse:
LaurasMuse Featured By Owner Aug 31, 2010  Professional Traditional Artist
Thank you. I'm so glad you like it. :)
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:icongalhad:
Galhad Featured By Owner Jul 4, 2010
very evocative!
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:iconela-chan7:
Ela-chan7 Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2010
Thank you so much for such a good Mckinley fanarts! Ahhh, finally someone who appreciate a retellings of fairytales ;)!
Deerskin was the first book I have read from her. I must say that although it really touched me and I really lived that story, I had some problems with the language (english is not my mother language and Robin Mckinley uses a rich vocabulary and more description scenes than dialogues...I must really reread it, I still didn't catch some parts).
My favorite book from Robin McKinley is still Beauty :). I've also read Deerskin, Blue Sword and Spindle's End (I didn't really like this one).
I hope that you'll keep up in fanarts for her books. And for this picture - it's beautiful and you captured the atmosphere so well!
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:iconlaurasmuse:
LaurasMuse Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2010  Professional Traditional Artist
I read Beauty as well, but I must say that Deerskin is by far my favorite of McKinley's, in fact my favorite fairy tale retelling thus far. I want to read it again as well, although I only read it a month ago! :)
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:iconjen7waters:
Jen7waters Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2010
HELL YEAH!!!:D You did it Laura!! This just made my day! seriously! so beautiful! That's Lissar alright, running, running, running like a mad person, and there's Ash! and all of the other dogs! Oh, I hope she's running back to where Ossin is, and not in the opposite way :(
Love her hair, and the colors, great contrast. The starry sky: nice touch. More please! :clap:
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:iconlaurasmuse:
LaurasMuse Featured By Owner Jun 15, 2010  Professional Traditional Artist
Yay, I'm so glad you like it! I know, I was so upset when Lissar left Ossin, but I'm afraid this would be that part, since Ash's fur is still long and silky. Or it could be just a general scene of Lissar and her dogs. But yes, I have at least five other ideas for paintings and I hope to make more! I also have to keep on reading more books--right now I am on Napoli's Beast.
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:iconjen7waters:
Jen7waters Featured By Owner Jun 15, 2010
Oh I forgot, tell me what you think of Beast when you finish it, I've been looking at that book for a long time thinking if I shall put it in my wishlist or not. I do love Beauty&The Beast retellings.
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:iconlaurasmuse:
LaurasMuse Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2010  Professional Traditional Artist
By the way, I finished Beast. I did like it--but I think my high expectations made me enjoy it less. My favorite part was the fourth and last part... Belle was the sweetest; she reminded me of Zel. I really have a fondness for Napoli's heroines. They're not clever and ambitious like McKinley's, but they are equally charming, if not more so.

The Beast... well, I have mixed feelings about Prince Orasmyn. I liked him in the beginning as his human self, but towards the middle, he just became so jaded and was starting to wear on me... plus he is sickeningly carnivorous. But, I thought he was more beastly than McKinley's Beast in Beauty, and that satisfied me. Her Beast was very very civilized, and that somewhat lessened the impact, I think. Although I did like him.

So, I would recommend it, since you are a fan of the fairy tale. It was indeed interesting how Napoli told it from the view of a Muslim Prince. Plus, there is a minimal use of magic, aside from that initial transformation of man to lion. He never wears clothes, nor speaks, and his castle is not enchanted, so he has to make it habitable with tooth and claw. He was lucky to find the Belle that he did, because she definitely was the more open of the two. By the end of the book, I felt that it carried more of a message of religious tolerance than anything else. Of course, I also wanted an epilogue. It ended far too soon! Gah! :(
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:iconjen7waters:
Jen7waters Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2010
Hate when that happens...I don't know why sometimes we expect so much of a book(I'm excluding reviews and ratings), and this happens a lot to me with authors I've never read before (which is kind of stupid of me)*You intrigued me just now with your review, I'll definitely try it, although the "sickeningly carnivorous" prince makes me a little nervous :fear:

Ah-ah...why authors do this to us!! We want to know a bit of the "and they lived happily ever after"...maybe it's like a rule or something... we must never know what happens in fairytales -and retellings- after the boy and the girl win the final battle against evil. They do that, and then: THE END!
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:iconlaurasmuse:
LaurasMuse Featured By Owner Jun 21, 2010  Professional Traditional Artist
Perhaps I was exaggerating about "sickeningly carnivorous". I don't want that to dissuade you from reading the book. Lets just say, he takes on all the habits of a lion. But what's the saddest part, is that as a prince, he didn't like hunting and violence. And he was kind to animals. He was actually a very sweet prince, and it's surprising that such a small little mistake would cause him to be cursed. I'll let you find out what it is. :)

And I guess, with a fairy tale, the authors don't want to spoil the ending by explaining more? Like it would be hitting the nail over the head? However, I still feel like they could use their creativity to make an interesting happily-ever-after.

By the way, right now I am reading another Beauty and the Beast retelling... The Fire Rose by Mercedes Lackey. I like it because it's set in San Francisco. A fairy tale in my native California! I'll let you know how I like it. So far, it's quite entertaining.
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:iconjen7waters:
Jen7waters Featured By Owner Jun 15, 2010
Yeah..deep in my heart I knew it was the "running away from Ossin" part :tears:
Keep them coming then! :clap:
There are so many great scenes worthy of a piece of fanart in this book, I can't wait to see what you're planning :D I once tried to draw that part when she's "burning", her hair changing back to black with the blood and all, and Ossin in awe looking at her, but I could never finish it, maybe one day...*sigh*
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:iconlaurasmuse:
LaurasMuse Featured By Owner Jun 16, 2010  Professional Traditional Artist
Yes! That bloody part in the end with her confronting her father was intense! I would love to see that pictured. It was very interesting that her coloring changed back to its original. And her deerskin dress got all bloody. And then that puddle of clean blood and menstrual blood mixing together and sinking permanently into the floor... goodness. :wow:

Did you like the end overall? It was a bit non-committal, but I think fairly appropriate.
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:iconjen7waters:
Jen7waters Featured By Owner Jun 16, 2010
Indeed, it's a very bloody scene,in fact this is a very bloody book*well...even though I would have loved a more straightforward ending, you know, something like: "Yes Ossin dearest, I will marry you and never in a million years leave you again" I think it was, like you said, appropriate, and I like to think in the end she did fully commit, and never ran away again (the hut did get destroyed, so she couldn't hide there anymore xD)*don't you just love the part when she runs away, on foot of course, and Ossin goes after her in a horse? that scene just craks me up every time, he's so adorable when he wants to stop following her so she will stop running or kill herself from exaustion doing it:happycry:
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:iconlaurasmuse:
LaurasMuse Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2010  Professional Traditional Artist
I think I would have liked an epilogue, just to get a sense of what Lissar would have been like as Queen, and to see Ash's puppies. And to know what happened to her kingdom of birth. Did Ossin slay her father, or did the old king just get swept away by his ministers? Because you remember the part, when Ossin was debating if he should kill the king--but only if Lissar's eyes told him that it was necessary (I really liked it that her father was never named.) But perhaps its nice that the happy ending is left up to the reader?

I did very much like the part when Ossin was chasing after Lissar. I thought it very charming that he was a little out of shape. The whole while I was cheering him on--Lissar just needed to stop already! :)
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:iconjen7waters:
Jen7waters Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2010
Yes yes, you're right, an epilogue would have been nice, just for us to have a sneak peek of Lissar and Ossin as a royal couple, McKinley did that in "The Hero and the Crown" (don't know if you've read it yet)*well, I have to confess I don't really care to know what happens to Lissar's father afterwards, that son of a dog...I sure hope he suffered a painful and lonely death though...and I don't think Ossin did something to him, at least I like to think he didn't...because that lovable and peaceful young man shouldn't get his hands dirty with that lame excuse of a person, I believe the ministers made their justice.
Oh he's so funny in the chase scene, I didn't know if I would laugh or cry, that's why I did both in that part :happycry: Pleeeaaase Lissar stop!
(I could talk forever about this book :crazy:)
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:iconlaurasmuse:
LaurasMuse Featured By Owner Jun 18, 2010  Professional Traditional Artist
I haven't read The Hero and the Crown, although I have heard multiple times that it's good. I own The Blue Sword and I tried to read it when I was younger, but I didn't finish.

Yes, it's very fun talking about Deerskin... I hope someone doesn't read what we've written and has the whole book spoiled for them. I was quite surprised by some of the later developments in the book (like her father marrying Camilla--why did I not see that coming?), but I knew from the start that Ossin would be her love, since he gave her Ash. :)
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