Archive for June, 2018


Current progress: Roughing out of the hull sections has been completed. That was both much easier and quicker than I had anticipated. I need to do a bit of tweaking where the geometry is rough, primarily on prow and stern, both of which, as opposed to the rest of the hull, were somewhat more difficult shapes to model than expected. I also reworked the gunnels resulting in a much better fit. It would probably be more correct to refer to these as frame stringers. Almost identical parts will sit atop of them; these additional parts will be the gunnels.

Click on the image below for a full-size view.

Anyway; the hardest parts of the project, the basic frame and hull are complete. Everything else will be relatively easy, but time consuming. Joining the hull sections into a unified whole, and then thickening the surface so that “bump”, a 3D texture or roughness, can be assigned to it. While inner birch bark is fairly smooth, there is always natural variation in thickness and bumpiness resulting from the lenticels (slit-like pores).

A second instance of the hull will be necessary for the texture of the inside of the canoe. The last task will be to make the ribs, thwarts (cross pieces), and a few odds and ends.

Here’s a test render in DAZ Bryce to see what the model in its current state looks like in the wild. It floats!

Click on the image for a full-size view.

Next time: more tweaking of the geometry and birch bark and wood textures.

A 3D rendering of a Viking shield along with a battle ax and spear hanging on a rough wooden plank surface, perhaps the interior wall of a longhouse. The shield is decorated with a black raven (Corvus corax) painted on red leather.

There are many misconceptions about the Vikings. For example, no horned Viking helmet has ever been found. Such a helmet would have endangered the wearer in combat. And dragon-headed ships were rare. Only one has ever been found. The dragon head did not survive, but the ship is decorated in such a way to suggest there was probably a detachable head.

The stereotypes and cliches began with German Romanticism in the 18th and 19th centuries. The actual Vikings, or Norse, were much more interesting. Even the word “viking” did not denote a people, but a profession. The Norse would “go a Viking”; to sail in search of lands to settle, trade opportunities; and, if commercial conditions were not good, to steal anything that was not nailed down.

Here I’ve rendered a Viking axe and spear, along with a shield, hanging on an interior wall of a longhouse. Click on the image for a full-sized view.

Methods and materials used in the construction of Viking shields varied with place and time. This reconstruction is based on known examples. Norse shields, in contrast to those made by other groups were often made from relatively soft woods such as poplar and birch. Intentional or otherwise, this helped the shield absorb blow without failing. And, instead of a solid piece of wood, horizontal planks were joined – as is indicated by the bolt heads seen on the front of the shield – to prevent spitting along the grain. Metal for shield rims was difficult and expensive for early viking Age inhabitants of Scandinavia to obtain as they had to rely upon bog iron. As a result, to further reduce the possibility of damage the face of the shield was often covered by leather and a leather rim strip was added. Both absorbed blows, protecting the underlying wood. The bowl-shaped metal boss in the center protected the warrior’s hand.

As usual, you can find a number of variations of this image, appearing on various backgrounds, at one of my Zazzle stores.

Despite being partial to kayaks I have wanted to build a birch bark canoe for many years. I also would like to build a traditional skin-on-frame kayak as well. Any way for a number of reasons I’ve never gotten around to it. Now however, I have begun building a virtual canoe; with my computer. Once done, it can be used as an element in my art.

There are several styles of canoe; different tribes had their own traditions and construction methods. I have chosen an old Algonquian style as seen in the photo below:

algonquian birch bark canoe

An Traditional Algonquian Birch BArk Canoe

I am following this plan as a guide:

3-view plan of an algonquian canoe

Algonquian Canoe Plan

You can see the three views of the plan, with inverted colors, in the screen shot of the 3d modeler, called Art Of Illusion, below. To be as authentic as possible I am going about this “the hard way”, modeling each part, thwarts, ribs, etc., individually. The colors of the elements are a temporary measure to aid visualization. Wood and bark textures will be added once the model is finished. The red curves are the gunnels, though I think they are not quite wide enough and will probably redo them. Blue, green, and yellow are parts of the hull.

3d birchbark canoe model under construction

3D Canoe Model In Art Of Illusion

I will post updates as the model progresses; and then a textured render of the finished model. After that I want to model a few birch bark items, bowls and baskets; and then that kayak.