I loved this 1944 underwater shot of the awesome Esther Williams. I started sketching from it for fun between jobs.
After a few attempts I finally brought the image into colour, but I wasn't very happy with her face. The more I worked on it, the less her face seemed to emotionally connect.
Also, the image needed something much more before it was ready to go, but I had no idea what.
Scrolling through Pinterest months later, I saw a mid C20th pulp sci fi cover depciting a man trapped inside the 'Escher cube' optical illusion, and thought that might be the concept to give my Esther picture the extra visual punch it needed.
Also the similarity between Esther and Escher's names made the idea seem providential!
Alas, Pinterest auto-reloaded when I accidentally scrolled on and, try as I might, I haven't managed to find the image again since. Not least to give some sort of credit here for the idea.
There were all sorts of headaches trying to marry up the cube and the pose. When I shift Esther a centimetre one way to make one part of her interact properly with the cube, immediately another part of her interacts wrongly.
Also, for the optical illusion to work, the cube needs to be near symmetrical, which meant perspective was redundant, and so I couldn't shift any vertices either
In the end though, of all the poses or images I could have tried to marry up with the cube, I suspect this was one of the more workable ones and that if anything, I actually got quite lucky.
I had a fresh go at drawing Esther, both so her body better fit the cube and also to try a more stylised face, which felt much more engaging. Some fish, bubbles, textures (including the pronounced grain of a wooden door serving as ripples of water) and a circular fame to finish it off.

Salute to Esther and Escher!
Back to Top