Khnum

© Joan Ann Lansberry, 9-8-12

I was reading about Khnum when I decided to draw him. I saw a photo of the relief fragment at the British Museum, and thought that would be a good model. But it is broken off shortly after the crown begins. So I had to hunt for a similar crown. I remembered Seti I's image from Seti I's temple near Qurna and adapted it. I got my template made, and cropped it to 11x14 inches, since that's the size of the paper I chose.

Then I learned something new about Photoshop. You can make 'guide' lines, much as the ancient Egyptians used to do with their grid lines:

So I drew guide lines on my paper. This helped, and I didn't have so many 'fixes' this time.

To color Khnum, I searched out ancient examples. The tombs in Kings Valley are the best sources:


Khnum in KV 17

Osiris in KV 57

A scholar perhaps more thorough than I has informed me the ram-headed deity in KV 17 isn't Khnum, but a manifestation of Ra called 'Afu-Ra', on account of that big solar disc on his head. Looking for 'Afu-Ra' didn't bring many results, except for Budge. However, Richard Wilkinson affirms "Due to the similarity of the onomatopoeic name of the ram 'ba' and the ba spirit, a number of ram gods were worshipped as the ba of great gods such as Re or Osiris." (The Complete Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Egypt, page 192, hardcover).

Khnum has the usual red skin of male gods, but his ram head and horns are green, (or at least the deity in KV 17 possesses such). Siptah's tomb also has an example, appearing within a solar disc, along with a Khepera scarab. I wanted bright coloring like Horemheb's tomb has. So I used his Osiris for inspiration. (The King's Valley photos are courtesy William Petty.)

I figured out my colors digitally and then used that image to guide me in the colored pencil version:


Color plan

Colored pencil version

I swear the original doesn't look that splotchy! I couldn't leave it that way, of course. After getting the 11x14 inch size done, I went about creating 5x7 and 8x10 versions, as well:


Fixed 11x14

5x7 Version

8x10 Version


I did a grayscale test to check light/dark contrasts...