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Submitted on
March 26, 2013
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Daneel Olivaw by Landylachs Daneel Olivaw by Landylachs
Interpretation of my favorite literary robot, R. Daneel Olivaw. This started as a bad sketch that I tinkered on and off with a short time over a few days to try and save, and it ended up turning into a fun experiment drawing to practice faces. I think I'm getting better at drawing faces from imagination (I hope).

Even though the books describe Daneel's eyes as brown (I believe toward the middle-end of Caves of Steel), most fan interpretations give him blue eyes to go with his "bronze" hair. I thought he had (and drew him with) blue eyes for the longest time, most likely due to Stephen Youll's book cover for "The Naked Sun," until I came across that passage on a reread and was astonished to realize Asimov envisioned him with brown eyes. Blue seemed the natural choice, maybe even a too obvious choice. I tried him out with brown and blue eyes, and I actually think I like Daneel better with brown eyes now. They add a mysterious air to him, like you could get lost staring into those dark, artificially real eyes.

Daneel is from the 'Robot Novels' literary series by Isaac Asimov.

Edit: A quick glance over at tumblr showed proof that Daneel's eyes are actually described as blue in the third book. So Asimov changed his mind, it seems, haha. Then again, he is a robot, his eyes could have just been replaced. Maybe Fastolfe became bored between and wanted to see how blue would suit Daneel haha. A life-sized BJD for Fastolfe, ahah.
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This is absolutely gorgeous. You captured perfectly everything in Daneel that is intriguing, pensive and yet somewhat soft. I love it.
Landylachs Dec 15, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Thanks a lot, glad you enjoy it! I'm always happy to hear from a fellow Asimov/Daneel fan. ;)
It's hard to read the series without falling a little in love with Daneel, he's definitely one of the most eye-catching and elaborate characters. (: Although to be quite honest I'm more in a bit of a Gladia Delmarre kick myself at the moment, (I have no idea why).
Landylachs Dec 19, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
I definitely agree! It's what makes him so difficult to draw, but fun to try. I enjoyed seeing how Gladia's character developed from the second book to the third. Which aspects about her do you enjoy the best?
Wow, where to start... Her development is definitely a big part of it. I recently reread 'The Naked Sun' so it's fresher for me, but I like that she was very openly emotional, in contrast to all the other Solarians who act like they have sticks up their arses all the time. It made her socially deviant, really. One of my favourite scenes is when she makes her magnetic art-thingy without quite understanding how it works, "painting" her own abstract impression of Baley based solely on instinct.

Also, the personality aspects that show more in the 'Robots of Dawn', when she went on to take her own decisions and initiatives, are quite awesome. I like that she's able to keep everyone in line, haha, and her stoicism. Even though Aurora fits her down to a T there's always that continuous feeling of stigma going on about her too, not sexually anymore but sentimentally as well.

Also although I don't like to talk to her just in relation to other characters, she has some interesting relationships besides the obvious Baley and Fastolfe. I have a particular soft spot for her very creepysweet dynamic with Dr. Leebig pre- 'The Naked Sun' (nobody ever pays him any attention at all, but he's totally my favourite...I could wax poetry on that pairing, haha). Sadly one thing I miss about Asimov's writing is deeper character study, since some psychological things he touches upon just very lightly would be interesting to explore.

WOW, I just ranted. And I'd keep going if I hadn't got to go, hahah! So sorry. Pray tell, what do you enjoy the most about Daneel? :D
Landylachs Mar 13, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
I'm so sorry my reply is so late ;-; It's difficult for me to cohesively articulate what makes the Daneel character so appealing, which resulted in postponing my response for an inexcusable length of time. xD

I loved reading your analysis of Gladia! She really is one of the singular characters who jumps outside the boundaries of social norms, no matter which planet she is on. And also of Dr. Leebig - you're right, I don't think I've heard anyone show interest in that pairing, which is intriguing! I'd be interested in hearing more on your thoughts of him!

As for Daneel, I think part of what I enjoyed the most about him was the development of what are, by the third book, properly called "emotions," and his gradual realization and respect for not wholly logical thought processes. What I really like is here you have this totally logical creature, programmed and completely ruled by logic, and despite all circuitry he manages to not only gain respect for the, at times, illogical nature of humans, but arguably grow respect and feel fondness for it.

I read his relationship with Elijah as his relationship with humanity, so for me the relationship between the two is symbolic of the struggles between the illogical nature of humanity vs theoretically pure logic, and there was something comforting in having those two forces not only coexisting peacefully, but actually complement each other. It made the novels feel very humanist, which is optimistic and rare in science fiction, but is probably my favorite sub-genre (and I'm sure why I'm also very fond of Star Trek: TOS and TNG, even if TNG can be a little too rose-lensed at times).

Getting past any symbolism, I also really like how Elijah is able to trigger emotions in Daneel. The way the book presented it made it seem like Daneel did not have any real emotions at his genesis, but that they slowly developed due to the increasing complexities of his interactions with people, but especially due to his interactions with Elijah (I guess it can be argued that Fastolfe added them later or upgraded his programming, but it's never clarified, so free interpretation! :D). By Elijah simply by being human, that was enough to turn a machine ruled by logic into something that can feel, something that is in itself a little more human. Again, it's very humanist. It's also why I'm sure people love the Spock and Kirk dynamic, but I read Asimov first before Star Trek, so Daneel and Elijah hold a special place for me. :D
Bimtav Aug 31, 2013  Student Artist
YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS. Thank you for this :)
Landylachs Sep 1, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
You're welcome! ;)
If we should trust Giskard, Daneel is the Friend and Protector.
A really good job ! The light, textures and colors are really harmonious. It's funny how we (well all the people that I know and also knows Daneel) imagine him with that kind of cuthair (I'm also working on a Daneel-draw, and the rule of plated-hair is respected hahaha).
I like the pensive eyes. Remember me his discussions with Giskard about humanity, robots, and the potential limits of the Three Laws !

Thank you for the art :)
Landylachs Apr 18, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Thank you! Yes, it's funny how we tend to have a similar image of him. (: I hope you finish your drawing soon, I would love to see it.
Thanks again, I'm happy you enjoy it (:
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