Wednesday, August 24, 2011

From my sketchbook...a snapshot of my creative process

Countryside (Draft)

rough draft of future painting


I don't normally post sketches or rough drafts because they rarely look anything like the finished product. This time, I'd like to share some aspects of my creative process when I draw or paint. It shares some similarities with my writing process, with a few differences.

"Countryside" will be a painting, either oil or acrylic (haven't decided yet). A river runs through a small settlement in the mountains. The landscape highlights the daily life of the inhabitants and their simple, yet mystical architecture. This is connected with a new fantasy novel series that's in the planning stages right now. The first book takes place mostly in a land similar to Ancient China, with some touches of ancient Persia.

Here's another page from my sketchbook, this time dealing with some architecture:



Architecture1 (Draft)

I've always been fascinated by the structure of buildings, gardens and fountains. In fact, I had serious considered becoming an architect/graphic designer type while in college (I was at the right place for it: Virginia Tech). For this project, I've consulted books and internet sites about East Asian temples (like the Vietnamese and Thai pagodas, the sketch on the left), Chinese and Japanese Buddhist temples, and Roman temples. The small pyramid on the bottom right was borrowed from the Egyptian. History has given us plenty of skilled and innovative architects, from Imhotep to Frank Lloyd Wright. 

When I imagine a fantasy culture, I make a list of important Things To Keep in Mind (capital letters). Setting is an important component, as well as character (what does he/she/it do for a living? What kind of personality do they have? How do they interact with other characters?). Language plays a role and social structure, like a class system, influences the characters and the plot. Painting and writing have to convey this through visual means, either on the canvas or on the page.

I'll post updates on this process as they happen. :-D


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