Friday, May 18, 2012

Four Sketches in Movement and Symbolism

   Last night at 11 o'clock I found myself caught in the throws of inspiration and started sketching! What inspired me? I was looking at a book collection of beautiful prints by Yoshitaka Amano that I have on my shelf. I decided to take a longer perusal through the pages of artwork to really enjoy every detail and found myself enthralled once again by the exquisite lines, movement, and conceptual scope of each image. Amano is a Japanese artist who is most notably the artist for Final Fantasy, but following in a close second, the illustrator and visual instigator of the Japanese novel series Vampire Hunter D by Hideyuki Kikuch. The series is set thousands of years in the future where a vampire kingdom had risen and fallen and the son of Count Dracula rides the untameable frontier in a very cowboy-esque fashion, rescuing beauties, helping villages, and killing monsters...and vampires, of course. If you like this sort of thing, it is definitely a beautifully crafted series. I believe that Amano's style and artist renderings were a large part in the popularity the series, and it is not hard to see why. Amano was able to capture the dark enchantment of Kikuch's prose and especially the silent, otherwordly grace of its hero, D. His work is free flowing, powerful, and cinematic. What really strikes me is the way he is able to convey an action of a scene by the use of composition and line rather than always literally showing what is happening. Often times his work becomes very abstract in the process. If anyone knows me, they know my passionate stance against art that is in the abstract, and it is true that I do not like all the work by Amano because he often can go in the very abstract and pretty bizarre, but on a whole I would say that his work is abstract in its interpretation not its application. What I mean by that is there is no loss of skill or creativity such as the haphazard lines, blocks, colors, and distortions that many call art now a days, but in fact there is a very precise intention to make his lines symbolize the action, atmosphere, and scene he is trying to render. I have here two images to show you what I mean:

 

    You can click on the images to see larger versions of them. Aren't these beautiful? There is so much movement and grace in these images! If you look to the one on the right, you will see what I have been telling you. From far away you can see the abstraction of the image, the white against the black, but as you look closely you can see the strong, elegant physique of the Vampire Hunter D bursting from the lights and darks, lines and shapes. I love this! He is able to show the mood, convey the personality of the character, as well as display the action all in the application of his lines! I would ask my readers, if you are interested, can you guess what sort of character the hunter is just by these images?

    Anyway, so, all of this inspired me to create a series of sketches where I really explored these ideas. Amano has already been an influence on my graphic novel, and I foresee he will continually be a big influence as I go along.
















































     The series is of Elijah, but from 1 Kings 19:9-18. It is where Elijah, after running for his life (he just slaughtered the king and queen's prophets!), goes to talk and plead with the Lord. The Lord tells Elijah to stand on the mount and there Elijah waits to hear from Him. As he waits, a strong powerful wind, an earthquake, and a fire come, but Scripture says the Lord was not in any of them. Finally, a low whisper is heard and it is only then Elijah enters the cave and meets with His God. I love the way the Lord works and as I was discussing about Amano's work, I chose to represent the power of these circumstances by my lines, composition, and really pushing my forms. I also tried to do them quickly, as quickly as I could push myself, and tried not to do too much revision or correcting. I wanted to show the power and might of the Lord who creates winds, fires, and quakes, but chooses to come to us in quiet stillness; and if I did it correctly, the images speak for themselves. I hope you enjoy these!

6 comments:

  1. Wow! This a great post because you explain the style of Amano (and our luscious D!) and how you used his action driven sketching in your own work. Beautiful! And obviously love the sketches, I can see them as a series in black 81/2 by 11 frames on the wall. ;-)

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    1. Thanks! Yes, our luscious D! Hehe. I was reading a short story that night too and I was remembering why I liked that series so much! ;) Yes, my sketches would look good as a series on the wall, but who knows, I might go back and refine them and make them more finished works.

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  2. Your blog needs music, sista! ;-P

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  3. Are these just some rough brainstorm ideas for your graphic novel? I like the wind and earthquake illustration. It seems to combine the tail end of the winds with the beginning of the earthquake all in the same frame. I don't know how, but it does lol. And the stillness in the Low Whisper sketch is very apparent. Are you going to illustrate the final work in color, or keep it in black & white to make use of this style?

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    1. They aren't exactly brainstorm ideas for my graphic novel, but more like studies that will help in the long run for the novel. Hehe. Yeah, I can see what you mean about the winds connecting with the earthquake! Unintentional, but cool. Thank you so much for all your comments, Nolan! As for your question, I will be doing a combination of sketches/photoshop color. I am still in the experimentation mode for this, which is kind of aggravating me! Hehe.

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