Saturday, December 29, 2012

Not By Bread Alone

And the word of the LORD came to him: “Depart from here and turn eastward and hide yourself by the brook Cherith, which is east of the Jordan. You shall drink from the brook, and I have commanded the ravens to feed you there.” So he went and did according to the word of the LORD. He went and lived by the brook Cherith that is east of the Jordan. And the ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning, and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the brook.
1 Kings 17:2-6

We are coming upon the new year, and I thought I would do one last post before 2012 is ended. It is a piece that I was inspired to do based on my graphic novel Elijah. I haven't been able to do much on my graphic novel for various reasons, but the past couple of weeks I've gone back to my ideas and began brainstorming and working on it. Thankfully, I was able to solve some problems I was running into which lead to me be inspired to take it up again. So, God willing, it is my full intention to really pursue my graphic novel in 2013 and to see if I can finish it within the year. It would be so exciting if I could! For now, I have this piece which I've entitled Not By Bread Alone. Keeping with my inspiration from Amano, I came up with this character piece of Elijah  of the scene where he is being fed by God through ravens at the brook Cherith.

With the movement and the abstraction of the composition, I wanted to achieve a feeling of suspension and serenity considering the scene being depicted. The word of the Lord has come to Elijah to keep himself hidden from King Ahab for a time. There the Lord, by His grace and power, sustains and protects His servant by the brook and the ravens. The surrealistic quality of the water, ravens, and Elijah flowing as one element creates that ethereal atmosphere of a prophet being fed by his God. For it is not merely the physical needs that are being met, but that through this miraculous act of ravens, it shows that it is not by bread alone that we are to live, but by the Word of the Lord; for it was by the word of the Lord that these ravens had come.

It might look as if I had done this image in pen to create the line work, but I actually did this piece all in pencil first. The shading of the ravens behind him and all the lines are pencil work. I then went into Photoshop and did the rest of the coloring and manipulation there. I actually love a lot of the techniques that are used for pen, but I've never been able to get used to the pen itself. So, lately I've been using pen techniques with my pencil work, and have been pleased with the results. As for this piece, I wanted to use those pen techniques to achieve that two-dimensional look. This is a lot like the Japanese woodblock prints that I've discussed before on this blog, but with the texture I've added and the coloring, I've also noticed that it is like the medieval illuminated manuscripts as well. The golden hue of this piece has that glow of the gold leaf that the monks used in their manuscripts at the time to achieve that feeling of the heavenlies. The art of illuminated manuscripts, just like with Art Nouveau, is always there subtly influencing my work.

Well, this is a short post, but as I said, I hope to be posting progress on my graphic novel soon. I hope you all have a Happy New Year!

But he answered,
   “It is written,
“‘Man shall not live by bread alone, 
          but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
Matthew 4:4

Monday, December 17, 2012

The Overlook: Experimentation in Sci-Fi

Star Trek 2009 Concept Art
This has been an inspiration to me as well. Artwork done
for JJ Abram's film was stunning!
I am an ardent Star Trek (original series, aka the J.J. Abrams films) and Star Wars fan, but I haven't dabbled much in the realm of Sci-Fi. I suppose Star Wars couldn't really be considered pure Sci-Fi, but maybe Firefly counts? Either way, it isn't usually a genre I'm interested in . . . unless it has a captivating story and characters. I'm always excited when I discover some new book, series, or movie that I can enjoy, and I've found that maybe I could love Sci-Fi a whole lot with the works of Isaac Asimov. Yes, I know, he's been around forever and is the grandfather of Sci-Fi, but I never really was interested in trying any of his books. They were about robots, space things, and who knows what else; I didn't really give him a thought. It was a good friend of mine who got me into reading Asimov and we've been reading through his Foundation Series and we'll also be reading his Robot series. I suppose I should have known I would have liked his work because usually anything early 20th Century or earlier is when all the good stuff was written, i.e. C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, George McDonald, Agatha Christie, just to name a very few. Isaac Asimov writes compelling science fiction, and it is strange because his characterizations aren't always super strong. He gets better in his later works, but what really drew me into his work is how he is able to engage you immediately into conversations between characters who you know nothing of yet whatever they are talking about is super exciting! His dialogue between characters are a lot like a chess match, using wit and creativity to build their motivations which fuels his plots. I can only describe his endings as having a "check-mate" sort of climax as the cumulation of events and characters fall into their place and all is revealed. There is an almost mystery-esque, process of deduction feel to his novels, which being that I'm a huge mystery novel fan is no surprise why this is what would draw me into Asimov's work. Another aspect of his storytelling that I find impressive is that he doesn't use aliens very often, but when he does, he puts originality and thought into creating them, making them truly otherworldly as if they could really be from another planet from our own. Yet, overall, Asimov uses originality in anything he writes, and his work has really be an inspiration to me.

Thought it wasn't until I read End of Eternity that I was inspired to put something down on paper. The novel is about a man named Andrew Harlan, who is an Eternal, part of a league of chosen men who are brought out of Time to monitor countless centuries of Earth's history and its effects, altering and changing whatever they believe is for the good of Mankind. Harlan is a particularly gifted Eternal; however, he ends up falling in love with a woman who is in Time, which is forbidden. So as he uses his powers and influence to keep their love hidden, Harlan begins to unravel the secrets of Eternity and ultimately the fate of Universe itself. It is a fascinating read, one of which sparked a lot of thoughts and ideas. While I was contemplating them this image stuck in my mind:

The concept behind this image is that it is thousands upon thousands of years in the future, and mankind has found a way to spread himself into space as easy as it is for us to build cities on Earth today. The man-made establishments interconnect all throughout the solar system, the galaxy, and beyond. I had the idea that they would be structured after molecules, and that there would be shuttle travel through tubes that connect you to the next city structure, so in a sense mankind has gone molecular on a macroscopic level. I imagined these being wide-spread far into the Universe, connecting galaxies even; mankind spreading deeper and deeper into space, controlled by the insatiable desire to reach the stars and beyond! In this image, though, one lone scientist overlooks a section of the Earth, the sky obstructed by these structures. My young brother observed that the structures looked a lot like dandelions, which isn't surprising really. Drawing architecture or any geometric space isn't my strong suit being that I like working with organic shapes, so even my buildings take on the shapes found in nature. That is why this drawing is really an experiment for me, to push my imagination, skill, and to challenge me in an area that I am weakest. 

This concept does have an even larger story behind it. Maybe one day I will write it out, I kind of imagine it as a novel with illustrations, but for now I have this drawing and Isaac Asimov will continue to inspire me.