Friday, October 29, 2010

Tepui Landscape

Played around with the blur and sharpen to create some depth, added some gradients to create atmosphere, and some pterodactyls for scale.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Greyscale version of Landscape

I am still at the B&W stage of the painting, but any comment on composition and basic shape detail would be appreciated. The expedition is getting closer to the top, and the spire-like outcropes are related to the description in the book.

I am going a bit too dark here so I will lighten it up a bit. Plus I can see now in smaller scale that the lower part of the cliff falls too quickly.

Speed Painting Environment 15 Minute

A quick sketch based on a picture just to get some ideas working, nothing fancy nor realistic, just blocking shapes.

The scale was much smaller in the image and by putting quit large objects in the foreground, it really increases the size of the plateau in the background, hopefully creating a more inaccessible territory.

Speed Painting of Creature for Lost World III

Here is another creature again based on beasts actually seen and talked about in the book. A stegadon, albeit slightly modified, with a twisting tale in a similar way to a cameleon and a skeletal head, maybe to suggest that those animals should have been dead and something else is keeping them alive, related to the mystical nature of the Tepui where they are found. But I find this concept quit cheesy and unoriginal so it is in no way a path I would want to follow later on.

Speed Painting of Creature for Lost World II

Another creature, this time based on an iguanodon, an animal present in the story. I added some quick colours to make it different, and stay in tune in how luxuriant and colourful the whole setting is. I am not as happy as with the first one, mainly due to the post which I find very boring though, I only noticed a bit too late, and restarting would be against the idea of a speed paint.

The Cabinet of Dr.Caligari

A stunning masterpiece of German Expressionism, ‘Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari’, made in 1919 by Robert Wiene, was a critical success, which influenced many directors and multiple genres, such as film noire. Its marvelous visuals, coupled with a excellent acting by Werner Krauss, Friedrich Feher and Conrad Veit , brings forth a story of  murder and deceit. The asymmetric architecture, where vivid colours can be imagined, creates an off balance set which befuddles the eye. With scenes of anthology, such as the one where the Somnambulist carries the young women on the uneven roofs of Holstenwall.

The movie is presented as a flashback, with Francis sitting on a bench with an older man, recounting him a story he experienced earlier on in his life. He narrates the coming of a mysterious individual called Dr.Caligari, who brought with him a somnambulist. We see him enter the tent with his friend Alan. When Alan asks the mime to tell him his future, he gets as an answer that he is going to die at dawn. True to his word the mime kills Alan during the night.

This brings us to a cat and mouse chase to find the killer. I have found that people today generally fail to appreciate movies according to their cultural setting and to the time it was made. The overacting is essential in silent cinema, for without it, the movie would be incomprehensible, for through it, the message is passed. The music plays wonders at creating the mood and complements the acting, with deep sounds when there is tension in the air and a lighter melody as the mood lifts and joy flows through the viewer.

The main characters each represent one aspect of the human being. The sleepwalker, very Freudian, as he fails to kill Jane, seemingly enthralled by her beauty. In what at first looked like a scene of rape, turns into a kidnapping. This ends in disaster as he eventually abandons her in the face of pursuit and falls into a ravine where he dies. Is change in attitude is an interesting case to study, its psychological meaning not lost to the viewer. Why, after staying so loyal to his master, does the somnambulist suddenly fail to act in the required manner? One must look into the deeper psyche of the subject and look at the subconscious. It seems that abandons himself to a subconscious sexual lust, which causes his change in action.

On to the Doctor, described as a Madman, straining at the chains inside his cell, and possessed of a diabolical look. His actions spark the intrigue in the movie, his obscure dealings with the art of hypnotism allowing him to mind control the poor soul know as the Somnambulist. Through him, Dr.Caligari can fulfill his dark motives, though this is the view of Francis.  The role evokes a lot classic references to old tales and legends. Werner Krauss, who plays the role, is masterful in his interpretation, the madness in his eye lined with kohl inspiring unease. The extreme use of make-up and simple costumes enables the actors to really go to town with their extravagant yet extremely useful way of portraying emotions.

Yey in an incredible twist in the film, we find out the Francis is the actual madman, not the Doctor, and that he is interned in an asylum with Jane and the Somnambulist. The a twist had never been seen before in film history, and added to this dark and surrealist film, made by an expressionist director. The film is a the start of a new genre, and as Catherine Bray from Film4 says: “With a zombie-like killer and twist-in-the-tale this anticipates everything from psychological thrillers to stalk 'n' slash.”

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Speed Painting of Creature for Lost World

I am trying to build up a bestiary for all the creatures I am going to include in my final pieces, some sort of well where I can just pick up illustrations and work them into my landscapes. This is the first, with some t rex influence. In the end I feel it looks like a chicken.

Research for Final Illustrations

As I was browsing through the net for pictures related to my book, The Lost World, I fell on these wonders called "Tepui" They are rocky formations found mostly around Venezuela. Tepui means House of God in the native language of the Pemon, the local indians living in the Gran Sabana. The Tepui is an abrupt plateau, and is very impressive to look at. The most famous, and I believe the largest is called Roraima. Here are some pictures:

This last one is my favorite, one of the most impressive shots I have ever seen. I hadn't read my passage yet when I found these passages. After reading it, I was pleasantly surprised that the author had set his story on these impressive formations. I had been a bit reluctant to throw myself completly into the idea of a plateau in the amazon, but then I hadn't been thought that something so epic could exist. This perfectly fits the vision I have in my mind, now it is for me to reproduce those ideas onto paper.

Quick Speed Painting 20 minutes

A quick drawing I did in about 20 minutes, showing some canyons with an emarald river going through them, and tiny canoes carrying the expedition closer to its goal.

Floating Rocks and Plateau Concept

I don't like this one too much. I am having trouble reproducing scale on a large level. The rocks all look like pebbles, their is no sense of depth. I need to work more on the textures to increase the detail, and therefore increasing the scale.

This represents the expedition walking through the mountains that lead to the plateau, and as they walk through the mystical landscape, they come across a giant dinosaur hunting around the floating rocks. I have made a few initial shapes to try and get the right pose, all comments are welcome.

So here is some work in progress:

 Blogger is really annoying me with its lack of precision when placing pictures.

Here is some of the beast sketchs:

C&C welcome.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Forest Concept

Here is a quick sketch of a what the expedition could possibly see when arriving towards the plateau, barely visible through the heavy mist. This is very early idea, so it is still quit similar to what could be found in the real world with no real design innovations. The dinosaurs are included to stay true to the original text.

Here is the development. I started with a quick defining of the mountains, added some textures to created a the flora, added a white gradient on the top and then added quick drawings of pterodactyls.



Forest Concept

This took about half an hour to do, a quick sketch of the forest through which the expedition in the Lost World walks through. I will do more refined illustrations later, mainly playing around with the colours, as it is described as possessing colourful lychen and plants, as well as having a mysterious aura to it. Lots of potential there.

No work in progress as it isn't of real interest for this image, it was done too quickly

Monday, October 25, 2010

Environment Concept

Having found out that my topic will be the Lost World by Conan Doyle, I decided to start some quick concept pieces to set a mood and to try and find the artistic direction for this project. Having had some time management issues last project, and not following the brief in some cases, I am now determined to stay focused and to work efficiently.

So here is the first, a two hour session. Though it could get some more refinment I am trying to stay vague as this is more to find the right tones and colours on which to work.

Different stages:

I tries to include colour earlier than I usually do, and this considerably accelerated the whole process. I felt later on during the drawing process that their was a slight ancient Egyptian influence to the piece, mainly due to the bird on the top left which reminded me of the birds found near the Nile River. I added the two pyramids to keep the theme and to try and feel space through composition. I hope it has the desired effect.