It’s been a long time coming—and a long time since I’ve posted here, wow—but this piece is finally finished. It’s a character design for a story that I’ve only vaguely planned out, but it’s my first conscious step into doing something in the medieval fantasy genre. The full piece is pen & ink (well, a .005 and .01 Micron pen, anyway) on a sheet of 11″ x 14″ bristol-style paper. Conceptually I wanted to do something that seemed otherworldly yet familiar, so I tried to combine many motifs from our world and throw them together into one dress. Practically, this was a test of my patience and to push my limits. There is a concept drawing in the gallery below that uses outlines to delineate the toned areas, but outlines are within my comfort zone, so I decided to start again without using them. I’m glad that I did restart, because I’m more excited about what I could do with a drawing that honestly took too long to finish (and it wasn’t the stippling, either!)
This picture had been gathering dust on my bookshelf in a state of partial completion for at least two years, not so much because it took long to do, but because I just plain forgot about it. The Shangri-La exhibition at MAD had a lot to do with the completion of this piece in that I finally got back to thinking about the work that goes into crafting things. In the exhibition there were all sorts of furniture and tapestry and stonework that skilled tradespeople painstakingly crafted because they took care in what they did. Whether they cared for reputation, for love of the craft, for money, or for personal welfare almost doesn’t matter: these people pushed themselves to produce the best work they could. An Iranian peasant from the 1940s could craft a more magnificently-proportioned and mathematically precise stone tile than I could draft with Illustrator!
With that in mind, I returned to my bookshelf, pulled out the unfinished piece and reflected. It felt like I’d become complacent. Drawing like this is an attempt to erase that feeling, and frankly I feel fantastic doing it.