Thursday, March 15, 2018

Where do stories begin?

Can a good story idea come from a single image?

That's the question I've been asking myself. In this post I'll take you through a new personal project idea that began just like this. 

It has been a while since my last post so if you've come back, thank you! And if you're a new visitor, a big welcome! Let’s keep going…

I read that the story of Narnia came to CS Lewis in the single image of a faun carrying an umbrella and parcels through a snowy wood. It's interesting to note that some writers think in visual terms - I've known a few who do. The beauty of being an illustrator is the ability to test these ideas in visual form, which is especially handy in the case of visual narratives. This brings me to the images I want to share with you today.

drawing of elephants travelling in a line

The idea began with an image of elephants traveling in a long line.

illustration of a baby elephant with family climbing a mountain

Not the most original concept. Not much of a concept at all really, and yet something about the visual grabbed me. I began to see what kind of ideas developed as I added a baby elephant as a possible protagonist. A little warmth entered the visuals, and pathos became a real possibility.

early thumbnail drawing

I continued to develop the world that they might inhabit, and it started to look a little more hostile. Now there was some tension, a hinting at some sort of drama.

small planning drawing of elephants walking over lava

small planning drawings of elephants walking over lava

small planning drawing of a volcanic landscape

small planning drawings of a volcanic landscape

finished pencil illustration of a volcanic landscape

There are numerous themes that I feel these visuals could potentially evoke. At this early stage however, a clear narrative eludes me. I will continue to develop these visuals between other projects and see where it leads. I feel at the very least that a visually interesting series of illustrations could unfold.

In the mean time I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below, or if you prefer feel free to get in touch with me.

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