Friday, October 10, 2008
"O thou false knight and traitor unto knighthood, who did learn thee to distress ladies
When the knight saw Sir Launcelot thus rebuking
him he answered not, but drew his sword...
For both of these pieces I wanted to achieve a much more classic feel to the overall atmosphere. The difficulty for illustration, as it relates to stories, is its lack of narrative sequence--it requires compression. In my mind, I tend to see these stories in somewhat epic, idealized terms. This scene, if it were to be in a movie, would not need the dramatic lighting or golden atmosphere, because in a movie, the general effect is felt over the course of the whole experience, so that in the end, the combination of the story, the dialogue and the cinematics will convey epic-ness or romance in a way that no single image from the film may be able to convey. Likewise, in music, the passage of time allows for rise and fall of the music to build and build so that its overall story is not felt in any single note, but rather in the emotion that it conveys. An illustration on a story however, is an attempt to encapsulate the whole of the story into a single, frozen moment in time. There is no sequence of time, except as the artist is able to lead the viewer by means of composition or by including separated, sequential imagery.
For me, this is always an interesting problem. I rarely know everything about a piece at the beginning. In many ways the illustration plays out a story for me, and by the end, so many different scenes and opportunities are revealed, that I find it difficult to chose which to use and which to discard. As much as possible, I find myself wanting to layer several of them into the same image, so that each time you look at the image, new things are revealed. My favorite illustrations have always been this kind--with much to get lost in, even if it deals with only a single moment.