Monday, May 24, 2010
Creature & Environment Illustration: Grotto Gargantuan
Welcome all to the first ever post from Soulful Savage. For me the 'Grotto Gargantuan' illustration was an exercise in proving out 'the concept art process'; from the spark of thought, through exploratory sketches to the final treatment featured here. This is what you see, but under the surface this piece is more than the final image, and for me its value has more to do with the reasons 'why' it was created. As an artist I feel it is vital to understand the 'WHY- Factor', for when you understand the reasons behind all that you do, be it art related or in general living, the road ahead can be made clear to you. At least this is as it was for me.
Largely 'Grotto Gargantuan' has everything to do with crafting something that was from myself... something rescued from the corners of my mind that had been, up until only recently, bound in stillness. This piece, has proven a welcome outlet and has indeed ignited the creative fires to produce work of a close and personal nature... to spend time investing in creative visions that truly showcase what I like to do and what I am also capable of. For me this was long overdue...
The influences are unmistakable and indeed the original brief I set myself was to 'create an environment and a creature supported by it that could plausibly belong to the Pandora Universe; the world of Avatar.' A me too piece I might hear you say and the thought did occur to me as well... but lets just say that it is not too often that a film comes along that so whole-heartedly captures the imagination of the People on such a global scale. Avatar is certainly one of them, and it spoke to me on so many levels, but perhaps on the most profound front it called me to task to remember my dreams... and to remember that it is the strength of a creative and innovative Vision that will resonate and stand the test of time, not necessarily what the market forecast indicates. Indeed it is how the most powerful Licensed properties on the planet have come into existence; from a fresh, innovative concept backed by a cohesive creative vision.
So I went with it as a starting point, beginning with the environment and using it to inform the compositional make-up of my creature. Glistening luminous fungus, moss veiled roots and plunging streams were the order of the day... I wanted to convey the notion of a secluded grotto behind the base of a waterfall; shrouded by twisting foliage, where my creature could roost in private. Misted forests from Canada and elements like the giant lilly-pad contributed to both the content and the shape conventions for this wet and back-lit space.
The creature was a response to the environment (the creature design will be more fully explored in a subsequent post.) Drawing on reference from many varied aquatic life-forms to inject qualities that would make the Gargantuan feel like something from that world, but also separate it as something not yet seen. I made a conscious decision to abandon the 'six-legged' convention in order to set it apart from Avatar, and drew heavily on the surface qualities of coloured crayfish for material treatment. Familiar creatures like the squid and the chameleon were used as the basis for the Gargantuan's physical make-up. So what began as an image inspired by Avatar has finished as something different...
I thank you for your time and hope that you have enjoyed what has been shown... from me there is much more to come and when I think of the potentials, the ideas and the concepts not yet envisioned my head is set to spinning!
Listen to the Soul: remember always what is most important, and never compromise on it. Defend that like a Savage.....
J S Pullen