Thursday, November 14, 2019

Inktober 2019, Day 26: Dark

I've seen a lot of illustrators create atmosphere-monsters, and I've been wanting to give it a try myself. They create a lot of atmosphere at the horizon (clouds, smoke, the haziness of distance) and slightly delineate the monster's form (usually tall and lanky, a giant robot or massive skeletal creature), but leave the eyes blank and white (or in color, if it's a color illustration) so they glow. Having the atmosphere at the horizon makes the monster look super-tall, towering above skyscrapers. Here's an example by Canadian and French illustrator Nicolas Delort:

Illustration by Nicolas Delort
NOT my drawing. This is by Nicolas Delort, a Canadian and French illustrator. It shows the type of bright-eyed atmosphere-monster I'm talking about.
The funny thing is, the original illustrations from War of the Worlds used the same conceit for the killer robot Martians over a century ago. Maybe Henrique Alvim Corrêa even invented it for the novel. I ran across his illustrations a few years back while illustrating for an exhibit in Scotland about the history of sci-fi and architecture. Here's Corrêa's take in 1906:

1906 Illustration by Henrique Alvin Corrêa for War of the Worlds
NOT my drawing. This is a 1906 illustration by Henrique Alvim Corrêa for War of the Worlds.
So I went to create my own atmosphere-monster to express how, walking down a city street in dank weather, you feel both omnipresent connection with the city at large, and simlutaneously part of a tiny huddled microcosm under your umbrella or in a cloud of light from a shop window. I started, naturally, with the atmosphere. I chose a rainy city street at twilight, a time which seems somehow even darker than night when it rains. However I got so into the foreground and rainy street scene that I wish I'd cut the monster out altogether so the focus was on the foreground. Oh, well. This might be a drawing I retool in the future.

Sketch of Inktober 2019, Day 26, Dark, by Ciana Pullen / St. Rhinocéros
Inktober 2019, Day 26, prompt word, "Dark." Dip pen and ink, 8 x 11 in. by Ciana Pullen. [Image description: cityscape showing a line of pedestrians with umbrellas crossing the street over a few clouds of billowing steam emerging from manholes. Behind them is a row of cars silhouetting them against headlights. On either side are tall buildings. The sky is dark and it's raining. The people's silhouettes and the headlights create black and white striped reflections on the wet pavement. On the right side, a corner shop window is illuminated. In the background, between two distant buildings and against the sky, the outline of a humanoid monster peers at the people and reaches out. Its eyes are blank white hearts.]

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