- July 18, 2023
I’ll ask Lucas to create pictures where the reader could lose the main character in a crowd, but doesn’t, because that would make the art mostly pointless. Most of the time my contributions to the visual structure are minimal. The manner in which the art seems to consistently match what I see in my head in becoming a little creepy. I’m afraid there’s some kind of Being John Malkovich portal into my creative centres that Lucas has found but won’t tell me about.
In many of our conversations and pitch battles (or “creative sessions” if you need a better metaphor) Lucas and I reference The Dark Crystal, a movie that has apparently lost it’s place in culture with the upcoming generation. Which is a shame. A whole new era of children won’t have the chance to be deeply traumatized by this Jim Henson waking-nightmare. (But for real you should totally watch it, just prepare for weirdness and puppets beyond most normal comfort zones.) The terrain of the Village across these pages most reminds me of the production design from that film. It’s alien, otherworldly and yet someplace I’d like to live. Though I’m sure in today’s market my only chance would’ve been to buy in about ten years ago at best. I don’t know what land values in the Village have risen too recently but if it’s following the trends I’m sure even the smallest hut would still fetch seven figures.
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I’ve got houses! Houses for days!
Jea’s village is a perfect example of the obsessive creative rabbitholes Steve’s ideas send me down. We started talking about this place five (!) years ago, and I’ve done hundreds of concept sketches since. It’s a very important location (for reasons that will become obvious over the coming months), and it was crucial to get it just right.
The sketches below were getting into the nitty-gritty of how the culture and history of Jea’s people is reflected in their homes and architecture. The village has been grown out of the landscape using a combination of scavenged technology and crafted natural materials. It took months of brainstorming to figure out exactly how to express that, but it’s very gratifying to see Jea’s hometown coming to life on the page!
An important reference for the village was bracket fungus on old tree trunks … although the sketches below inspired the scaffolding and catwalks that connect the buildings, they felt a little too clean and futuristic.
I really liked the whimsy of these structures; if you’re careful you’ll be able to spot some of these houses on the finished comic pages.
‘Hobbit holes in the sky’. Pretty much sums it up.
‘What if the roofs of the houses are scavenged structures, like the shells of a hermit crab?’