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C05P31 – The Smell

C05P31 – The Smell published on 15 Comments on C05P31 – The Smell

The nose knows something, but will the boys figure it out?

In the latest video, I talk about reference as a way to improve art, but this weekend I re-discovered a source of inspiration for art.

Cory & I took a mini-vacation to Manitou Springs, Colorado. While there, we visited cliff dwellings so I could get reference photos for future locations. Afterwards we stopped at the gift shop, and on the shelves were a series of children books.

When I was a child, some of my favorite books were about Native American legends. I lost those books in a fire, and I haven’t found them since. And there, sitting on the shelves, was a whole stack of them. I nearly broke down in tears at the store. My hands were shaking as I snatched them all up. It cost a pretty penny, but I didn’t care.

One of them I remembered loving as a child, but I didn’t recall much about the contents, just the images. It’s called “The Legend of the Indian Paintbrush.” It’s a story about a young boy that was different than the other children in his village, but when he got his dream vision, he was given the mission to paint the colors of the sunset. He dedicated himself to his work, but the colors were never bright enough, never right. Still, he stayed dedicated to his task, even though sometimes he yearned to join the other boys in hunting. At last, because he never faltered in his task, he was rewarded with a gift of pure pigments, bright enough to capture the colors of the sky.

Ever re-discover an old inspiration? What was it? How did it inspire you?

15 Comments

Children visit this site. Moderate your language accordingly.

I find bits of inspiration just about everywhere but I’ve found it difficult to put anything to paper, be it written or drawn, lately. But it’s always great to go back to something that just made your imagination run wild as a child and relive the memories and maybe draw some new inspiration.

Ireland has always been a part of my life. My dad used to always play Irish songs when I was little, and I just got a bunch of the songs onto my iPad, so I listen to them all the time now. Ireland is very inspirational to me. I’m sure I’ll write something set there or set in a place of my making that draws heavily from there. …I just realized, the setting I’m working on right now for my novel is an island. And I’m sure there are more Ireland influences there that I haven’t recognized.

I just watched the video. Don’t take Appa hostage! Didn’t he suffer enough in the episode “Appa’s Lost Days?!” πŸ™‚ Being a geek is fun.
Finding references is something I really should put more effort into. Research is not my strong suit. …Says the girl who has been drawing Avatar and Korra fanart pretty much straight from screenshots. I’m in an Avatar phase right now. πŸ˜€

Drawing from screenshots is also a form of reference, particularly if you’re learning how and why the original artist drew that image that way. I’d still advocate expanding your reference sources to include a lot of different things. Otherwise learning only from stylized drawings can become like a game of telephone. Part of why the animation in ATLA and Korra is so good is that Mike and Brian provide the animators with so much (hilarious and) awesome video reference!!

Might be worth combining your inspiration with other sources — I’m sure there are lots of interesting things to study in Irish history and folklore!!

I’m sorry, but at this point, I’d like to say some words of criticism. Maybe it was only my impression, yet maybe it can still be useful.

The switch between the last scene in the train and the first scene on the station is marked by the end of chapter four and the beginning of chapter five. However, this switch was kind of hard for me to follow. In the end I’ve realized that there won’t be any loose tables chairs and bulbs in a train, but it took time – till the strip 26, when we clearly see that it is a building. When finally I was able to find the place, or, more precisely, that this was not the place I thought, I was lost in time till the strip 31, when, thanks to Pakku’s superior smelling we get that only about several hours have passes since the incident.

I was really a bit confused when reading this chapter.

Thank you for the feedback! This chapter was an experiment for me in non-linear storytelling — my first attempt at it, to challenge myself. I will readily confess that my skills in this area are unpolished and need work!

Could you be more specific about what could have helped make this more clear? It sounds like the lack of clear “place” threw you off — if I’d had an establishing shot of the outside of the building at the start, would that have helped? Perhaps shown the train station relative to the place they are now, to physically connect the setting of last chapter to the present?

Or is it an issue of time that is a bigger problem?

You know, I’ve been thinking about what could be improved there already when writing the previous comment, but got stuck as well. I mean, I really like the overall composition of the story.

Maybe, indeed, a strip with a station. The steam engine is still on fire, we see the smoke from the pipe. Injured, probably with fresh stains of blood, are taken away from the car. I hope this should give an impression that a) the place has changed b) only several hours have passed since the incident.

Maybe (now I’m going out of borders) You could also show Warren entering the interrogation room, and bind it to his recollections – the first strip of the chapter, where he enters the room of his father. In that way the fine cut of the story won’t be damaged (or, at least, won’t be damaged too much).

I suppose that the scene where the lieutenant has been treated by the assassin/doctor had to give an impression of something space and time, especially because the doctor tells the poor guy not to fall asleep, but it didn’t work on me for some reason. Pakku would have spotted all the details from the very beginning, but I failed.

Nobody should expect themselves to be Pakku just to follow a story. πŸ™‚

Thank you for the thoughts and suggestions. I’ll definitely keep these lessons in mind for future work!

Oh, snap! The sniffing *is* important.

I recently reread the His Dark Materials series by Phillip Pullman (they’re amazing, if you haven’t read them). When I was a girl, they were just an awesome fantasy series. Now that I’m older, I can appreciate the ridiculous amount of craftsmanship that went into them. It’s one of those things that really goads me into writing, because I only wish I could be that good.

Tomie dePaola! I have my very first book report ever, written back in 1st grade, on β€œThe Legend of the Indian Paintbrush.” I loved that story and it launched me into a life time of myth and religion. I have almost all the children’s books that he wrote and illustrated and some that he just illustrated. Are you familiar with his Strega Nona series or the irish folktales he did?

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