Jul30

House on Mountain Evening Scene Thumbnail

House on a Mountain: Evening Scene

The image above is what I hope will be the first among many attempts at creating landscapes and/or environments by me. It will be sold as a vector clip art stock illustration, and it has already been accepted at a few microstock sites (click the image to go to one). Most of my freelance requests come from clients who want figurative/character-based t-shirt designs. This results in my drawing lots of “mascots floating in space”. Nothing wrong with that, I love doing it, but I recently realized that I am very much out of practice with creating the environments that these characters might “live in”. I also came to realize that this would severely limit me in some upcoming projects I want to get started on.

I claim to be able to draw pretty much anything, which is a great confidence booster for prospective clients. But while my claim is technically true, some subjects cause me a good deal more of a struggle than others due to how much practice I get with said subject. I have avoided drawing environments in the past because in my younger days I found them boring, thinking that character/object work was where the real action is. And so my world-building has up until now been mostly limited to simple backdrops or backgrounds, usually the bare minimum necessary. I’m surprised to find that this misconception has lasted this long in my thinking.

A well-made environment has a life of its own, and is as much a character in a created world as those who inhabit said environments. In some cases, the walking-talking characters need their environments to be viable (in my humble opinion). Elves and Dwarves need their Middle Earth, Batman needs Gotham City, Darth Vader needs the Death Star (or some other structure built by Frank Lloyd Sith), and the Smurfs need…New York City, apparently. Kind of a non-example, that last one. But you get my point. And I heretofore resolve to more carefully design the environments my characters live in. For more reading on this and other subjects I recommend Scott McCloud’s small but weighty tome titled Making Comics.

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