Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Book cover: The Language-tree

A PhD in linguistics studies, that I did the cover-picture for,
here you see characters from both "Alice in Wonderland" and "The Alchemist".

More is more

I really like to make super-detailed drawings. It´s true that they take a very long time to make, but a good part of my artistic nature is to make intricate and complex things. Life is complex. I love the interplay between "the whole picture" and all the individual details. I like the work of Sven Nordquist, Ali Mitgutsh and Richard Scarry. It is like a comic-book page, where the whole page is a picture that is made up of a number of smaller pictures.

The first sketch I sent to Annemarie

Judge a book by it´s cover

Half a year ago, a fellow-student of my sister-in-law asked me if I could do an illustration for the cover of her PhD in linguistics studies.
I will try to explain a little bit about what is on the book-cover. In the picture you can see characters from the Lewis Carroll´s  "Alice in Wonderland", and from Paulo Coelho´s "The Alchemist".
Annemarie, the researcher, studied twenty translations of these two books to find small but significant differences in the language used. The differences, she then used to build a model of how all these languages relate to each other. This evolutionary model is illustrated by the branch with all the books hanging from it. Each book representing a language.
A better description of the subject is on the university´s website.

The finished pencil-sketch, approved

After I am done inking the drawing,
I scan it, clean it up, and print it out again to colour it.

Look here

The trick to keep an over-detailed drawing from becoming messy, is to create one main element. This will help guide the eye of the reader over the page. In this specific picture the eye falls on the white field around the faces of Santiago and Fatima. After that, the eye is free to wander around the page to all the other things that are hidden in the foliage. Thinking about layout like this is something I do a lot for my work for the YWAM magazine.
I had a lot of fun working on this drawing, and I especially loved it that I was able to tell so much with only one picture.

The invitation to the defence the research was a bookmark,
fittingly with the white rabbit as the herald of the event.

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