Before Ian and I met for our official Kickstarter project kickoff in February, we agreed to a bit of pre-illustration homework. It was slightly ambitious homework, perhaps; we each wanted to identify a sequence of scenes from Realms Unreel that captured the entire story (350+ pages of narrative) in just a handful of images.
When we sat down together to share our ideas, we were glad to discover that we had identified several scenes in common. What was even more interesting, though, was where our scene choices diverged. In those cases, we found that we were often trying to capture the same concepts with different visuals. It was fun to consider the pros and cons of the different options, and in the end we were able to whittle down our list of scenes to a core set that we deemed essential and an ancillary set that would be nice to have.
For each scene, we discussed the key character traits, relationships, environment details, action, emotion, and symbolism we hoped to convey. I found this to be really exciting work, as it forced me to reconsider the story and characters for myself, and it gave me the chance to hear Ian’s perspective as an artist and as a first-time reader coming to the story with fresh eyes and ideas.
With our list of scenes in hand, we knew which characters we would be depicting in our illustrations, so Ian could begin the work of sketching concepts for each.
What you see in this post are first drafts of a number of characters. For those of you who have started reading, these will include some familiar faces. (I’ve only included sketches of characters who appear in the first five chapters of Realms Unreel, as I don’t want to include any spoilers.)
All of these drawings, mostly ballpoint pen, are going to evolve quite a bit as Ian and I continue sketching, reviewing concepts, and sharing visual references with each other. In the coming month, these designs will be refined as Ian explores using ZBrush to achieve a unique look and feel for the book illustrations.