Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Stone Figures of Ebulon

Inside the seated stone figures of Ebulon of Dinotopia are many levels of rooms hollowed out from the rock.

The sleeping chambers are on the top level, with windows looking out through the eyes of the statue. Below that are workshops and a privy or toilet to the right. The next level contains kitchens and dining areas. The bottom level of this cutaway view reveals a storehouse for barrels of salted fish, and a roosting area for the skybaxes, which leads out to a flight platform on the lap of the seated figure. 

Various views of the Ebulon figures in the book Dinotopia: Journey to Chandara are all based on this rough clay maquette. It was about four inches high, and it only took about a half hour to sculpt. I recycled the clay after photographing it.

A physical maquette pays great dividends in the understanding of lighting. Note the warm reflected light in the shadow planes on the right of the figure, compared to the cool tones of the fill light. This information is very hard to invent, and it makes all the difference in convincing the viewer of the reality of an imagined world.

From Dinotopia: Journey to Chandara, published in 2007


Micah said...

It's the simple tricks like these that are an utter "revelation" for many begining illustrators. It was these precious bits of information that got me hooked on this site. I consider GurneyJourney to be my unnofficial illustration class that I attend every day. Who can help it when one has such an awesome teacher like Jim!

P.S. these little bits of info are pure gold!

James Gurney said...

Thanks, Micah, I'm glad you're getting a lot out of the blog. I learn just as much by doing it.

I started using maquettes because of the tips I got from older illustrators Tom Lovell and Jack Wemp.

My Pen Name said...

On the subject of maquettes
I stumbled on this @ at the new Met exhibit rooms with a view:

notice the huge canvas- apparently at the time the arist Friedrich Matthäi was working on a last supper - now note the figurines in the corner apparently all around a table...

Marc Is My Hero! said...

was happy to notice Color and Light back on the shelves of the Union Square Barnes and Noble today.

And I completely agree with Micah. I found this site while looking to brush up on some theories That I felt I needed a refresher on (its been more than a few years since I've been out of school). Each day I can't wait to see what lesson James has planned, and it is so wonderful to be able to go back and forth between Color and Light, Imaginative Realism, and Gurney Journey. I feel like I am back in school in the best ways - inspired and enthusiastic!