Monday, January 14, 2019
Breathing Some Life Into Veldt
Here is how Veldt looked in last Spring when I stashed it in an out-of-the-way corner of the studio so I could focus my efforts towards other pieces for Pop Culture Palimpsest.
Time to get back at it.
Since there is an underlying theme of technology fostering interpersonal detachment, I thought it appropriate on the first layer to add a reference to one of my favorite video games on the Atari 2600 (back in the day), Adventure. I spent a ridiculous amount of my childhood happily playing that game.
If you've ever read Ready Player One by Ernest Cline or seen the 2018 movie of the same name (based on the book), then you'll know that Adventure was one of the first known video games to include an Easter Egg.
Here's how it goes: If you found the 'secret room' inside the black castle you could pick up this black dot which you had to transport to another part of the world/realm (watch out for that damn bat...) to be able to move through this wall (line) and into another secret area. That 2nd secret area had the the words "created by Warren Robinett" running down the center of the space. It looked something like this:
This was a big deal back in the late 1970s/early 1980s for at least two reasons: 1st) video game companies didn't want their game programmers becoming famous/notorious/more expensive, so they tried to keep them anonymous -this was the first time a programmer sneaked their name into the game so we actually knew who made it, and 2) this rewarded video game players for scouring the digital worlds in which they were playing looking for other bonuses/goodies. If you like hidden rooms/ bonus levels, or secret stashes of weapons in your video games, crack open an icy cold cold-one and thank Warren Robinett.
So back to Veldt. I've added a couple of the mazes from Adventure (with a few modifications) and 2 of the castles (neither castle has its appropriate color scheme) to the base of the image. I even have the secret room in the black castle and the location of the message/programmer's name as a bonus.
Now some of the relief areas (sandwiched in between the mazes) get their first wash of color.
A few close ups (before I add any kind of line work).
Now it's time to start adding some line work to help give definition to select areas of the composition.
Obviously I need to add the three dragons, a few keys, and maybe even the sword. I may even develop a protagonist character other than the little square that was in the original game. Back in 1981 we moved a little square around the screen for endless hours of fun. Nowadays, a square isn't so captivating.
One key. Two key.
Some frightening dragon action.
Years ago, I swear I saw an interview with the actor John Lithgow and I remember him saying something to the effect that "Anything worth doing is worth overdoing". I've not been able to verify this, but his words have stuck with me for decades now.
With that expression in mind, I decided that to in order to sell 'my' roar, I should overdo the Rs.
I decided to paint as many Rs as I could in a 30 minutes.
30 minutes later I'm forced to question the wisdom of my actions...
Some notations on the map.
Our protagonist battling the dragons for the chalice.
Here is how everything looks before I dive in with any kind of color. If the image is dense enough for my liking, I won't add anymore line work on this layer. If it seems a bit anemic, I'll have to hit the sketchbooks again.
Time to let Veldt sit and hang out for a bit....oh, yeah, 300!