Monday, January 9, 2017


So how were stories conveyed after oral tradition? I imagined cave paintings were next when man began to evolve and develop a sense of objectivity about himself and the world around him.

I researched the cave paintings discovered in southwest France in Lascaux and remember studying them in school, but forgot how beautiful they were. I love doing research for my books because I learn new things and one of the things I learned was that these paintings were not merely of animals. They had another meaning, which I was totally unaware of and fit perfectly into the story.

As you'll see whenever the subject of the story is being depicted in I AM A STORY, it's in some way, shape, or form related to the night sky, the cosmos, as it was the very original subject on the title and campfire image page, which was then passed down from generation to generation. Well, I was concerned that the story man was conveying in the cave painting image was merely about things around him and his everyday experiences, but I was wrong- and relieved. 

Among the animals, depicted are 3 bright stars we know today as the Summer Triangle, as well as a star cluster of the Pleiades sometimes called the Seven Sisters. So even here, I was able to keep the content being conveyed consistent. 

It was also a star map. Whew!

Below is my original sketch for the dummy.

I printed out and pieced together some of the cave paintings and used it as my guide for the drawing. When Picasso went to Lascaux and saw the paintings he said that man had learned nothing new.

Now story would no longer need to be told by a particular person. It was depicted here for all time, or at least 16,500 years so far.

You'll also notice that the red bird makes an appearance, too. I thought it might be weird to have it flying by or perched on a rock inside the cave, but I thought a child wanting to imitate the artist by drawing it on a rock would be appropriate and a nice touch.

And here is the final image.

Moving ahead to stories written on clay tablets and in hieroglyphics, I did research on Sumeria, Mesopotamia and Egypt, which was fun for me. It has been said that the Sumerians invented writing (cuneiform), the stylus (used to write onto the clay tablets), the wheel, the plow, sewers, jewelry, bronze tools, geometry, medicine, architecture, and music, just to name a few.

So maybe it wasn't so strange that in my research I came across the image below of 3,000 year old hieroglyphs found in Seti 1's temple in Abydos, Egypt, of what I consider to be a helicopter, a plane, and a futuristic aircraft.

How could so many incredible things originate from a single culture? Perhaps some friends from another planet gave man a little help? Or time traveling future man checking in on his ancestor's progress? Just saying!

It's something to think about and for those of you who know me, it's something I think about a lot. I love science fiction and those of you who know my work, see it in some of my books.

Anyway, here it is. Let me know what you think.

Pretty wild, huh? I hope it's not a hoax.

Below is a depiction of two different forms of very early writing.

In the instance of the tablets, now you didn't need to go to a certain place (like the cave in Lascaux) to experience story, it was now portable (although incredibly heavy).

You'll notice that the bird appears in the sketch and line drawing for the Sumerian image.

But not necessarily in the Egyptian image. Or does it?

It doesn't appear in the final of the Sumerian image.

Why? Because the bird is in the hieroglyphics! I tricked you.

I wasn't going to allow an opportunity to pass to be able to reinforce the subject matter of the story being conveyed. It took some doing, but I actually wrote out the beginning of the story of man's origin according to the ancient Egyptians. Some of it is obscured by the characters, but it's there. I didn't want to just put a meaningless jumble of symbols there when I could actually give it a purpose.

We move onto papyrus scrolls and tapestries. 

Both of these images were single page and I completed them, but then my editor told me that the pagination needed to be changed, which completely changed 2 images. I created a double page spread depicting Japanese wood block printing, which then had to become a single page and my single page image of the tapestry and the king needed to become a double page spread!

Here are the line drawings of the components of the tapestry image, which I then arranged in Photoshop, then colored.

And here is the double page version of the tapestry spread. I actually like it more than the single page version.

We now move onto illuminated manuscripts created by monks in the early Medieval period, which I found fascinating. Here's the rough sketch.

And here is the very tight line drawing.

And here's the finish. Now multiple stories could be contained in a single volume.

I really enjoyed including small details like the cat and mouse. Did you spot the bird?

The next image, plays and performances, is one of my most favorite from the book. The lighting is dramatic and I got to draw dozens of faces in the crowd. I never actually come out and say the actor is performing a Shakespeare play, but I guess I sort of alluded to the Globe Theater in the final art, where many of his plays were performed. 

Below is the rough sketch. I didn't know what I was in for until I did the line drawing.

Now that's a lot of people! It was fun drawing the costumes of the era, especially those frilly collars.

You don't see the bird right away, but he's there. 

Now stories can be experienced in a dramatic setting with actors playing roles.

Around 1440, Johannes Gutenberg revolutionized how information (and for our purposes here, story) was disseminated around the world and we still feel it today. It was as profound as the wheel and the computer.

I wanted to show a busy printing shop.

You'll notice that the subject of what they are printing is still related to the cosmos, this time represented by prints of an engraving of the phases of the moon.

Now stories could be mass produced and distributed.

Next: The 20th and 21st Century.

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