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Sunday, March 25, 2012

Art of 'Diary of a Second Life' Part I

When I decided that this book would be a diary being kept by a teen, it occurred to me that there maybe should be some illustrations.  I've created maps for my other books, so why not this one?  Making them hand drawn in a notebook also leads to the idea that the character might want to draw other stuff, too.

Problem is ... I can't draw.  I suck at it.

I momentarily considered getting a talented friend of mine to draw the things I wanted to see or have illustrated, but then I thought there was no reason that my character should be a post-apocalyptic Leonardo da Vinci.  So, Wess Marin sucks at drawing, just like me.

A few spoilers will appear after the JUMP, but I'll be saving the really big spoilery pics for another post.

All drawings are embiggenable.

I drew them in a marble-covered composition book just like the tea-stained one you see on the cover.  I used a good-old fashioned wooden pencil with a dull point to sketch out the images.  Then I used a fine mechanical pencil to define the real edges.  Lastly, I used a .05 mm Pilot ink pen to flesh it out further.  I colored in areas using all three.

First up, Lee: the (mostly) underground complex where our hero lives:
Because of the sun, most of Lee's people live in the underground tunnels and rooms.  There are crops above ground, an animal barn and a large network of walls and fences.

In a later post, I'll detail the geography of the book, including how and where Lee (and the other places) line up in the real world.

Young Wess Marin is a watcher in Lee, and the tools of that trade are a hammer, nails (both seen on the cover) and a telescope, all usually kept in a leather tool belt.  There is also the matter of weaponry.  Watchers were trained in archery but also blades.  Wess' father uses a sword, much like you'd imagine one.  Wess, though, prefers what he calls a "curve."

These are the lockers.  Now, they are mentioned several times in the book before it is explained what they are or do.  Essentially, they fit over your mattress and you sleep inside.  When you awaken, there's a lever at the top and a pedal at the bottom to manipulate simultaneously so you can get out.  Why?  Well, if you go terminal in the night, you'll be trapped inside, protecting everyone else.

Now, things get more spoilery from here on out.  I encourage you to stop here if you haven't yet read the book.  Download it HERE and use code EC76Q to get it for just 99¢.  Also available at Amazon for $1.99.




The rider.  The first outsider anyone in Lee has seen for about fifty years.  He comes to offer an invitation to anyone in Lee to join his people, but the nature of the general of Wess' home compound is insular, so only Wess, his father and the general know about the visit.

The back flag is supposed to be reminiscent of the samurai flags you can see in Akira Kurosawa films.  The symbol on it will be detailed further in a later post.  There are both water and tree motifs in his armor.  If you've read the book, you know why, but you'll see more in a later post.

Drawing the neck collar was important to me but hard.  It's supposed to be metal and cumbersome and it restricts movement.  What's it for?  Well ... the idea came to me really early on, but the reason is not revealed explicitly in the book until the climax.

Not spoilery, but after Wess leaves Lee, he stops at a river bank where he finds a collapsed bridge and all that remains of its supports.  (I'll detail where this bridge is in that later geography post.)

Here's an early drawing I did.  It's a real bridge, too, but it didn't line up with the real-world path that Wess undertakes.

Ah, a terminal.  This is probably number twenty-one of all the ones I drew.  I drew several more afterward, but none looked as good as this one.  (Well, "good" being a relative term.)

The symbol on the shirt?  You gotta read the book.

Want more info on "terminals" and the whole zombie thing?  I'll have another post on that soon, too.

I'll stop here for now, because the later drawings and maps are all too spoilery.  They'll be up soon enough.

Here's one more, though:

At one point during Wess' travels, an emaciated dog follows him around.  I drew plenty of raggedy and skinny dogs hiding behind a tree and this is the "best" of them.  As shite as many of my illustrations may be, I just felt this was lacking even more.  So, it's out.  Not in the book at all.

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