Newest Book ...

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Writing, Again: Part IV: Visual Inspiration

A few years back, I utilized my meager artistic skills to kickstart my imagination.  Like the Kobollian Cylon or Zeus' propaganda.

This time is no different and I found some inspiration in a strange place.

My son's Beyblades.

You may not know what they are.  They're metal and plastic tops that spin and clink into each other in arenas.  Pretty neat.  But even more neat was this odd pattern I discovered in the bottom of one of these pieces of imported Japanese pop culture:

See that?  (It was a pain to photograph.)  It's like a giant bird with outstretched wings and feathers that encircle the whole thing.  It's so reminiscent of the Kobollian/Colonial eagle/phoenix that I knew I had to use this.

Unfortunately, I'm no artist.  I wasn't able to isolate the bird well enough to use.  (If anyone wants to give it a shot, please, go ahead.)  But I managed to create something similar.

Early in Book Five, I describe the flag of the emperor that appears on a television screen: "Your attention, please," an unseen announcer said over the image of the emperor's seal, a stylized metallic eagle whose wings encircled a mask painted blood red over a purple fluttering flag. "Lord Imperator, Princeps Senatus, Caesar Maxentius the Ninth."

And here it is:

The color is Tyrian purple.  The dye was so rare in ancient days only the emperors wore clothes using it.

The idea of the blood red face comes from the Roman triumphs.  When an emperor was feted in such a way, his face was painted red to evoke Jupiter.  (See this scene from the great HBO series Rome.)

The mask itself comes from a Roman ceremonial mask found at the site of the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest.  (Go here and scroll down a bit.  You'll see it.)

Lastly, "CPQT."  You probably remember seeing some show or movie about ancient Rome and seeing "SPQR" everywhere.  That means "Senatus Populusque Romanus" ... "the Senate and people of Rome."  I wanted something similar but not quite a direct copy.  I originally went with "Imperator Populesque Tiberiis" but that abbreviated as "IPQT."  ("Tiberiis," of course, because my Roman analogue is the Tiberian Empire, based in Tiber.  I suppose that means the river that runs through the city is the Rome.)  I chose "Caesar Populusque Tiberiis."  Maybe I'll change my mind again and go with "Caesar Senatusque Tiberiis."

I'm actually writing now, but I'll post some more visual inspirating that I did in the coming days.

No comments:

Post a Comment