Production is underway, illustrations are flourishing, and my chapbook of The Hollow Men is nearly finished. So, I figured that it was time to take a quick breather to update the current progress that’s being made! This post=big pictures. Three mood boards and a 68-inch jpg of the process. Definitely fun stuff.
After an English-intensive, line-by-line annotated analysis of the poem (see the long jpeg at the bottom), I began to search for inspiration. My idea was to use black imagery on cream text, although I was unsure of the style, medium, or how to represent the Hollow Men. I considered using only a typographic, linocut style (too time consuming for my limited timeframe), acrylic paints, watercolour, pencil, and every medium in between. From my initial sketches and analysis of the poem, I found that common concepts were ‘dryness,’ ’emptiness/hollowness,’ being ‘dead,’ etc. I began with sketches of a scarecrow, referring to the style of a sketch of a strange monkey-like man that I ran across and liked (credit to the artist on the monkey; I merely sketched it to replicate the stylistic feel…and maybe there was some subconscious Wizard of Oz influence going on in there?).
I hadn’t settled yet, though, and I continued looking for influence and ideas through the joys of Google images. I creeped photos of scarecrows –and all of their interpretations, from the loveable Scarecrow from Wizard of Oz, to innocuous scarecrows in a field, to ones blowing in the wind, to the creepy Scarecrow from Batman…(see this jumbo photo below)…
I also began looking at other elements of the text; I sketched out a full storyboard (see the bottom JPEG when you get there), and decided I needed to find ways to interpret the rest of the text (because why not?). Another strong image comes in part V of the poem, where the text parodies a twisted version of “Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush,” changing the text to “Here We Go Round the Prickly Pear,” which apparently alludes to some kind of primitive, ritualistic fertility/infertility dance, as well as the corruption that occurs throughout life. So I looked at cacti (Prickly Pears are cacti).
I also looked at images of people dancing around a mulberry bush, and others’ interpretations of the prickly pear, as well as some stylistic images I ran across that seemed to fit well.
Follow the visual process of sketches in the following 68-inch image mash up! It begins with a quick image of my annotations, followed by my initial sketches, my storyboard, ideas of scarecrows, a super creepy interpretation of hollowness (I had to push myself too far to be able to find the right creepy; this image was done alluding to the horrors the man had seen and done, and his inability to cope, making him feel dead inside; next I go back to my scarecrow head, pair it with my earlier scarecrow body, ink it up, draw another for another scene, and voila! This is how I achieved my visual style (along with some watercolours and acrylics I disposed of!). Keep an eye open for the mockup and such!