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Helen Capewell
OCA Learning Log
Student Number: 522802
Degree: Illustration
Current Level: 2

Future Worlds

Exercise Four

This exercise excited me. I loved the idea of trying to create my own "dystopian" view of a futuristic world. It's bizarre, but I don't think we're far away to some weird future world which is not the glamorous hover board future we'd love, but it will integrate into our current lives so perfectly we will barely notice it. I then see it as a downhill slide from there on! Fingers crossed it isn't, and fully functioning hover boards will be available on Amazon soon.

Of course there is huge influence on the world surrounding technology (and biology), and any sci-fi will tell you that the future is over polluted and high in tech. Maybe the sci-fi taught us about the polluted future worlds, and the obsession with going green will make us avoid that part, who knows. Don't worry, Nuclear will continue to be tested throughout the world, spreading toxics in the atmosphere and more, but let's remember to recycle and cut out driving! I can't help but tap into this for this exercise, and perhaps explore a dark view of the world.

I have chosen to base this on the key phrase : Lost Civilisation

Aren't we already a lost civilisation?

With AI literally becoming more and more advance by the minute, it's quite clear we are approaching a rather major breakthrough in advanced technology, where a part of civilisation as we know it will become worthless with the steady replacements of Artificial Intelligence.

A few years back I had created a somewhat accidental illustration that was set to be on a skateboard. It was barely a future world, but it was a destination I landed on which I feel spoke about the near future as opposed to the super futuristic worlds. It makes me think that perhaps I have a small, tiny interest in thinking of tech-ridden concepts. Which is why I wanted to challenge myself in create a more detailed illustration based on Lost Civilisation to a tech-absorbed powerhouse, or several powerhouses that dominate, and in someway wiped out what we know of today. This was a very basic view in the illustration I had created, with the key phrase, or prompt, being "Poisoned Computer". It was highlighting the start of a big change, how Windows dominated, grew and finally became poison to mankind. Used to brainwash, control and just sell sell sell... Sounds familiar, doesn't it? This is the old illustration:

Of course this isn't what I will create, but the idea in this is something I do still feel I could explore further and would find relation for this exercise. I will take it in a very different direction, and hopefully find a balance within the realm of lost civilisation and perhaps a rouge rebellion much like Star Wars. As this is a complete free for all on style, size, detail, and in fact encourages more detail, there are no limits which excites me.

Instinctively I thought about the kind of examples you would find in film and TV. Firstly, I had Wall•e in mind, which happens to be the exact future I see happening for us. another example that came to mind was Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts that was on Netflix, where the human population (or at least a group that remains) goes into hiding in the underworld, leaving a derelict planet crumbling above that becomes the habitat for biology that went wrong, which was of course because of power hungry people that didn't know when to stop.

Not only was film and Tv a source of inspiration, this felt like the perfect playground for video games (are they even called video games still?). Which again brought me back to the latest creation, Arcane. there is something about the idea that the population, what we see as being at one, become divided to the extreme of being forced to an underworld or becoming the abandoned city. It's evident in Arcane, most notoriously in Batman with Gotham City and even in Kipo as mentioned before. These divisions that are based on poverty, crime and survival. It's a common theme in many broken worlds that are represented (probably because they are extremes of what already exists and so believable to be true), and perhaps is a version of what could be considered a lost civilisation. Lost doesn't mean dead, so it might just be the stage that shows huge division in class, where lost can also mean left behind, or pushed to the point that they become the helpless. As a result become separated

I feel like I am rambling quite a bit but not really bringing anything, or maybe even mixing ideas and sources of inspiration. So to ground myself, I started where any project starts, with a mood board. I'm quite inspired based on thought alone and the ramble of existing concepts that had come to mind, so in a way I kind of had an idea of what I wanted to do. I just had no idea how or what exactly that was. I browsed key words like dystopian world, underworld, sci fi world and so on and let the rabbit hole take me away from those. I pulled images I thought were interesting and provoked a feeling that maybe I wanted to achieve in my own piece.

Scribbling on a piece of A3 paper, i jotted down a few notes that continued from the initial thoughts in this blog. I was thinking to focus on an abandoned city to begin. Using high rise buildings mixed with nature that had already made huge waves over the derelict buildings. This idea felt a bit; safe. It was nothing new, so I tried to think of nature in other ways, and how there might be inspiration in other forms that could change the course of this concept.

I somehow got an idea in mind which would involve an eye of a reptile, more specifically, a lizard. I thought it would be fun to play on one of the worlds biggest conspiracy theories, that lizard people live amongst us, and in this concept would soon rule over! I ended up pulling macro images of the most beautiful and scary eyes of reptiles.

The incredible lines that weaved around the eye made me think of networks, or some kind of energy. It then led to the idea that perhaps the sun would be covered, and a new source needed to replace it, but one that was more powerful and could easily be controlled. The eye of the reptile felt like the perfect design for a central source of energy. Perhaps nuclear was going to be the new sun.

I was unhappy with how I was developing ideas on the paper. Using a pencil didn't feel like the best tool to build a world. I felt I needed to work in blocks of colour, just to play with the shape and see what would develop in this format. I was feeling slightly overwhelmed with the rabbit hole of endless inspiration, and ditching the pencil would help calm down and just draw. So I turned to the computer and opened Photoshop. It is my safe space, but I am confident with developing ideas here.

I used the most basic hard edged brush, brought down the opacity and simply layered on colour. With this idea of a central ball of energy that would power over the city, I felt I had a good place to start.

Firstly I stuck to the idea of an abandoned city. Above is a close up of a bridge, possible train track, with cables draping all around. You can see a few high rise buildings in the background, one being smashed with nature over taking (on the right) and one beside this with a glass elevator riding up the side. There are a few other cross ways in the background, as like most future cities I had imagined the world got higher and higher with the buildings, losing the typical roads we know of now.

The below image is a second draft of a simple barren land. Initially I had just large cracks in the surface where this shadowed character stood out of sight from the giant eye ball of energy. After more colour blocking, and random lines being added, I had the idea that the lost civilisation might just be below the surface that you see. The city was simply covered so that earth could start again. But of course, power went too far with replacing the sun with an insane amount of energy it had wiped out a large percent of the population, those buried in the city had survived and had found their way to the surface.

With only a sneaky view of the possible city below, I thought I would extend the picture by turning it portrait. I wanted more to be seen!

I wanted there to be a lot "marketing" left behind in the city, to show how it had grown and developed out of control. The idea being that the city had already advanced in leaps and bounds before the major breakthrough of the eye ball of energy to replace the sun. So taking the first city sketch with the high rise buildings and numerous bridges that would connect the buildings I extended the underworld.

I really liked where this was going, however, another idea had started to cook and so I wanted to put the brakes on for this. Taking a completely different view on the future city, I started to think of domes that would house a lost civilisation. I started to think more totalitarian, with the eye of course being like a big brother as well as the key to unlimited energy. I imagined the domes would be like a honeycomb glass pattern, all of which would be under another huge dome that would act like the sky and keep everything contained.

This was the sketch that spiralled out of control, in a good way! I remembered Wreck It Ralph 2 and the world they had designed based on the internet. Physically seeing the connection lines like a commercial for mobiles or the internet and how communication is sent around the world became an inspiration. I also loved the idea that the only "life" beyond the honeycomb domes would be drones, as they would zip around surveilling the perimeters, sending out government announcements or delivering parcels purchased from the online central database.

I'm not sure if this connected with the phrase "lost civilisation" however in my defence, I can't imagine that a civilisation in this state would thrive! So I continued, and it was fun.

Here is the piece in a more finished state. I'm really pleased with the final drawing, and having taken on the more whackier concept through to the end. Once I had completed this, I had the urge to create a second view. What if combining the ideas I had with the desert like barren land abandoned outside the dome. In the finished piece, I hinted some sand dust colour through the window, it's very subtle, but I already imagined that it was dry and dead outside. Adding the extra panel was just a way to bring awareness to the scale and devastation left behind. It was also an opportunity to bring narrative into the idea by including a rogue character.

What if life did exist outside the dome!


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