Okay, still haven’t got the stills from the Bulwell project (I need to apprehend Ed’s hard drive at some point), but I have the design ideas for the section project – and, I’ll be honest, I may be stretching the definition of “description from a novel” just a little. But, if anything, I’ve got myself a mammoth undertaking.
I’m a sucker for old ruins and ancient architecture, and during one of my many zone-out moments I thought it would be awesome to recreate the ruined city of Xerxes that first appears in chapter 4o of the Full Metal Alchemist manga. So I grabbed a load of pages with the ruins from OneManga.com with the hopes of at least piecing them together enough to recreate as it was.
Then after looking it on Wikipedia (because I’m woefully behind on the manga and also nonplussed about spoilers for it), I found there’d been a flashback to it before it became a ruin. “Great,” I thought. “Makes my job easier.” Well… it didn’t really, it just let me discover that not only did the author seem to forget to match the ruins up with the complete building, but she seems to have borrowed from at least 4 different styles of ancient architecture. Just as well I’m a huge geek for that time period.
The main problem, I found, was the fact that sequential panels are more confusing to piece a place together with that descriptive prose. At least with the written word it gives you general directions that the character is walking in to get from A to B, but with the manga I’m still trying to work out which direction the first image in this post is facing in relation to the exterior.
We get indicators of these:
But despite these visual references it’s still a nightmare figuring where these features are placed. The interior’s even worse, as we’re given no real hint of a floor plan and I’m having to go off what I know about Greek Temples and the Palace of Knossos on Crete.
Anyway, I started tackling it in my sketchbook. Couple of mind maps:
Elevations and floor plans, complete with what is essentially me talking to myself (most of my notebooks end up like this):
That first one has a brilliant example of how crap my sense of perspective is when I’m working from memory. I’ve got a book on perspective, but I think Hayley borrowed it and now it’s AWOL (probably buried in her room somewhere).
And finally, I broke out Wings 3D again for some test models:
The first one was before I found the flashback, and was what I originally assumed the hall to look like. The second one is much closer to the exterior shown in that chapter.
Now I need to ask my brother what books he has on Ancient Rome, Greece, Byzantium, Egypt and Minoan. Good thing he’s a history fanatic.