Illustrating “Beyond Babel”

Illustrating Beyond Babel

Here is my illustration full size.  FULL SIZE! Not Life Size, of course, that'd just be silly. CC-A-NC-SA by D. Paul Angel
Here is my illustration full size. FULL SIZE! Not Life Size, of course, that’d just be silly.
CC-A-NC-SA by D. Paul Angel

Beyond Babel was my #FridayFlash piece from a couple Friday’s past. I view the #FridayFlash pieces as an amazing way to explore and try new means of storytelling. I really liked the idea of Beyond Babel, but I can’t say as that I was overly thrilled with my execution of it. (Either meaning.) It should have been told either as an Epic Poem with a consistent meter, or more biblical in much shorter, simpler verses. In the end I didn’t accomplish either, so I think it is one of those stories that I may retell in a different format. I would also invite you to go ahead and try it yourself if the fancy takes you. I know most of my audience is composed of writers, artists, and the shining lights of the Literari, so it may well be up your alley if you are bored or looking for inspiration. The difficulty, of course, will be slogging through the original first.  (But hey, its illustrated now!)

Now that that is out of the way though, I can share my excitement with you! I illustrated my own story! When I was in school (far too many) years ago and computer graphics were still more promise than delivery, I thought it would be cool to illustrate my novels. Not necessarily a graphic novel, per se, but the old school kind of illustrated texts in which each chapter opens with a drawing inspired by it. I think it was more common in the 19th century, but I really enjoyed reading books that had them.

Years went on though, and this particular dream slowly faded with so many others. (There are, after all, very few best selling authors playing professional football on their off days from being a fighter pilot.) In the recent few months though, I’ve been thinking of illustrating my works again. While I regularly read the funny pages growing up, I hardly touched comic books. So the advent of graphic novels has been slowly re-introducing me to the world of graphic story telling. Throw in the plethora of fantastic webcomics now available, and I started thinking of combining my own writing with my own illustrations.

This was actually the genesis of the drawing class I took. So it was exciting for me to actually create a piece for my story. As it happens, Beyond Babel was written the day before my class, so the idea was incredibly fresh. It was also fun explaining to my classmates just what in the hell I was drawing! See, I wrote this story about building a second Tower of Babel… Luckily my class is both awesome and supportive.

The critique though, is that even though I am happy with it in many ways, I am still not capable of capturing what’s actually in my mind. I know that will come in time though, I just have to keep working at it. There are still some things I need to do to this for it to be truly finished, but I am proud enough of it as is to share. I need to add a shadow for the tower, and some more details in the foreground to better convey a sense not just of size but of immensity. But not much else, which is also very cool.

When I get it not just finished, but finished finished, I’ll update the image on the story itself and give you a side-by-side comparison. Until then, its all about the practice!

2 thoughts on “Illustrating “Beyond Babel”

  1. What an interesting picture! I really like the shape and colors. Now I have to go find the #FridayFlash and make sure I read it. 🙂

    1. Thank you! I have a long way to go drawing wise, so it’s always nice when things look like they ought 🙂
      And I wish you the best with the story itself. I think it could use some significant editing (and by “editing” I mean “re-write!).

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