Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Hyrule (Breath of the Wild)

In early April of 2017, I received the initial email from Gallery 1988, accepting my submission, and inviting me to participate in two of their shows that year.  The first was the 'King' show (dedicated to the works of 'Stephen King'), and the second was their annual 'Postcard Correspondence 2017' show in December.  The show's precedence was for each artist to create a postcard (functional or not), for a place/location (real or imagined), based on a television show or movie.  I apparently did not read (nor follow), the directions very well, as I decided to base my image on a video game I was currently obsessed with.  Earlier that year Nintendo had released a new console (the 'Switch'), and the next installment in the 'Legend of Zelda' series, entitled 'Breath of the Wild'. 

The game itself is a breathtaking work of art, and I could in no way do it justice by trying to explain it here.  As with most of the games in the franchise, there's the protagonist 'Link', the princess 'Zelda', and some kind of incarnation of 'Ganon'.  Needless to say there's lots of exploring to be done in the open world of 'Hyrule', and each environment is more stunning and immersive than the last.  It was this particular element of the game I was most interested in capturing.  My original intention was to create a postcard for each one of the provinces that appear in the game, but that proved to be an arduous undertaking as there were at least nine different regions to be represented.  Instead, I opted to create a postcard for all the lands under the moniker of 'Hyrule' itself, since the term is often used to describe the entire world that the game takes place in. 

I first began the project with an entirely different approach than what you see here, as I began to painstakingly illustrate only the main parts of 'Hyrule' (like the castle), and then include some smaller elements (such as the 'Shrines', and 'Towers'), that have larger roles to play.  The further I got into the project, the less I felt it really did the game any justice.  The visual direction was also just not 'working' for me.  In the end, I scrapped the project, but kept some of the design work I did in Illustrator to use in the new version I was designing. 

I begrudgingly began the project anew, and took it in a familiar, yet different direction by creating 'layers' of the landscapes in the game.  I wanted to stay away from this particular silhouette approach, as I had used it numerous times in past works, and it was beginning to feel 'stale' or 'gimmicky' to me.  I'm not a big fan of using one tool or style to execute my work in, as I feel, as an artist, it's important to diversify and challenge myself.  Pardon my rant, as I was saying...I managed to locate an image online of the world map (as the game itself was still relatively new), and began outlining which 'lands' would appear in the layer order.  I already knew I wanted the color scheme to be monochromatic, and the only variations to be shades or tints of the original selection.  Luckily I had already designed some of the elements such as the 'Shrines', 'Tower', and 'Hyrule Castle', in Illustrator, so now I simply needed to do the lands, and then include whatever other details I saw fit.  It was still a massive undertaking, but I had a better plan, and approached it more vigorously than the previous incarnation.  The layers depict all of the major territories including:  'Akkala', 'Central Hyrule', 'Eldin', 'Faron', 'Gerudo', 'Great Plateau', 'Hebra', 'Lanayru', and 'Necluda'.  I attempted to illustrate whatever iconic landscape each area had, in addition to, any other unique features or 'encounters', that may take place there.  After completing the image,  I need to create a header, so I found a satisfactory font for the title, and using logo from the game as a reference point, I adjusted it, by adding the recognizable 'Master Sword', 'Silent Princess' , and fairy orb, to it. With that, the front of the card was finished, so I only needed to complete the back side, if I wanted to create a functional postcard (which was the goal).  For the backside, I reused the logo I designed for the front, a 'Rupee' graphic for the postmark, a 'Eye Symbol' similar to the one that appears in the game, and on 'Link's' 'Sheikah Slate'.  I then created some lines for addressing the card, and a divider below the 'Eye Symbol', to segregate the address and correspondence space.  I was quickly running out of time, so the image below contains my embedded information for social media (Instagram, email, and Etsy store), however I forgot to include this before sending it off to print.  It was too late to cancel the order, and I needed the postcards yesterday, so I had to design the information to fit on clear labeling stickers.  When my order arrived I had to hand number them, and then place a sticker with the missing information on each one.  It's a lesson I wont soon forget.  The final product was, however amazing.  I had them printed through Moo, who also do my business cards, and they were excellent quality.

As indicated above, the piece is entirely digital, done mostly in Illustrator (those clean lines tho'), with some adjustments done in Photoshop, and all the detail work done in Painter.
The piece was originally on display in the gallery during the run of the show from December 15th-31st 2017, with a limited run of 50 copies made available.  The piece was also featured on Gallery 1988's Instagram page, and their website.
Each card is functional as a postcard (if you decide to use it), and is formatted 4" x 6".  If you would like to purchase one of the originals, you can do so on the gallery's website here.  I do have a limited number of them also available on my Etsy store as well here.


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