Low Tide: Parts Make Parts

Oct 21st, 2007 by akilologos


Ma Pek, was my first attempt at melding artistic image rendering and prose into a single displayable entity. This post is provided as a discussion of the process behind Ma Pek.

Ma Pek was produced in the reverse order of how I currently construct the Akilologos art. Personally, I prefer my current process, where I create the image, then write the story. The result for both pieces of art just seems -feels- more genuine and real. Yet, I still enjoy Ma Pek. I may revisit it one day with another image and story – or perhaps a replacement image; there are so many in the story.

But the ultimate test of merit still resides with you; the reader.


The Image

“Low Tide” originally came from several different images; photographs, brochures … even a calendar. The concept for the image took place while writing the short story, “Ma Pek”. In the story an old fisherman, named Philippe.Philippe’s character is mirrored by his lifelong fishing partner, a red boat named, Ma Pek. I could see the image of the boat and its resting partners on the shoreline, fading in the paint bleaching sun, while being the gallery for the moored boats of the “fleet” of today. Though I am an illustrator, by the time I get started I’ve lost interest and the mental image begins to fade faster than the paint on those boats in the tropical sun.

So, a quandary. What to do?


The Answer

The answer is simple, Find images that match what I “see” and use them to build the image. But, how do I do this and what do I do with them? Digitized images. Either digital photographs or scanned images. Once digitized I can redraw, reform, recolor, enhance color, add-to or take-from the forms to create the image I envisioned.

For some crazy reason I am not distracted nor do I lose the vision though this process. In fact the image takes on a life of its own … sort of like the pictures of Marty’s family in the movie, Back To The Future. Bit instead of fading, my visionary images become crystal clear with each stroke, effect or abstraction added.

The Result

As the image grows, it takes on its own character. That character feeds the rest of the image and the creation process itself. The reward is the final image fulfills the concept and the initial vision. It also allows the reader an ability to view, with me, what I was – in a sense – privately seeing in my own mind’s eye.

The Example

In this example the various areas of the image are labeled to show their separate sources and how they all fit together to build the final visualized image.

Low Tide Image Lesson

Some Pointers

There are a couple of areas I would like to expand on a bit so the reader does not get the wrong impression of either the method or the difficulty in producing an image of this type.

#1 The origin

Each of the “parts” … all items used in making this image have been sufficiently restructured so that the only resemblance to the ‘original source’ image is, what they are: ie, boat, sky, beach, cloud, etc. The original merely formed the basis from which I built the image and/or canvas. For the most part, my images are constructed from my own original photographs or sketches. However, due to the fact that I do not have the luxury (yet !! ) of expansive travel, I cannot get to all the places I bring to life in the images or stories. Therefore, for those items I rely on ‘other images’ as a ‘temporary bridge’ to get to my visualized image. My work is no more a “copy”than the images made by all the “famous” artists who view life and convert it to canvas, paper or clay; whether in photographs or visual. The result is quite original .. even if the elements were constructed from recycled thoughts and concepts — my visual is still my own.

#2 The building

When constructing shadows, they should not be, as I state on the example, a matter of just ‘dumping’ so much black coloring into a spot. To truly create a believable shadow, you must build it up — shade upon shade — as you would normally do in any traditionally produced work of art, by whatever medium: pencil, charcoal, pastel, watercolor or oil work.

It’s truly a laborious process and very prone either mistake or loss of interest, for those like me who are prone to bouts of impatience. So, when attempting this type of art, be very judicious in your patience … keep with the ‘slowly-as-it-goes’ routine and you will be very pleased with the outcome. It gets easier and faster the more you do.

#3 The use

Maximizing the use of textures in certain elements of an image really sets the image – or that element – apart. Experiment and don’t be afraid. This is digital – redo is as easy as blinking your eyes!

In Low Tide you will notice a distinct grainy texture in the sky and water portion that is not seen in the beach section. That’s because there is grain in the sky and water .. but NOT on the beach. Now .. hold on you say … “The beach has sand on it — therefore grainy — NOT the sky!”

So what gives? Well, just that — you noticed, didn’t you! That’s the whole point.

Subliminal evocation.

While you were looking at the sky/water interface, and trying to figure out what was ‘wrong’, your mind was looking at the entire image and drinking in the image’s message. Once you figured it out, you didn’t really care because now you saw more that interested you than the manufactured ‘dilemma’ .. Hmmm, pretty sneaky, eh?? Art is as much psychology as it is creativity.


Now that you know more on how I did this image go out and build your own vision. Find the ‘parts’, take the time and follow your path to make your mental vision a reality.

Happy creating!

Check back every couple of weeks as I’ll have a new image with tips and commentary.