With last week's trip to Seattle plus a pile of illustration work waiting for me when I got back, I haven't been in the studio for 12 days. Feels like a long time. Today I eased back in to the work on the Great Wall of China print by firming up my sketch for the bottom section. Here's some of the pencil work:
The sketch is based on examples I found of a specialized Chinese brush-painting motif depicting birds, flowers and insects. This popular motif seems to have started around the year 900. The various types of insects and flowers carry rich symbolism drawn from Buddhism and Confucianism, or sometimes from plays on words. I haven't researched the specific symbols, though. Rather, I've copied the tradition but made it a little darker, making what looks at first like a beautiful nature scene into a dangerous world where survival is at risk and decay is evident -- a "survival of the fittest" sort of place.
Now to work on the color separations. Here are some examples of the painting tradition that I'll use to guide me in the color selection: