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World Building In Practice: Finding Inspiration in the Welsh Landscape

I took a trip to Ogwen in Snowdonia with the intention of spending some time in nature and capturing the bleak welsh landscape. This time of year is perfect for the type of climate I want my Graphic Novel world to inhabit.


The way the grey clouds dramatically roll in over the mountains is both intimidating and inspiring. The problem that I failed to consider when I set off on my adventure was that I am in Wales in October so of course it was freezing cold and pouring with rain, and while the idea being in a landscape reminiscent of Middle Earth or Skyrim is exhilarating, actually being there was not pleasant in the slightest. The rain was coming down diagonally and the wind was howling, none of which was conducive to producing any form of drawings or paintings.

The two sketches that I actually managed to do (from the comfort of my car with a flask of hot chocolate), don’t quite convey the drama and the cold wet misery of the landscape in the way


that I wanted them to do so. Perhaps it is because I used my brush pens (which come in bold, bright colours) to add the colour to the landscape. All in all they look a little flat and bland and too much like tourist postcards.


Further experimentation is needed, particularly with the colour, but also maybe with the media. Perhaps I should consider using mixed media in the development of my Graphic Novel to achieve the highest standard of image. or perhaps I am thinking too much about it and the drawings would look fine in my Graphic Novel with everything else going on in the story.



I did however take a few snaps on my camera phone, I am not a photographer by any means. All of the photographic images I take tend to be used merely as a reference for my drawings. I am not very good at framing the subject or capturing what I see in the best way. I prefer to take my images home and spend a while pouring through them, deciding how they might influence the backgrounds in my Graphic Novel, without being directly used. I think this is largely because I have more control of the layout and subject matter when I draw it myself. I can choose what I want to put in the finished piece and what I want to leave out, without spending hours editing photographs to remove an unwelcome telegraph poles. Perhaps at some point however, I will find a way to incorporate actual photographs into my artwork.

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©2020 by Emma Ford Illustrator and Concept Artist.