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Thursday, 17 December 2015 09:44

Altai

These are some full page illustrations -drawings made for the book Altai, written by the collective authors under the name Wu Ming.

A short desciption of the book:

When Q was first published in Italy in 1999, it was an instant sensation. Here the protagonist, the mysterious Anabaptist known as El Alamein, returns. With an epic, panoramic sweep that reaches across a Europe scarred by war, Altai went straight into the bestsellers list when first published in Italy. When a fire breaks out in the Arsenal of Venice in 1569, everyone suspects Joseph Nasi, number-one enemy of the republic. But it is Emmanuele De Zante, spy catcher and agent, who finds himself in jail accused of treason, having been betrayed by his lover. But who is De Zante? When Nasi offers De Zante the chance to escape, he is launched on an odyssey that takes him to Thessalonika, the Jerusalem of the Balkans, all the way to the Sultan's palace in Constantinople. Thrown into a maelstrom of political games with deadly consequences, De Zante finds betrayal and danger around every corner as the narrative races toward its devastating denouement.

The drawings are quite realistic in style (even though I suspect that some errors on perspective are more than visible). I am not so sure about historical accuracy though -i tried to avoid big mistakes with extented search on the internet but i don't know if i succeeded. There have been many sources of influence. The biggest one is the game Assassin's Creed  Revelations: its story take place on Constantinople and at a similar time period -so it was a very good source of inspiration about clothes and buildings. In fact in two drawings (the fourth and sixth) the background is based on some screenshots of the game. The final drawing of the book is based on a painting by Canaletto (Piazza San Marco with the Basilica, by Canaletto, 1730) and as for the hero's mother on a painting from Murillo (The Assumption of the Virgin, 1670). The image with the altai hawks is based on a actual photo i found on the internet.

After completing the series of the drawings i found i wanted something more from some of them so i digitally added some shadows (or a blur effect on the last one). The results are at the end of the gallery.

UPDATE (2016): I have completed a colored version of these illustrations. You can see this work here.

Additional Info

  • Medium: sketch, digital color
  • Date: 2013

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