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Art Concept Bible - "Melody of the Sun"
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Art Concept Bible - "Melody of the Sun"

Carlos Zapata Rubio
by birdsoftomorrow on 23 May 2022 for Rookie Awards 2022

Concept Art Bible for an original story titled "Melody of the Sun." About a young girl who escapes her abusive household after her father dies, and, with her father's guitar, decides to pursue the dream her own dad couldn't achieve: become a musician. Bible includes character, creature, prop, and environment designs.

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Title for 'Melody of the Sun's Art Bible.

Short summary of story. Inspired by real-life musicians' stories such as Sia, Halsey, & Nico from Velvet Underground, and my personal stories. About a young girl who tries to become a musician while on the road, with no home, no parents, and nowhere to go.

Shadows. Silhouettes. The best way to recognize your characters. Earliest stage of character design. Possible male and female lead. Male: wolf, dog, dragon. Female: Dragon, sea serpent, wyvern. 

Second stage of lead development: three designs and four poses for each. Main idea was to have a young female character as lead. The first one looked too hard-edged, and older. Possibility of lead's future,  but not in the story's present. Third creature felt a bit too shy and slithery. Not the one I was looking for. 

The middle character was the better example of a young lead. Pose 2 and 4 were the best, showing her naivety, youthful nature and happy-go-lucky mannerisms.

Process of character design: the lines were retouched, signature wink was marked further, rough look on clothes added. Next steps add texture, color, surrounded in darkness but for a few lights. Singing at a dark bar. Palette added. This shows the rough life she's been having since leaving home (worn-out clothes, dirty all over, old shoes, scratched guitar, torn jeans, etc.) while still indicating the young, hopeful charisma she tries to carry throughout her journey, sometimes succeeding, sometimes not. 

This character was, personally, tough but the most rewarding on the entire bible design. At the end, this I believe to be my strongest piece in my short experience in concept art.

Creature sketches: Early stage. Since a microscopic creature was needed, I explored different types of bacteria, viruses, and germs under a microscope. Wanted, just like microbes, something agile for a creature. An entity that could move quickly, maybe even turn into shapes. Tough to make them real or lively, so the first design was the better choice for me. Looks human-like and athletic. More exploration for expression and appeal.

Unlike most entries on any concept art site, dealing with fantasy or sci-fi, this story is a lot more down to Earth, a bit more grounded. This is a simple story about a girl facing the odds of life in the early 90s to pursue a career in music on the road. So a creature was tough to apply. My idea was to make a PBS-like cartoon character who could not only indicate a creature exploring the human body in a realistic application on my story, but also to indicate the only cartoons Jenny could watch while younger was public television. No money for cable or CN. 

These are the first part of the design process.

Microbes always travel in the dark, inside the body, where they are tough to see or notice. So how could I show something like that as a creature? The idea cam to me inspired by luminescent fish in the bottom of the ocean. Some body passageways can be dark, like the background here, while the main character can shine in the dark, working with bioluminescence. At the same time, it would make kids watching the show identify her better, and her slender figure makes her more agile, while being able to express emotions through her movements. Example can be seen here, as she (Phoebe) tries to wrangle and drag the bacteria pet she found, and the pet refusing to move. 

Palette and poses included. She may not have a face, but she has eyes, body, and pantomimes and a voice to educate children as to how the body works, and go through all the body systems each episode.

First sketches for the old guitar jenny's father left behind for her after he passed. This shows that, in a sense, her father still is with her, no matter where she goes. Old, acoustic, and worn out, perhaps out of tune a bit, she fixes it all the time, and plays it either to practice before a performance, vocalizing her notes, or just to relax and feel a connection to her dad. The same guitar he tries to pursue a music career with, and played with her while alive, is the same one she chooses to take to complete the journey that, to her, her father is also a part of.

Both colored and monochrome.  Strings were the toughest things to do, as well as proportions. 

Final touches and redesigns on the final guitar, including textures on diverse kinds of extreme weather. Including color palette. Guitar is a normal acoustic instrument, normal warm colors, symbolizing the warmth she always feels in her heart when she either plays the guitar or hugs it while remembering her father. Slightly damaged and scratched from years of use.

The strings and handle were the toughest things to get right. The metal knobs were also challenging, but the texture and color were easier in here than in the creature or character. 

Early drafts for possible environments Jenny travels through. From tops of buildings to abandoned alleys, streets, & broken homes. Although the first image has the stronger sketches, the one that stood to me the most was the fence on the second image. Made it feel abandoned and somewhat claustrophobic while serving as a different perspective. 

Process of final design for environment. An abandoned street in the state of California, one of the states Jenny ends up going to while living in the streets. Feels empty, alone, wasted, dead, and creepy at night. Accompanied with texture examples and other sketches, indicating possibilities of similar places.

Environment design was the toughest aspect, and I must admit the weakest aspect in my Art Bible. Unfortunately, all the examples have at least one environment to complete it, but this is not my strength, nor my interest. Environments don't speak to me as much as props or characters. If I didn't have to do one, I probably wouldn't have. But I had to try. 

This is the back cover for my art bible. It was a challenging thing to do, and even if drawing is not my biggest strength, I believe the way I implemented storytelling, albeit short, in my concepts, is my greatest strength. 

Storytelling is the most important thing to me. Without stories, there are no videogames, there are no films, there are no shows, and there is no literature or art without them. That is where my focus is. I do believe without a good story, your work cannot be as memorable as it could be. Being a critic and literary analyst for years as a hobby, while being into filmmaking and art analysis, got me into criticizing stories and knowing what makes them good and/or where they fail. I may not be the best artist in any platform, but I am confident enough in my storytelling strengths to show my work. 

Thank you for reviewing this piece. Any comments or critiques will be much appreciated. 


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