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Where We’re From

September 7, 2012


It’s been some time since I’ve finished a personal, self-directed illustration, but this month I was able to give some attention to one that’s been puttering about in my head for a little while now.

I think a lot about where people come from, where their parents come from, and their grandparents and on through the generations. Beneath the modern, Western clothes and lifestyles common to everyone I have lived and grown up around, there are ancient traditions and homelands inherited down the line. For most of us these lineages are mixed from various countries and cultures, and in a simplified way that’s what’s behind this piece.

The masks are referenced from a Chinese New Year dragon mask and a Northwest Coast native sun mask (specifically this gorgeous one by BIll Henderson. The idea here was that they should stand in for the old cultural backgrounds the two parents carry with them and can pass on to their child. They serve the symbolic purpose of standing out against the modern clothing and pointing to particular cultural roots, and in this way they only scratch the surface.


The drawing started with a very quick sketch and needed only a little bit of tweaking to get the body positions where I wanted them. Initially I hadn’t planned on there being a tree in the background, but in fleshing out the drawing it became clear that it would greatly improve the depth and atmosphere of the image, and I added it in Photoshop with the lasso tool. This is something I have previously only done for adding or adjusting small elements like water droplets or snow flakes, this was the first time using it for a complex object.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. September 7, 2012 6:09 pm

    I love this. But i’m also dying to see some of the sketches in between.

    • September 7, 2012 6:37 pm

      Thanks very much! In fact, the sketch posted was all there was. I went straight to the final page from there, which is unusual for me.

  2. Aaron V. permalink
    September 9, 2012 5:40 am

    Thats such an awesome thought thats behind this piece. Well done. There is such diversity. I often think what the first human couple would have been like if they were still alive that started this whole diversity

    • September 9, 2012 5:26 pm

      Thanks Aaron. It is indeed fascinating, and a bit mind-boggling, to think just how far back our lineage goes. Even more so to realise that despite how different we make sometimes look to one another, we’re all very much family.

  3. November 17, 2012 1:31 am

    I love love love this. The concept, the colors, the content, the execution, its all brilliant. Thank you for making beautiful art.


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