Friday, July 31, 2009

More detail about the Fourth Question

As this is my favorite book project so far I am going to take the opportunity to show more about what made the storytelling part of the project so much fun. I used a visual device of inserting a circle within each spread to explain the action ahead or tell more of the story than what was on each page. Did I mention that this is a wordless book? It is meant to be used in a series as classroom aids in various language programs. Here is the circle where I describe a

conversation between the young man and
his poor aged mother as she urges him
to seek help by asking a question of
the wisest man in the kingdom.

In this circle,the young man is sitting on a rock beside a huge river that he cannot cross.
I put a tortoise next to him, it is symbol in Chinese art of wisdom and divining the future.
I enjoyed adding details to the art that were a result of my research into Chinese art history and the symbolic meanings of animals in art.
Here is a spread showing the palace of the wisest man in the kingdom, this is where the young man must gain entry to ask his questions. I used my own photos from my trip to China for this. I had seen the Forbidden City in Beijing and it is full of marble lions and dragons. Also there is the famous Nine Dragon Wall made of glazed ceramic tile where I got my idea for the bright blue and gold dragon that is a main character in this story.
The wisest man in the kingdom is styled after a painting of a Chinese Emperor. I forget now which dynasty, but this emperor looked so genial and wise in his real portrait.

As we end the story the young man has to travel all the way back the way he came, disappointed that he could not get the answer to his own question, but helping all the others that he promised, the dragon, the man with nine cats, and the woman with a beautiful but handicapped daughter. The dragon gives him a magic healing pearl, the man with cats gives him gold, and the beautiful daughter regains her voice and marries him. Here I tell the part about when the beautiful girl sees the young man and they fall in love. Notice the rabbits in the corner, they symbolize happy marriage and, of course fertility.
And now the last page, a spread with all the elements of a happy ending. The aged mother is enjoying prosperity with her grandchildren, the young man has a beautiful wife, they live in the same little house but it is fixed up nicely, and all is well, even the family pig has babies.