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An Earthbound Renaissance - by aurtist

An Earthbound Renaissance

Starmen.net hosts a gallery full of impressive artwork that I am in no way bashing, especially because I’m new to the forum and haven’t submitted any work. But when asked how to make the site even better, I looked through hundreds of drawings and found a general problem in the way we translate Earthbound into paintings/drawings/computer generated work/etc. A large part of creating art is not only making lines and forms, but training the eye to see better. This is where we have to take a step back and take a look at how we visualize the game.

Being on the SNES, Earthbound is automatically subject to being scaled down in terms of how detailed objects/scenery/people are. With that in mind, we realize that a tree in Earthbound isn’t necessarily a tree but a symbol of a tree. It’s a figurative representation that we translate into “tree” and leave it at that. All of these symbols come together to form a very believable world, and we believe it because it’s so similar to the world around us. When making art, a lot of the time we translate the flat, two dimensional objects of Earthbound into artwork that looks very much like the game. There is nothing wrong with this kind of art, but for the most part we ignore the step of taking the symbols of the game and defining them before putting them on the page. The world of Earthbound is very believable, so why can’t we make work that creates a space that’s more believable? Instead of drawing a tree exactly as it appears in the game, with a bubbly looking top and two lines for a trunk, why not go outside and look at a tree to draw from? Once we know that there is a tree in one particular place, we don’t need to look very much at the game, but more at the world around us. Under “Miscellaneous” in the Earthbound Images section there are several drawings, presumably by game designers, that are very good at showing what I’m talking about. One drawing shows Ness and King as they look from a hill to their house. The perspective they created couldn’t have been made into the video game, but it was part of the process of visualizing what Earthbound should look like. By clinging to the images of the game too tightly, we limit what we can create. Making art that is based on situations rather than certain objects can have a lot more potential.

For the Lord of the Rings series, Peter Jackson hired artists to make drawings based on the books so that he could visualize it for the screen. We could do the same thing if we focused more on the story of Earthbound rather than the images that symbolize objects of the game. For example, the buildings of Fourside have no meaning other than creating an interesting space and to convince the viewer that they are in a city. When there is more focus on one object or a few objects, we leave out the potential to create a believable space. I titled this essay “Earthbound Renaissance” because I believe it’s a very powerful thing to make that translation of two dimensional symbols to the artist’s personal world, their own Earthbound. Just like Renaissance artists used the Bible and biblical stories to make drawings that created the illusion of space, I think we can do the same with Earthbound.


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aurtist An Earthbound Renaissance
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7/31/06 0.00

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