I recently found a drawing that I had started a while ago, when I was doing almost everything with my Rapidograph pen. For some reason I never finished it, but when I found it I realized that I liked it, and it needed to be finished. The original concept was about kids in our modern world, and how from an early age they are sucked into our digital matrix and, in some cases, never experience any relationship with the natural world.
I remember as a kid, spending hours outside, playing in the dirt, exploring little nooks of my mom's garden, catching bugs and inventing little worlds. Sure, we had the original Nintendo, and the Atari before that, but it never totally overtook our lives (barring one 8 hour binge I specifically remember trying to beat the original Mario Bros), and I always had more fun out in the woods or our backyard.
Today, some kids are raised by their video games, and have no need to develop an imagination because they have their fantasy worlds mainlined to them on their game consoles. They never leave the five foot radius around the TV.
"In the past year, I’ve paid rent in five places in four states, climbed in another 10 states, deep-water-soloed in Mallorca, established new routes in Namibia, and belayed my first 5.15, in Spain. I travel so much my friends ask me where I’m going next instead of saying hello."
So writes Majka Burhardt, in an article for Climbing that I was asked to illustrate. One of the main points of the article was the author's aspiration to be 'green', at odds with the huge carbon footprint she was creating by constant travel around the world. The piece ended up being very conceptual, in my attempt to show the different players in the author's inner battle between environmental responsibility and her pursuit of adventure. It's not immediately obvious, but the background tones were created by layering a scan of the backside of an old Romanian map behind the inked art. I thought the fold lines were a cool detail.
The illustration will appear in the 'Whipped' section of the February issue of Climbing.
Below is the original concept sketch that led to the final art.