Field 1. Part 3: Application and reflection.

After artistic enlightenment through technical exploration, I found a little footing and some direction in what I wanted to do.

Within the theme of power and technology, I wanted to portray a future world in which the human race resides underwater.

Much of this idea is inspired by my love of the ocean, films by Jacques Cousteau and my interest in underwater exploration.

The poster art for Le Monde sans Soleil, ( the world without sun) by Jacques Cousteau. This film was made to document Jacques' investigation into whether mankind could live and work underwater. 6 Oceanauts  lived in an underwater station, Conshelf 2, for 30 days at a depth of 10 meters in the Red Sea. A number of experiments were performed in this station to determine the practicality of working on the ocean floor.
The poster art for Le Monde sans Soleil, ( the world without sun) by Jacques Cousteau. This film was made to document Jacques’ investigation into whether mankind could live and work underwater. 6 Oceanauts lived in an underwater station, Conshelf 2, for 30 days at a depth of 10 meters in the Red Sea. A number of experiments were performed in this station to determine the practicality of working on the ocean floor.

To further my research into the subject, various books were used as both visual and informative references.

An illustration of two diver's by Paul Wright. Paul illustrated the Eyewitness book of Jules Verne's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. The illustrations in this book helped me to better grasp the world of underwater exploration in a fantasy setting.
An illustration of two diver’s by Paul Wright. Paul illustrated the Eyewitness book of Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. The illustrations in this book helped me to better grasp the world of underwater exploration in a fantasy setting.
A field guide to the Seashores of Eastern Africa by Matt Richmond. This very well illustrated guide to the marine life of eastern Africa proved to be very useful when it came to identifying what I wanted to draw.
A field guide to the Seashores of Eastern Africa by Matt Richmond. This very well illustrated guide to the marine life of eastern Africa proved to be very useful when it came to identifying what I wanted to draw.
Introduced by the Grandson of Jacques Cousteau, Fabien, the Illustrated Enclyclopedia of the Ocean was another source of both information and inspiration that granted me further insight into what I wanted to illustrate.
Introduced by the Grandson of Jacques Cousteau, Fabien, the Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Ocean was another source of both information and inspiration that granted me further insight into what I wanted to illustrate.
From Above and Below by Brian Skerry and Yann-Arthus Bertrand, documents man's interaction with and influence on/from the sea in a series of Highly detailed close up and stunning aerial photographs. I used this book both as a visual reference, and also to gain a better understanding of how man has been influenced and influences the Ocean.
From Above and Below by Brian Skerry and Yann-Arthus Bertrand, documents man’s interaction with and influence on/from the sea in a series of Highly detailed close up and stunning aerial photographs. I used this book both as a visual reference, and also to gain a better understanding of how man has been influenced and influences the Ocean.

After reading the books above and watching ‘Le Monde sans Soleil’ by Jacques Cousteau, I started working on improving my observational sketching, primarily drawing from photographs.

A photograph of the horizon and a Dhow (traditional trading /fishing vessel) in the distance, taken from the bow of another Dhow. I had found this photograph in a very old cache which my father had kept for years. I wanted to improve my drawing from photographs and below the original, is my sketch. I used a Pilot G-TEC C4 to sketch the black lines, graphite for the shading, and a brush pen and waterbrush to darken the sketch, comparing a calm sunny scene in the original to a darker stormier sea in the sketch.
A photograph of the horizon and a Dhow (traditional trading /fishing vessel) in the distance, taken from the bow of another Dhow. I had found this photograph in a very old cache which my father had kept for years. I wanted to improve my drawing from photographs and below the original, is my sketch. I used a Pilot G-TEC C4 to sketch the black lines, graphite for the shading, and a brush pen and waterbrush to darken the sketch, comparing a calm sunny scene in the original to a darker stormier sea in the sketch.

I found that during the process of the observation drawing, I began to refine my visual language into something definitive.

This Project, keeping within the theme of Power and Technology, has lead me to want to illustrate what the world might look like in the near future, if we had ventured into the sea to begin a new age of exploration and discovery.

Jacques Cousteau sought to do this to a certain extent. The Conshelf projects were intended to test whether mankind could live and work underwater comfortably, and it was after the third project, Conshelf 3, did Cousteau abandon this project, as he found it to be exploitative of the ocean and instead turned to conservation.

I want to illustrate what might’ve happened if the rest of the world had been as enthusiastic about these ideas and ambitions as Cousteau was. If his designs for underwater stations and submersibles had attracted the attentions of wealthy investors and global scientific institutions, who know how far developed the technology might have gone in the future. I wanted to try and glimpse into the future, from the ambitions of Cousteau.

The Continental Shelf station MKII, or Conshelf 2 for short. This was Cousteau's base of operations for his experiments into whether humans could comfortably live and work underwater, and the sight for his film: Le Monde sans Soleil (the world without sun). It was a fully functioning station with a laboratory, kitchen, rec room, dive room, computing station and 8 bunks to accommodate his team of researchers.
The Continental Shelf station MKII, or Conshelf 2 for short. This was Cousteau’s base of operations for his experiments into whether humans could comfortably live and work underwater, and the sight for his film: Le Monde sans Soleil (the world without sun). It was a fully functioning station with a laboratory, kitchen, rec room, dive room, computing station and 8 bunks to accommodate his team of researchers.
SP-350 Denise, Cousteau's two-man submersible by his own design. He used this 'diving saucer' to explore the depths, capable of reaching depths of up to 400 meters (1,300 ft.).
SP-350 Denise, Cousteau’s two-man submersible by his own design. He used this ‘diving saucer’ to explore the depths, capable of reaching depths of up to 400 meters (1,300 ft.).
My take on a future Oceanaut. I imagine that this is what the underwater explorer would look like if the world had taken a different turn.
My take on a future Oceanaut. I imagine that this is what the underwater explorer would look like if the world had taken a different turn.

 

 

 After observing what Cousteau had created and what he had striven to do, I started working from my imagination, combining what I had learned with what I could create on my own.

I started illustrating Corals and other life in the Ocean, using a fine tipped black pen and watercolour paints, applied using a self-containing water brush.

Sketches of various Marine life that form reefs. I sketched these from observing pictures and photographs I had taken while on dives and snorkeling. Shown here are examples of Sponges, a Giant Clam, Mushroom Leather Coral, Hump Coral, Whip Coral, and three of their more frequent inhabitants: a Nudibranch, a Flatworm, and a Limpet.
Sketches of various Marine life that form reefs. I sketched these from observing pictures and photographs I had taken while on dives and snorkeling. Shown here are examples of Sponges, a Giant Clam, Mushroom Leather Coral, Hump Coral, Whip Coral, and three of their more frequent inhabitants: a Nudibranch, a Flatworm, and a Limpet.
More studies of Coral. Here I have shown
More studies of Coral. Here I have shown what an example of a future underwater station might look like. Embedded into the coral, it has grown around the man-made parts and has also provided more interior to the structure.
A closer look a some larger Sponges reveals that Cleaner shrimp have made their homes in them. Details like these make the underwater world even more interesting as one can observe the many various relationships between different organisms. I find it important to show this in my work.
A closer look a some larger Sponges reveals that Cleaner shrimp have made their homes in them. Details like these make the underwater world even more interesting as one can observe the many various relationships between different organisms. I find it important to show this in my work.

I observed each detail that made up the shape and form of the coral, then I simplified it, making sure that it looked complex, but in an inviting way.

After observing and sketching both the natural and the man made, I decide to try and blend the two to create an image or three of what a future underwater station might look like.

This is what I'd imagine a large habitation center to be like. Man made machinery can be seen but it is infused into the coral, expanding the space inside and allowing for people to reside within the coral. on the outside afew divers can be seen, as well as various marine life.
This is what I’d imagine a large habitation center to be like. Man made machinery can be seen but it is infused into the coral, expanding the space inside and allowing for people to reside within the coral. On the outside a few divers can be seen, as well as various marine life.
This piece shows a very large Brain Coral that has made into a sub base/outpost. the multiple docking sections on the coral reach around the whole structure. I thought it would be important to add variation between the purpose for which a building was intended for and the coral it would be built into.
This piece shows a very large Brain Coral that has made into a sub base/outpost. the multiple docking sections on the coral reach around the whole structure. I thought it would be important to add variation between the purpose for which a building was intended for and the coral it would be built into.
This structure's purpose is as a Sonar station. Once again I wanted to show variation between the different types of structure and different Coral. The structure is embedded within the surrounding Hump Coral, providing a secure foundation whilst Sea Fans have been altered to provide extra sensory arrays for the station.
This structure’s purpose is as a Sonar station. Once again I wanted to show variation between the different types of structure and different Coral. The structure is embedded within the surrounding Hump Coral, providing a secure foundation whilst Sea Fans have been altered to provide extra sensory arrays for the station.

After refining these ideas a little more I aim to produce a final piece, a Painting, fully portraying the ideas that have been previously mentioned. I would like to think of these illustrations as being part of something that doesn’t have to end in a final piece. I feel that these are simply the start of a longer project, one that I can see myself working on over a long period of time.

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