Thursday, February 5, 2009

Mountain maker

I am no artist, so when I needed to picture the trail my protagonist takes through the mountains, I was stuck. Sketching was out of the question; diagrams and stick figures weren't detailed enough. Clip art useless, graph paper unhelpful, what to do, what to do, what to do.

Then I realized: I can just make the mountains. Brilliant!

Twenty minutes with a piece of Sculpey and a popsicle stick, and I had enough to work with. Did you know it's hard to sculpt a mountain? I'm not saying these are accurate, but they're close enough to work, and now the palm-sized piece of white modeling clay sits on a saucer next to my computer. Out of the corner of my eye it bears a strong resemblance to a lump of melting ice cream, and in fact I've found myself reaching for it absently several times.

No! Do not eat the mountain!

This is much better than the useless maps I was trying to draw. What tripped me up is that, for this section at least, three dimensions are important. Cliffs and abysses are as relevant, probably even more relevant, to my poor character than forward and backward, right and left. Besides, how often do you get to make a mountain and stick it on a plate?


Peter S said...

You could also make some digital mountains. I'll email you an example I made for you, along with a section. I was going to post the pictures but can't post photos in comments!

Total digital modeling time was around 8 minutes. You can download Google SketchUp for free and make your own digital models. But it's probably not as fun as Sculpey.

Babs said...

I like Mr. Sculpey! Besides, you can smoosh it with your hands and have whole mountains collapse instantly and create new ones instantaneously. Play God!