This sketch started out as just a portion of a city lit by the moon, because I loved the texture of the white pencil on black, and there was something phantasmic about the ambience. But I was never happy with the city on its own... it needed to grow. So I let it sit in my project file, coming back every so often to examine it a bit.
I kept thinking cliffs. Tall cliffs with the city built right in. Eventually I retrieved the drawing and began to widen the world. Except the cliffs didn't come out right. The texture was tree-like, not rocky. Trees come organically out of me (so do cliffs in, you know, that kind of mood, but not this time) and I finally understood that this ghostly, abandoned city needed to be built literally into a larger world.
As I filled out the suggestion of that bigger place, I found it still wasn't enough to complete the drawing. I had the distinct impression of two particular people. You can see them sitting on the wall.
And I knew the entire reason this city was built - by some civilization, somewhere in time - was for them. All the strokes, all the stones, all the effort spent, was so these two could have a place to live their story.
Even if it was just for a moment of their story.
Such is the nature of world-building. What are worlds for, if they aren't inhabited by those who need them?
I've had that happen to me before. As I reluctantly stepped out into the chill one morning to combat the degenerative Lyme disease I'd fought with for many years, I had a clear whisper of thought that this trail was here for me. It was here exactly for this moment, so I could use it to get over the hump of weakness and overall lame-ness that'd been my life for too long. It's not that others hadn't and didn't use the trails for their benefit - that's the beauty of community living - but for this moment, it was here for me when I needed it. And I felt humble and grateful, and pounded the trail.
But I don't always remember stuff like that 'til something reminds me. Back to this pic. I knew who the characters were: two individuals inside my virtual-reality novel who exist only inside the system, but who can go anywhere in that world of imagination.
This black and white scene doesn't exist inside the book itself, but it does in an alternate universe between the cracks. This isn't their only picture, either. I've sketched many, in entirely different situations and locations and media (one on a bridge, one under a giant jellyfish), and they all turn out to be moments for these two. I guess they need a lot of them.
Everyone needs a pocket for their story, somewhere inside space and time. Where does your pocket exist? And what has it given you?