Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Ethnography/ Ethnogenesis Research Illustration.

So I've been reading up on Ethnography and Ethnogenesis over the past week or so. Ethnography is one of the qualitative methods I've been highly drawn to recently. Mainly because it explores the idea of Ethnogenesis. This is increasingly interesting to me as I explore the adaptation of humans for my illustration designs.

I particularly like this paragraph which I found here.

"But if that is so, then many isolated peoples, considered to be at 'early' stages of civilization, with an extremely low level of technique, are the final and not the initial phases of ethnogenesis. Such, for example, are the pygmies of the tropical forests of Africa, the aborigines of Australia, the palaeoasiatic ethnoi of Siberia, the Tierra del Fuegans, and the mountain people of the Pamirs. The degree of adaptation to the natural conditions is so high that it enables them to maintain their existence as part of the biocoenosis, without resorting to improvement of tools and weapons. But this system of relationships with natural and ethnic surroundings puts a limitation on growth of population. That is particularly noticeable in New Guinea where the Papuan youth, until recently, was not given the right to have a child until he had brought in the head of a man from a neighbouring tribe, having learned his name, because the number of names was strictly limited. In that way the Papuans maintained their balance with the natural resources of the area they inhabited. That was drive close to the zero level. In other respects they do not yield place to dynamic peoples." - (Lev Gumilev.)

This highlights interesting points about certain races and cultures, which are affected by the climate, altitude, etc. which surrounds them. These things are key in visual adaptation, as the designs for, say, a tribe which live on huts hanging on the side of steep mountains, and have done for thousands of years), will presumably be completely contrast to a group of settlers living underground in some futuristic dystopian city.

Tonight's assignment was to imagine a basic idea for a tribe, or people, and do some development sketches for the characters, animals, foliage, houses, etc. of said tribe.

I thought of a tribe who are constantly under attack from a neighbouring village, the villages reside in an insanely vast, hot planet. The planets' climate and ecology echo's Africa's Savannah plains.

I figured the characters would be clad in somewhat bright colours most of the time to be recognisable amongst the tribespeople as a local and therefore, non-threat. This idea came from the "Oroma" tribe of Kenya.

The "Oroma" people are well-known for their vibrant clothing.

I also wanted to experiment with foliage and building designs for this imaginary tribe. However, I've never really had much experience designing either. So I sort of adapted sketches from The Skillful Huntsman to fill up space until I have researched this further.

To make the idea more exciting I played around with the idea of the hunting methods of The Kazakhs of Mongolia. They take advantage of the vast open plains which surround them, and hunt using their heavily-trained Hunting Eagles.

So I thought it would be interesting if the tribespeople had some sort of arrangement with another race. From that I imagined a flying species, which are of comparable intelligence to humans, but lack the fighting ability, and struggle to catch prey in the unforgiving and distance scape of the desert.

The idea of the two of them having an agreement was sounding good. So I thought perhaps the sky civilisation provide scouting members who's job is to constantly soar overhead on the watch for oncoming attacks to the people. In return the people provide a safe house for the sky species within the confounds of their town.

Here is the conceptual artwork I have drawn up so far.

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