09 October 2005

The Labyrinth

Illustration Friday Theme: Lost

I drew most of this while I was at Spinelli's at the Heeren tonight and I finished the details when I got home. The buildings in the background are of a variety of styles, with elements of Moscovite churches, Eastern Orthrodox churches and a Dutch gable. A mish-mash really. I am hoping for a feel of the fantastical.

"Everybody’s looking for a new sensation
Everybody’s talking about the state of the nation
Everybody’s looking for a promised land
Everybody’s failing to understand"
'Pleasure Little Treasure' Depeche Mode


vfm4 said...


rubio2d said...

What a render work!
There's a lot of hours here....so barroque, love it!
I can see all the references in the buildings. Great art in the construction of the labrynth...complicated job..(is there a real exit?)
Only find a little not so well rendered the sky.. maybe a clear and full white would give more power and drama to the labrynth below..but it's a great illlustration at all
Gooooood work!

Alina Chau said...

COOL!! Got a touch of Esher's sensibility in it!! Love the illo a lot!!

JacqueLynn said...

OHHHH cool love the maze!! this is very cool

Mick said...

This is a marvelous drawing! :)

Anonymous said...

You HAVE captured the fantastical! This is wonderful done - wow the maze is aMAZING!

Virginia Valle said...

very cool Chuang :)... NICE WORK

constanthing said...

I love the details, it's like you can navigate yourself in the drawing. I agree I see a touch of Escher in there too, cool!

Black Ice said...

I agree on the Escher part. First thing that came to my mind. Second was the movie "Labrinth". Talk about being lost, I'm dizzy just looking at it. *faint :) Fantastico!!

AG said...

this is really nice, shadings + perspective

Will Loh said...

Alison and I both thought that this is fantastic. Very well done.

kg said...

the detail of this sketch is awesome!

Lisa said...

This is simply stunning. I love the perspective. Kind of makes me think about one of Escher's pieces. Fantastic!

carla said...

Wow! The labyrinth looks like a feat of artistic engineering! I love the way you shaded the walls, and the sky is so full of ebergy. This is extra-cool! What a great illustration:>

Linda said...


Chuang Shyue Chou said...

vfm4: Thank you.

Rubio: It was an hour for the pencil work while I had a nice ice-blended coffee in town and another hour later when I did the ink work and the textures. I had thoughts of a real exit and working maze as I used to draw little mazes when I was younger. However, the idea of an unending maze that stretches across the horizon was much too evocative, thus, there really isn't an exit to this. You are right about the sky, it does detract from the focus, which is the maze. I was experimenting with a sky as I wanted depth, thus conveying the idea of an unending maze. I should have opted for a cleaner sky with white cloud patches which can give an illusion of depth. I will use this sky again but with stronger tones in another piece though.

Alina: Thanks. I actually didn't have Escher in mind when I drew this. I think Escher's play with perspectives is difficult to achieve though it can be done. I would love to attempt it one day. I had one of those English or French garden mazes in mind when I first started. However, hedges would be extremely difficult to do on such a scale. Hence, I opted for brick walls.

Jacquelynn: I appreciate the words, Jacquelynn. It was a fun maze to do.

Mick: Thank you. I am glad you liked it.

Anonymous: Anonymous, thanks!

Virginiajoe: Thank you Virginiajoe. It was fun to do.

Constanthing: Thanks Constanthing. The details were part of the joy of doing this piece. I had to resist from overdrawing. The temptation was there.

Blackice: The old 'Labyrinth' movie with David Bowie? Wow. That's quite a while ago! Thanks!

AG: I utilised an elevated platform at the entrance as to allow one an overview of the entire maze. A view from the ground level would not have worked well, thanks AG.

Will Loh: Thanks Your Highness. Tell Alison that I said 'thanks' as well.

KG: Thank you KG. I love details and often have to resist from over doing it.

Lisa: Lisa, thanks. I did have to plan a little for the perspective, having an elavated view, hence the platform and the stairs leading down. Otherwise, it was quite straight forward.

Karla: Thanks Carla. For the shading of the walls, I have to create textures and leave out shadows as they would have disorienting and would distract from a large part of the maze as it receded in the distance.

Linda: Thank you.

Caroline said...

I really like this - though I'm glad I'm not lost in it.

Your drawings are great.

Gerald said...

a-MAZE-ing line work. I truly believe you spent 2+ hours on this piece. It really turned out great. I like your style...I could totally see your linework used for storyboards. Thanks for visiting :D

Catnapping said...

omg. the dizzying complexity of this work! i love all the detail. i think it'd be kinda fun to live in such a place, though it might get a little hot in the summer, ey?

Holly said...

This is really well done. Nice idea.

janey said...

Kafka would be a home there. Excellent idea and very well done.

Julie Oakley said...

Beautiful illustration. You really have an instinct for perspective being able to create this in such a short time!

Chuang Shyue Chou said...

Thanks Caroline. I wanted to do one with hedges but that would involve a lot more work.

Thank you Gerald. Storyboarding is quite a different skill altogether. I tried a few panels once and was stumped. The sense of movement and continuity are another art form altogether.

Thanks Catnapping. It would indeed be quite something to live in such a landscape. An enchantment at that. And like you have said, given the lack of trees, it would be warm.

Holly thanks, I am glad you liked it.

Janey, you are observant. I am influenced by the work of Kafka. I do have Kafka in mind when I draw. His desolate landscapes, the endless bureaucracy and also the nineteenth century Austrian-Hungarian empire which he lived and breathed in. I do have a previous piece somewhere in the blog (titled The Castle) based on K's journey to the castle. And of course, the title of this blog is that of a short story by Jorge Luis Borges, also known to have written 'The Labyrinth', 'The Garden of Forking Paths' and more. Thank you for your compliment Janey.

Thanks Julie. I started with pencils for the composition. It was quick because the perspectives needed for this is simple, consisting of receding pieces. I reduced the detail as for pieces in the distance. There was no need to use multiple vanishing points as the walls are two-dimensional constructs really. Not three. Very standard as you know. The only tricky bit was the choice of perspective and height for the observer. For that, I chose an elevated platform outside the maze. After which, it was a swift fun experience with 0.3 pens for the walls of the maze, 0.5 pens for the platform and finally 0.2 and 0.1 pens for the distant walls and details on the walls (ie cracks, wear, etc).

johnnynorms said...

Brilliant! I liked the drawing and reading about it. Didn't make me think of Kafka - but I am a big fan of The Castle, The Trial & his short stories. I think the sky works for it - gives it a broodiness, helps make it more expressive. I love the idea of different buildings from different eras - by the time you've found your way through the labyrinth to the next place, time's moved on!

By the way, I see you've got the Depeche Mode bug at the moment! I don't know them outside their greatest hits - got the feeling reading more of your recommendations could help fill some of my gaps in music exploration..

蓝月 said...

had actually wanted to ask your permission to use this illustration for an unentered entry for my blog..

i very much feel stuck in such a maze.

Chuang Shyue Chou said...

Definitely. Go right ahead. If you need a larger version of that illustration do let me know. I can mail it to you.

NuxV said...

awesome! how mch is tis piece?