M. C. A. Hogarth (haikujaguar ) wrote,
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The Color Scheme of the Admonishments

And now, continuing the week's theme of OMGYAYBOOK, a post I've been wanting to make for a while: a discussion of color in The Admonishments.

The observant will notice that there are two primary color schemes for the illustrations I did for the book: a yellow and purple palette and a black/dark/red palette. This was a conscious decision on my part, though for a while I've been struggling to find the right words to articulate why some pieces ended up with the first palette and some the second.

And then I stumbled on this Ai-Naidari word: apadisil [ ah pah dih SEEL ], (verb) – bring out of malleable-space; the people allowed to do this are rare, and this almost always refers to the part of Correction that involves easing a person out of the state where they were receptive to Correction and into the state of once again being a normal member of society; this requires the facilitation and guidance of someone else.

And that's the best explanation I can find. Some of the illustrations take place during a time when the individual is malleable, amenable to change: the black and red scheme. Some of them don't, and they got gold and purple.

Outside Malleable Space

Dawn - The Admonishments Sunny Days - Complete

Here we get the initial illustration of Shame looking out over the temple district with his morning cup, which also represents a point in time when he's still comfortable with his duties. While this one is probably an intuitive choice for this color scheme, the piece of him undergoing the trial to become Shame is also in this color scheme because he is completely confident of his course. This is not a matter of tortuous thought for him. He is glad to be there, if that makes sense.

Inside Malleable Space

Shame's Altar Admonishments, Plate 1: Metteth The Admonishments - Five Months The Admonishments - The Master's Hand

On the other end, most of the remaining illustrations belong to the people you meet in malleable space or people undergoing change or stress. The first illustration, of Shame just after administering a difficult Correction, demonstrates how his work begins to change him. "Five Months" visits two Ai-Naidar who are still reacting to a painful but effective Correction, and addresses a resolution between them that can only come during that space. The final illustration with Thirukedi is an ultimate change: the Correction that finally breaks Shame. And of course, the cover is a kind of invitation to the reader into the malleable space, saying, "Come see if you'll change your mind if you really engage us," and showing you the guide you'll find there.

You'll notice spots of gold in these, representing "light at the end of the tunnel": the two in "Five Months" resolving their issues, and of course Thirukedi who is the light at the end of all tunnels, for the Ai-Naidar.

The Odd Ones Out

Dawn - The World Gate The Admonishments - Coda

There were a couple of things I had to accomplish completely outside the two color schemes. The first was the illustration of the sociopath leaving the World Gate. In this case, I wanted to paint the Gate in a naturalistic scheme because I didn't want the palette to distract the reader from the realness of it; I wanted to make it clear that this landscape exists outside of Ai-Naidari perception so that you'd believe the sense of scale. But the Sociopath leaving the scene is in the black of someone who is about to be put in malleable space (even if he doesn't "take").

Finally, the last piece of the book I wanted to feel ephemeral, ghost-like... almost artificial. Like a snapshot. So I did it in a neutral gray, with a single dot of red to let you know that this individual works with and is still in malleable space: for better or worse, stressed and still able to change. I hoped that would be an appropriate lead-in to the events in Black Blossom.


And there you are! From the brain of a writer-who-paints, or an artist-who-writes. I hope it was interesting. :)


The Admonishments of Kherishdar Website.
Tags: art, books, process, the admonishments of kherishdar
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