A wholesome tongue is a tree of life,
But perverseness in it breaks the spirit.
I had thought of a few different ways to represent this proverb. Some were less realistic and others were very graphic; one involving a very long black tongue and people being shattered. But in the end I didn't want to ONLY represent the negative side of this proverb and no ideas came (quickly enough) to put the ideas together (and I wonder if that's not completely reasonable). The negative side seemed more interesting but it also seemed to easy, and I kept seeing so many human representations on instagram that are specifically negative perspectives being human. So, if only for my own learning/sanity, I wanted to spend time thinking about the effects of good choices and not just bad ones.
These took me from 930am till 630pm with a couple hours of break in between to just do the drawing. I had a basic concept and some incredibly simple diagrams of what I wanted them to look like but taking them out of my imagination and making them visible was difficult. So, I ended up breaking the idea down into its several objective parts: trees, persons, hair, smoke; and I found relevant reference photos for each of those categories. Then, with the help of a computer that a friend gave to me, I made collages in Photoshop whose only purpose was to bring the separate parts into association with each other so that I could better understand how they might reasonably appear. And from that point I just started drawing.
I really like the direction they're going in but I was listening to Will Terrell today concerning interesting images and it seemed to him that those which tell stories are immediately going to be the ones that have some inherent interest inside of them. So, these images are curious, and I did want to make 'pretty' images but now I'm thinking a bit about the aspect of story. These images were not meant to involve the storytelling concept at all so I don't hold that against them. I'm just thinking about the idea.