Barlowe's Shadow

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Abiogenisis's avatar
How on Earth does one write a book about alien life without falling into the shadow of Wayne Barlowe?

Because he is basically the only person in the field, it is inevitable that one would be compared to him, and frankly he got there first.

Anyone who knows who he is will know what I am talking about.
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Oddsword's avatar
Aaaaah, but when writing about alien life forms, one must not ask "how on Earth would I do this" but "how on ANOTHER earth would I do this"!
Bethelon's avatar
Yeah! I know who he is. Although I haven't read his book, I saw the discovery channel documentary based on his book, Expedition. I like that the alien life forms that he describes do not come to the "humaniod" form. Although, I feel like a hypocrite telling you this, because of what I'm doing. But, it makes sense that nature in other worlds would bring forth intelligent life in an completely other form. I believe when humanity finally ventures out into the stars, you and Barlowe will be right. But, your work is way harder. You're trying to figure out how biology works on other worlds. Mine is to figure out how live would be like millions of years in the future. The eventual extinction of humanity on the planet earth. And just to save you a trip to my gallery, we were replaced by intelligent, bipedal talking foxes.
I'm not happy in my little corner of the universe, so I made my own universe! (please don't ask me how) :)
NeuStrasbourg's avatar
I know that feeling. There is nothing after Barlowe :P

No, seriously, your concepts are great and as long as you express your vision to the max. (never be afraid of working too much, that's physically impossible :D) it will be a masterpiece of it's own.

Besides, there can't be enough art about alien worlds if you ask me.
Zyklotrop's avatar
Try Dougal Dixon. Not alien, but his work does have a similarity with yours. Your stuff is great by the way!

shadowphoen1x's avatar
I think by not being conscious of his work and going about your own work by no longer referring to him in any way, shape or form is a good thing.

As an example: whenever I do a play and I know there is a film adaptation of it, I never watch the film. Ever. Reason why is because a film can create a bit of an imagination block in an actors mind rather than them exploring the role among the dialogue through pure imagination alone. A film can appear to be the 'definative' version of something when infact this isnt the case at all, it's purely an interpretation of the text. Yet most actors aren't aware of this and just replicate what they saw in the film onstage. And the audience click onto it straight away, "oh that was just like what Michael Caine did in such & such..." or something along those lines.

If you no longer look at this guys work, even if you have posters of his stuff on your wall, take it all down and put it away. Really explore and experiment your own style, I think you'll stand out from the crowd.
Reactor-Axe-Man's avatar
Journal necromancy!!!

I think your work can stand strong and proud on its own - yes, comparisons can be made to Barlowe, but if you let that hold you back, where will it get you? Take the plunge and go for it.
Mucho-of-Arabia's avatar
Your work is great, it might not be the first to do something like this, but who ever was? Your idol was infuenced by someone, as you will influence someone and so on...
spacecowboy76's avatar
In this day and age media is so rampant and ever present and all consuming of everything that could possibly be - it's kinda hard not to stand in someone's shadow no matter what you do. So I wouldn't worry about it.

Barlow has the name recognition and created a big impact on us with his guidebooks back in the 80's, but he's still only one man and apparently tied up in a bunch of different projects.
HammerOne's avatar
What little I've read of Barlow's stuff is usually very good, but all over the place, only hinting at anything like a coherent storyline or unified universe. If you can tie your stuff together more tightly, and of course continue your high work standards, you should be able to "leave the master's shadow"
Anagorrax's avatar
I have to say that I love your art and I too am a big fan of Wayne Barlowe. However apart from a few slight Barlowe-esque touches in your Pic "Shadows of the Sun" I think overall you have a very unique style. WB did set the bench mark for creating wierd yet authentic alien life but your own designs are also very unique and I think they would stand equally well alongside WB's work. Keep going I'd love to see more :)
Waughkizashi's avatar
thing is, though, you have to make your art waaaay different to be distinguished from Barlowe. The first thing i thought when i saw one of your paintings was...Barlowe..they're great paintings though.
tentaculus's avatar
Even though he's the pioneer, doesn't mean anyone is forever under his shadows. I mean, everyone got a really different style to each other right? Barlowe got his own, which is very distinctive. If you really attempt to make one, I'm supporting you, your works are genuinely embedded with your style only, and I think you can rival him if you wish to do so.

Barlowe is undeniably one of my favorite artists, but then you are one of them as well :)

Cheers ;)
Charanty's avatar
Wayne Barlowe? Who is that?
El-Jorro's avatar
I hear you man. I have read his guide to extraterrestrials and his level of detail is unbelievable. I really want to buy his book Expedition as well. Listen its hard to live up to a great artist who came before you. My advice would be to continue doing your own work in order to seperate yourself from him.
Terrichance's avatar
I think you've got what it takes to go head-to-head, or like one suggested, collaberate with, Mr. Barlowe. Whatever course of action you take, I don't think he would mind terribly having somebody else in the field.
If you DID write a book, would it be on the MSI's world, where a civilization is established? Or would you concentrate on the Zero-G world, which I think would make a REALLY good book. Neither are angles Barlowe has aimed at, for certain.
Nambroth's avatar
I understand. I work in a genre that is full of Masters That Have Come Before Me. All I can say is strive to push yourself, and produce the most excellent things you can. There will always be comparisons by those that can't learn to appreciate new masters. You are indeed a new master of this genre- I haven't seen better. Wonderful work.
cleric782's avatar
So you're going to be compared to Barlowe, does that mean you will stop painting and drawing? Consider it an intelligent observation that your work is similar to his book Expedition (which everyone should read if not own), then my response would be, thank you
GogolsOvercoat's avatar
This going to sound pretty lame, but i'd actually never heard of Barlowe before this.
rubendevela's avatar
Heh... I'm one of those that mentioned Barlowe in a comment to your work :P
I apologize if it's actually a "thing" for you.
Abiogenisis's avatar
No its ok, I just don't want to tread on ground he has already covered. I want to make something new.
Saxophlutist's avatar
You and Nemo-Ramjet in my opinion have surpassed Barlowe from an evolutionary standpoint. And your art is just as good!
stinkywigfiddle's avatar
I think your work is just as good as Barlowe, and in some ways better.
Piatnitskysaurus's avatar
I have to say, your aliens have a much more believable general nature than his do. Personally, I think we need to flood the marekt with creature design, so comparison is not as much of a problem.
eorhythm's avatar
I would personally say your style is already sufficiently different, but no matter what you're not going to get by those who have narrow minds.

I think with a different approach to presentation it would be marketable, and quite frankly, I much prefer your aliens to Barlowe's; his art is great, but your creatures seem to have much more backing them up. Your style is also 'cleaner,' somehow, which makes for a more scientific take, rather than the artistic one that Barlowe bestows upon his alien works.

Rayn-Hammer and whalewithlegs both have good points I agree with.
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