Hello and well met! My name is Cliff Schonewill, and I am 3D artist who simply enjoys conjuring things into reality - be it a virtual one or a physical one. Creation in general, and the processes that make it happen, are right near the top of the coolest things our species can do. I am sure there are many of you in this community that can agree in some way with that.
I was pleased when Sketchfab reached out to me about producing a personal project for them, and that is what I am here to introduce!
Before I get started, it’s important for me to point out that I’m aware of my own tendency to over complicate things when it comes to a creative project. A thing is never just a thing to me, it is something with reason connected to a story that I often want to create at least some of. My mind works in very non-linear ways when I am making art of some kind, and I have come to recognize that like anything this is both a strength and a weakness. Whatever might be the way you think or do something, it is not bad - but over time it is important to see what the gifts are in your method as well as the drawbacks.
Typically when doing a personal project, I end up at something over ambitious which ultimately ends up cryogenically frozen since skills and artistic eye move ever forward. For those projects, this is a sort of death sentence. I think this is a neat opportunity to try something simpler that I can execute on in a reasonable amount of time. More than that, it is somewhat imperative that I do, because I know how I will ultimately layer on top of it many things creating something less simple than before. Personally, I like this - its how I end up beyond what I would ever have originally thought of, but it involves evolution through the process of production. Rather than designing A and working towards producing A, I tend to bounce my way through a whole alphabet and end up somewhere close to Z, if you’ll pardon the analogy.
Due to a very busy work schedule and a 13 month old child, time is extra hard to come by. I’ve decided to start from a simple place so that layers of uniqueness I layer on top are of a more manageable degree.
I have bits and pieces of a whole fantasy world I am building over time in my mind, and as I build it there are heaps of things that need to be named. Without a name, something just doesn’t seem solid, and I like to (even if it is just temporary) name something that I make to give my mind some things to jump off of when imagining ever widening spirals of things that are involved in it somehow. I have a list I grow over time I call the book of names, and it’s essentially just a document where I add names that I create for things or just try to sound out interesting names that I can later use. That started me thinking that the creation of a very cool looking book could be a great way to do a manageable project. As mentioned above though, of course I can’t let myself make just any ordinary book!
Since I am already long winded, I’ll aim to give a concise idea behind this. The idea is that, just as I have started my little “book of names”, so to in this world has a long standing order who’s aim it is to gather information across time and places into a place where it can be put together in ways not otherwise possible. For centuries through the multitudinous journeys their scholars and seekers undertake, they also keep ledgers of every name they encounter - be it a person, place, or thing, and make notes where possible about origins or meanings of names when they are able to discern either. These are collected into a lexicon per letter in the common language. There are but a few volumes in existence which bring together all of these into one single volume - the Nihm Lexica. Being a compendium of all the characters it represents the best list ever created of names the world over with some notes here and there on them.
Due to its size and rarity I have some license to make it unique and cool, which is what I’m after. There are awesome books in our real world, but I’m not interested in replicated reality - I’m interested in creating something interesting and mysterious then breathing its OWN reality into it. With the sheer amount of pages, this book can not have a typical binding. Working that out and accommodating its heft will be the design challenges out of which other things can flow.
I’ll look forward to sharing bits of progress and thoughts with you as I create Nihm Lexica. Thanks for reading (I know that was overly long)!