Ed Koehler

Ed Koehler

Wonky Perspective

According to the smartphone dictionary, wonky means "preoccupied with arcane details or procedures in a specialized field". The secondary British use, according to the same source, simply means, awry; wrong. 

This image reflects both. I got rather preoccupied with the arcane details. My initial thumbnail was going to be a conventional bird's eye view of Mary, donkey, and Joseph arriving in Bethlehem. I wanted it to have a graphic vibe, more than a conventional "Sunday School Cartoon" look, but I didn't start out with this in mind. Once I got going, I kept adding more and more buildings, a park, and then a fountain. The more I worked on the buildings, the less they looked like ancient Bethlehem. But I didn't want to stop. 

I knew I would draw the architecture in skewed perspective. I've liked that since I was a kid. I have considerable training and experience in drawing real perspective, and consider myself good at it, but I like the fun of perspective gone awry. I'm a fan of 1950's commercial art, especially Jazz album covers and illustrations that skew the lines. LIkewise I grew up enamored with Jay Ward and his Bullwinkle cartoon show. Pretty wonky stuff. 

For years my work was done in a high key color scheme. My clients liked the brightness for the age groups they put me on. Lately I've been toning it down with a limited, muted, palette. I'll generally do this with complemenatary colors, albeit their tertiary neighbors, with a third contrasting color tossed in. 

Back to this wonky perspective thing. I wonder if this is something all kids like? If so, I wonder why they like it? If memory serves, I simply recall that I found it funny, and intentionally goofy. I was quite young when I learned to draw in proper perspective. My older brother taught me the standard railroad tracks and telephone pole set-up in one point perspective. I know what is right, but still get a kick out of what's wrong with quirky cartoon buildings and incongruos vanishing points going every which way. 

I hope this rather loose depiction of Bethlehem is simply fun, if historically way off. Merry Christmas everyone!

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