The  Making  of  Anastasia

By  Evelyn  Irwin

• For  our  first  project  we  were  asked  to  create  concept  art  for  one  of  the  cities  
described  in  Italio Calvino’s  “Invisible  Cities”.  Calvino’s  “Invisible  Cities  was  
published  in  1972  and  is  known  to  be  one  of  his  best  works.  The  novel  is  about  
narrator  Marco  Polo  giving  a  guided  tour  of  55  different  cities  to  emperor  Kublai  
Khan  which  are  all  imaginary  and  each  possess  unique  elements  that  separate  
them  from  other  cities.  Calvino  separates  these  cities  into  11  different  categories,  
such  as  “Cities  &  Memory”,  Cities  &  Desire  and  so  fourth.  After  reading  over  a  
selection  of  the  cities  as  a  class,  we  were  asked  to  read  over  the  remaining  cities  
that  were  given  to  us  to  choose  one  that  we  would  like  to  create  concept  art  for.  
Whilst  exploring  the  cities,  I  felt  most  drawn  to  the  city  of  “Anastasia”.  With  it  
being  listed  in  the  “Cities  &  Desire”  category,    Anastasia  is  listed  as  being  one  of  
the  most  labour  orientated  cities  with  ”concentric  canals”  and  “varieties  of  
chalcedony”.    Through  thorough  research,  I  have  gathered  much  inspiration  for  
thumbnail  sketches  of  all  the  cities,  and  for  my  chosen  city  of  Anastasia,  I  have  
aimed  to  capture  the  appearance  inside  and  out  of  the  city.

• Since  Anastasia  is  a  city  orientated  around  selling  Chalcedony  and  other  wares,  I  
imagined  its  appearance  being  fairly  similar  to  countries  such  as  Austria.  Although  
this  is  not  specifically  described,  I  envisioned  the  city  to  be  somewhat  woodland  
based  due  to  the  fact  that  its  inhabitance  of  chalcedony  would  come  from  various  
caves  and  with  the  prominence  of  caves  would  come  the  existence  of  mountains  
and  woodlands.  
• I  also  believe  there  are  some  fantastical  and  renaissance  elements  about  the  city,  
such  as  the  “flesh  of  the  golden  pheasant  cooked”  and  the  “women  I  have  seen  
bathing  in  the  pool  of  a  garden”.  I  also  imagined  that  due  to  the  “kites  flying  over  
it”,  Anastasia  would  appear  to  be  idyllic  and  rustic.
• However,  the  fact  that  Calvino  contradicts  his  constructive  description  to  be  two-­‐
sided  by  stating  he  is  ”not  telling  you  the  city’s  true  essence”  and  “it  enjoys  
everything  you  do  not  enjoy”  personifies  the  city  to  be  overwhelming  in  terms  of  
power.  Also,  the  fact  that  you  enjoy  Anastasia  “wholly  when  you  are  only  its  
slave”  depicts  that  it  could  be  heavily  manmade  and  there  is  no  real  time  to  enjoy  
the  city  because  of  this.

Influences  continued…
• Most  of  my  inspiration  for  the  Exterior  shots  of  the  city  has  come  
from  researching  into  the  canals  in  Amsterdam,  the  irrigation  through  
the  River  Nile  in  Egypt  and  the  heavily  man  made  renaissance  
elements  of  cities  such  as  those  in  Italy.  I  have  also  researched  into  
panning  camera  angles  for  how  to  display  key  elements  of  the  city.  
• Most  of  my  inspiration    for  the  interior  has  come  from  looking  at  the  
inside  of  churches  and  wooden  lodges  to  capture  a  labour orientated  
atmosphere,  but  I  also  tried  to  add  some  fantastical  elements  to  
balance  out  the  differences  in  how  people  view  the  city  than  to  what  
it  actually  is.

Exploratory   Thumbnails

Figure   1:  Trying  to  include   the  
entire  city  in  order   to  not  leave  
out  any  details  of  what  Calvino  

Figure   2:  Testing  the  different  
angles  of  how  to  portray  the  city,  
along  with  judging   how  much  of  
the  outer  environment   to  include  
so  it  doesn’t   take  the  focus  off  of  
the  city  itself.

Figure   3:  Testing  how  the  
viewer  could   see  the  whole  
city,  along   with  testing  the  
kinds  of   textures  and  tones  
that  would   need  to  be  used  to  
show  levels  and  depth.

Interior  shot  to  test  placement  of  figures   and  how  
to  adjust  tones  and  colours to  display  either  
openness   or  seclusion

Exterior  shot  to  display  impact  of   canals  on  the  
city.  Also  to  test  whether  I  should   add  bridges  
within  the  interior  low  angle  shot  of  the  city

Influences  for  exterior  establishing  shot

Influences  for  low  angle  shot

Influences  for  interior  establishing  shot

Final  Designs