The whole idea of layers has crept up on me slowly surfacing in my thoughts at various unexpected times. I am recalling as a child when playing in the mud on a rainy day starting a construction with a base. Using the base adding the different textures of mud by adding the amount of water I wanted to create the mud project I was working on. My brother and I would play together making comics. He was the artist drawing the pictures and I was the author filling in the dialog and commentary. Without any training at all, we worked in layers adding simple outlines first then filling in the details as we narrowed down our story. I’ve also been thinking about how nature is also arranged in layers from its tiniest components to our largest mountains although the arrangement is structured spherical. Now, of course, I am a “why” person. So I asked myself: “Why are you thinking about all these things?”
I had not realized I was actually thinking about the concept of layers until one day in one of our Infinite Cortex Creation meetings we were discussing possibly using a different production program. During our discussions, the boys were using all kinds of illustrations with grids, figures, rotations, pieces of figures, lighting, depth, shading, and angles. They were asking each other specific questions then one would bring up a project he was working on and the discussion would roll forward on the capabilities of the program again. Now, not to toot my own horn, but I am pretty adept at visualizing in 3D (How I passed organic chemistry pretty easily before there was computer modeling.). As we completed our discussion during this part of the meeting I was still “seeing” the elements when I was asked about the back story of one of the characters in Gellini. I shifted my visualizing to “seeing” Gellini without missing a beat. Whoa! Writers create in layers too.
As I saw Gellini moving through her story, she was not in a void. She was moving through a space and time creating a climate. Gellini, too, has a back story or, if you will, a history. Writers, it seems, draw on their ideas, then begin a process of developing the layers to support the story or nonfiction outcomes they have targeted. As with any creationeer process, writers differ on how they go about creating their layers per personality, training, project, process, and a whole host of other variables.
If we take a look at any “How To _____” book on almost any subject, it is broken down into layers. You may argue that a talented person does not need all those layers. I would argue back. Study any known talent’s process and discover the work that you see. There is a rare one who does not work meticulously on specific elements and are often more ruthless on their expectations of themselves than others would be. The talent may not have been able to tell you what they were doing but they were naturally developing their own process of layers. My grandfather was a gifted wood carver and broke down the process to teach other people. When complimented, he would defer and just say, he used the same process as he was teaching, he just came by it more intuitively.