The Banners of PLDH> Basics
Eventually I will get to covering all of the banners that have been previously used on this website. If you are interested in seeing some of the older art used here, for the time being, have a look at our History page. I have provided links to older versions of this website there and with those come the ability to see several old banners.
For now this page will explain the stories behind the banners used in our current styles.
- Gyarados of Kanagawa - Preview the GoK style
- Vile Stacks - Preview the ViM style
- Stars and Lucario - Preview the SaL style
- Pory in Wind - Preview the PiW style
- GiaChrome - Preview the GiC style
- 100BurntBranches - Preview the1BB style
- Blaine the Riddler - Preview the BtR style
- 'Tu Mind Benders - Preview the TMB style
- Grains of Zoroark - Preview the GoZ style
- Son of Mew - Preview the SoM style
Displayed to the right is the original work of art and then beneath it is the revisitation of that piece with Gyarados appearing in it. Click the images to see their enlarged versions.
The banner Gyarados of Kanagawa is based off of an older piece of art entitled The Great Wave Off Kanagawa. I simply took the Gyarados drawn by Ken Sugimori and, with multiple copies of it, severed it into several pieces. From there I took The GWOK and spliced it into several layers, which then overlaid the Gyarados, giving it on overlapping or 3-D feel.
I saw the original work, by Katsushika Hokusai, c. 1829-1832, in an art history course that is a requirement for my degree... I thought that it was a badass picture and after using a historical piece of artwork for our splash page [see JOE] I figured, what the hell? Note that I flipped the canvas horizontally as well, to obtain the effect of the wave and Gyarados overtaking the website's title. The bottom portion of that painting was placed, without modification, in our footer as well. It created a very cool effect :D
What a good decision using the GWOK piece of art in tandem with Gyarados turned out being. The colour scheme in the work actually matches this website's established colour pallette very well and to top that Ken Sugimori's Gyarados actually looks as though it were drawn to fit into Hokusai's picture... Perhaps not where I placed the Gyarados, but they admittedly paired together very well.
As was done with the JOE splash page I will provide the backstory to this piece of art in honor of its inspiration and use here, on PLDH.net.
Katsushika Hokusai did a series of colour woodcut prints depicting Mount Fuji in Japan. This particular woodcut was done in 1832 and was the first woodcut in Hokusai's series of 36 views of Mount Fuji. The series shows Mount Fuji being depicted in various views and in different conditions. Here you see the mountain as viewed from the Kanagawa province during a storm at sea.
As it stands The Great Wave Off Kanangawa is the most famous of Hokusai's works.
Displayed to the right is the original work of art and then beneath it is the revisitation of that piece with Weavile appearing in it. Click the images to see their enlarged versions.
The banner Vile Stacks is based on one of Claude Monet's pieces titled Grain Stacks. The colour scheme for the style emerged from the modified colour pallatte of the Weavile.
Claude Monet is an impressionist perhaps best known for his series of paintings called Water Lillies. Monet painted water lillies that were found in a pond he built on his own property, in varying degrees of light and from different angles. Claude Monet is one of the founders of the French Impressionist movement.
Grain Stacks, also referred to as Haystacks, followed the same concept as the water lillies. Monet, almost obsessively, painted stacks of wheat throughout the seasons, in varying degrees of light and from different angles. This series of paintings was done in the Normandy region of France.
The piece used in our banner is entitled Haystacks, Morning Snow Effect c. 1891. The Grain Stacks paintings total over 20 and are renouned successes, even at the time of their initial release in the early 1890's. Their survival has even greater meaning when you consider the fact that Monet was such a perfectionist he was known for destroying single paintings or even a series of works, such as this.
Weavile is floating aimlessly about in the modified work. It was placed in that way to get the angle of the grain stack I wanted to appear in the banner. That said, I left it there for display, in full, here. The Weavile is a modified Sugimori drawing, with its effects achieved through Sketch and Bush Strokes Filters.
Displayed to the right is the original work of art and then beneath it is the revisitation of that piece with Lucario appearing in it. Click the images to see their enlarged versions.
The banner Stars and Lucario if based on Vincent van Gogh's The Starry Night c. 1889. Van Gogh's work is classified as Dutch post-Impressionism. Van Gogh is known for his use of line, which is said to be full of emotion as bends and swirls throughout each painting. This is true, especially of Vincent, who was a very depressed individual. He cut off part of his ear following the end of a friendship and had also committed himself to a sanitarium. Vincent would eventually, voluntarily, end his own life.
The Starry Night was actually painted during Vincent's stay in the sanitarium. The work depicts the view from his room at night. Most of this painting, however, was done from memory during the daytime. Many historians, today, speculate that The Starry Night may have found some inspiration based on Lord Rosse's work, Whirlpool Galaxy which was painted 44 years prior to van Gogh's work. His use of colour and line in the sky, to the left of the moon, is what predominately what these historians cite when making that assumption.
As with Monet, van Gogh was hard on his own work. Vincent wrote quite harshly about The Starry Night in a letter to Theo from Saint-Rémy. Part of his criticism follows, "In all this batch I think nothing at all good save the field of wheat, the mountain, the orchard, the olives with the blue hills and the portrait and the entrance to the Quarry, and the rest says nothing to me, because it lacks individual intention and feeling in the lines."
The Lucario's position remains the same from the banner to the actual artwork and was modified using shadow effects, and an Angled Strokes Brush Strokes Filter.
Displayed to the right is the original work of art and then beneath it is the revisitation of that piece with Porygon-Z appearing in it. Click the images to see their enlarged versions.
The banner Pory in Wind is based on a painting entitled Nimbus by Jules Cozine c. 2008. The work depicts clouds, specifically nimbus clouds, or clouds which produce precipitation.
The artist, Jules Cozine, is obviously still alive and painting. That said I know absolutely nothing about this particular artist. The work which was used was discovered using Google image search as I had no known direction for the background of the PiW style.
With the exception of the border, all other parts of the banner were modified with the Stylize Wind Filter (setting: wind, left to right). Porygon-Z was also given inner-shadow and beveled and embossed.
Displayed to the right is the original work of art and then beneath it is the revisitation of that piece with Lugia appearing in it. Click the images to see their enlarged versions.
A theme will likely begin to develop with any future styles I make for this website... The reason for that is because when I decided that I wanted to do a pair of styles for to commemorate HeartGold and SoulSilver I found myself going back to Katsushika Hokusai and looking for more his work that I might be able to use here. It didn't take long to find several good candidates from his catalogue. Point-in-case is that not only do I love his work but it fits really well with the website (and not just because I try to make it work). At any rate, more Hokusai!
The Tama River in Musashi Province is another work of his from the 36 views of Mount Fuji series (as stated previously, this is his most famous of collections). This piece, however, is done in complete opposition to the Great Wave off of Kanagawa and as such makes for a great reflection of the calm and peace that Lugia emanates.
As for the Lugia that's used in this style, it was done by SilverWing. She was the owner and administrator of Lugia's Island but has since stepped away from her website and left it in the hands of some of her members =/. At the time of writing much of the website isn't loading (and it hasn't been for several weeks now), including the page where she posted this Lugia. It was located in Freebies under the Art/GFx heading of the website and was allowed for use elsewhere with proper acknowledgement. I've acknowledged her also at the Site Styles page and at the Credits page.
GiaChrome felt like the easiest style to make to date and, not as a result of aforementioned ease, is also my favorite alongside Gyarados off Kanagawa. Hope others enjoy it to. It was made the default site style on August seventh to change from the long running Stars and Lucario style.
Displayed to the right is the original work of art and then beneath it is the revisitation of that piece with Ho-oh appearing in it. Click the images to see their enlarged versions.
Here the Hokusai background theme continues but this style differs in that it does not use a piece from the 36 views of Mount Fuji series; instead it uses a piece from the 100 Poems series.
The piece used here is actually referred to as Poem number 3 and it depicts what Hokusai envisioned when reading a poem by Kakinomoto no Hitomaro (who was considered a living Shinto God at the time; please note that God is actually better related in english via the word saint). The poem goes as follows:
- Ah! the foot-drawn trail
- Of the mountain-pheasant's tail
- Drooped like down-curved branch!--
- Through this long, long-dragging night
- Must I keep my couch alone?
The reason Hokusai decided to start painting what he saw when reading a poem? His actual intention was to help children understand the poems that they read by being able to connect the words with something a bit more tangible. This group of paintings, and the concept behind them, actually brings a whole new meaning to the phrase A picture is worth a thousand words, doesn't it?
Of the 100 chosen poems Katsushika was only able to complete the first 89. You can see the series (and find more about Katsushika Hokusai) by visiting this page.
As for the Ho-oh used in the foreground, it was originally used in a flash intro for HGSS found on the official Japanese Pokémon website.
Of all of the styles that I have made this style was extremely difficult to bring together fluidly. It is second only to Vile Stacks in that department. That said, its in the running for being one of my favorites, though it easily trails Gyarados of Kanagawa and GiaChrome.
Blaine the Riddler came about as a game that would played on the YouTube channel, as concieved by the channel operators there: TopHat and Ze Colonel. TopHat brought the idea up to me and we just took the idea and ran, bringing the entire website into the mix. This style was used during the game's seven day run (from February 13th to the 20th).
TopHat designed both the banner and footer images while I actually tweaked a stylesheet to bring everything together. The style has ended up being pretty popular with many of the regulars. With both the success of the game and the style, Blaine the Riddler will surely be a site staple for sometime to come.
Success you say? Yes. The game was initially intended to be a bit of fun but there were other problems - traffic related - that I had been looking to fix and the Blaine Game was the answer to that. During its run traffic jumped not only above our highest period's - April to May 2009 - but beat it bloody. As well, we saw a slew of old veterans return which is always a good thing.
Being based on a custom background that has no artistic appeal outside of being a banner background... There is no art to display for this style.
The Son of Mew style was unfortunately paired with a bad pre-made phpBB board style, which was dark green. As such the banner, the theme Pokémon, and the forum never meshed well. As a result the style never saw much use. While the Blaine Game was going on - and all users were force switched to the Blaine style - I took the opportunity to capitalize on a poll that was held a few weeks prior where it was decided that Natu/Xatu would replace Mew/Mewtwo.
TopHat took on getting a background made for both the banner of footer images of this style and tweaked Ken Sugimori's Natu/Xatu artwork. From there it was just some minor tweaking of the stylesheet to hopefully bring the style together more cohesively and thus give it some more use.
Being based on a custom background that has no artistic appeal outside of being a banner background... There is no art to display for this style.
When the fifth generation was effectively announced, via the revelation of "Z", which we now know to mean Zoroark, I knew I had to use that Pokémon. The second of my flawed styles, Vile Stacks, was intended to be entirely replaced with just a simple banner/footer swap which would instead feature Zoroark. I ran into the same problems with Zoroark as I had with Vile Stacks, which were primarily color palette issues and getting them to work together through constraints of a website, that I had decided when introducing styles, would not be modified to deal with special cases each style had. As such Vile Stacks was a failed style, again in-part because of a bad forum style selection.
So Zoroark was clearly not going to work with that board style. I found a new board that worked with what I wanted the style to look like and ended up with something completely new. That said, it was important to me to keep some spirit of Vile Stacks alive when it loses support. So, to accomplish this, I found another of Claude Monet's Grain Stacks pieces. The one is used is much brighter as Monet had painted this grain stack during a winter morning. The white/blue contrast Zoroark's black/red perfectly, which was something I wanted to do with a style - have contrast.
If you are interested in Monet's Grain Stacks read the Vile Stacks banner story for more about them.
The custom art piece, featuring Zoroark on Monet's Grain Stacks is forthcoming...
Displayed to the right is the original work of art and then beneath it is the revisitation of that piece with Mewtwo appearing in it. Click the images to see their enlarged versions.
The banner Son of Mew is based on two different paintings. The background consists of Spanish Surrealist Salvadore Dali's work entitled The Elephants. Mewtwo's face is obscured by Belgian Surrealist, René Magritte's, The Son of Man.
Salvadore Dali's particular brand of Surrealism has perhaps made him the most widely known of all surrealists. The Elephants, c. 1948, is certainly not the most acclaimed of his works but it is done classic Dali fashion. You would likely know Dali by his piece The Persistance of Memory.
Both works feature objects which have been stretched and bent almost, but not quite, beyond recognition.
Salvadore was such an eccentric showman that his personality and antics drew as much, if not more, attention than his work. Near the end Dali's works drew more and more criticism from reviews and artists. It is thought, today, that the unpopularity and criticism Dali recieved was actually more related to politics behind where he chose to live (which had influence) rather than the actual quality of his work.
Surrealist René Magritte's most famous painting is Son of Man c. 1964. It is actually a self portait of Magritte himself. His face is deliberately obscured by an apple because, as Magritte puts it, we cannot always see what we know is there.
René's man-in-suit-with-bowler-hat characterization is recurrent throughout much of his work. He emulated Son of Man in a piece entitled The Great War on Facades which instead featured a woman, holding an umbrella, and whose face was obscured by a flower.
Magritte is also widely known for his piece The Treachery of Images which depicts a pipe. Underneath the pipe it is written "This is not a pipe." The meaning is simple, you are looking at a painting of a pipe, what is in the painting may be a pipe, but ultimately you are looking at what someone percieved, and then painted, as a pipe. If you follow...
The concept for Son of Mew came from user MikkelDemey when The GreatArt Search was conducted on our forum to get ideas for our styles. He personally manufactured the arrangement.
With that in mind this style is the deepest of them all. Consider the backstory of Mewtwo. A Pokémon, built by men who manipulated the DNA of Mew. You may have already known that but reiterating the story to point similarity is worth it. Besides, did you know that Mikkel is from same country as artist René Magritte? Probably not!
I hope you enjoyed the read as well as the art we use here!