James Cameron’s drawings uncovered in an art book
Cameron created some of the most impressive images on screen, from the sinking of the ocean liner in the Titanic to Sigourney Weaver’s battle with an alien creature in aliens.
The original concepts and characters are from his early days as a young artist in Canada, as revealed in the book “Tech Noir: The Art of James Cameron,” which shows how his early ideas about movies developed.
As a young man, researchers collected Cameron’s sketches and paintings and put them together into thematic chapters. When Cameron first read the book, he was amazed.
“I think these strong thematic threads were the surprise or the revelation to me because I always thought it was all scattered,” he said.
Cameron began drawing as a child and as a young man focused on scenes based on his favorite science fiction stories and comics.
One of his first forays into the cinema was creating the fantasy world of “Xenogenesis,” a film that never saw the light of day but a pilot can be seen on YouTube.
The book shows pages with concept art from the unproduced film with many images that suspect scenes from “Terminator,” “Aliens” and “Avatar.”
“Every idea I ever had for a plant or an animal or a planet or a piece of technology or a robot or anything stopped my life for a year and a half and wrote it all down. It’s really all I was messing around with, kind of on the edge of my life,” Cameron said.
“The Terminator” was based on a dream in which he saw a robotic man emerging from flames; an entire sequence in “Aliens” was based on a nightmare and the blue Na’vi humanoids from “Avatar” originated from a dream his mother told him about.
Cameron based his fantasy designs on reality and created anatomically correct aliens, fully functional machines and aerodynamic spaceships.
“You get the feeling that what is happening is very real and very immediate. You can project your thoughts onto the screen and into the story because… what is happening looks like it might be real,” he said.