Recently I am drawn to drawing myths and medieval times. It is interesting that medieval imagery continues to capture the imaginations of young audiences, even as it ostensibly moves further and further into the unremembered past.
I remember liking David Macaulay's book Castle as a kid. Even still, there was always something too sanitized about it for me. I remember wondering what kinds of terrible things happened in that castle. I couldn't articulate it, but I sensed the unfairness of the townspeople's poverty, and the king's "god given" luxuries. I also think that too many children's stories focus on entirely fantastical stories about medieval times- filled with princesses, dragons and fairy godmothers. Or they take the other extreme, like Castle, which strives for a completely objective history, when any wise person knows the past is fraught, with many perspectives recorded, and many others lost to time.
Of course David Macaulay's books are fantastically executed and researched. I still admire them today. One thing Macaulay does especially well that other medieval books fail to do is to incorporate the history of architecture from other parts of the world. Many western castles borrowed knowledge from the Islamic Empire, which Macaulay notes. Macaulay even wrote and illustrated a book all about mosque architecture.
My favorite castles are the type outside of Western Europe. Many interesting old castles and forts are found in Turkey, Russia, the Middle East, and India.
I like that many historical castles outside Western Europe maintain more authentic, albeit crumbling facades. Many castles never were the perfect constructions that they are depicted as in Disney movies. I have often been struck by the irregularity of stone shapes, which is something I am trying to capture here.