An Illustrated Guide to the World’s Creation Myths
Each culture has its own version of how the universe began. Artist Noah MacMillan brings this “visual vocabulary” to life
- By Leah Binkovitz
- Smithsonian magazine, February 2013
The world's creation stories have a colorful cast. Artist Noah MacMillan set out to capture nine such tales, from the Aztecs to the Inuit. "They almost always have the same prompt: How do you explain the sun and the moon?" says MacMillan, who researched traditional art and clothing to imbue his work with each culture's distinct "visual vocabulary." He used a combination of hand drawn and digital color processes, focusing on "how people responded to their direct environment" to tell their story.
The watercolor above is an East African myth: Juok the Creator (shown twice) molding Egyptians from reddish brown clay and Southern Sudanese from the black earth. MacMillan says this image came faster than any of the others, "I literally did the entire thing in an hour and a half, just at home with no prior planning or sketching."