Carolina Rice Plantation

After arriving in America, Sam Nightingale was sold to a rice plantation owner.  The editor opted to base the final art for this chapter on a composition sketch showing a pulled back view of such a plantation.  Knowing that these illustrations are going to be reduced quite a bit I decided to keep this one simple and let the forms and shadows do the work.  

Originally I figured a Carolina rice field should look similar to asian rice paddies, but that was not the case.  In especially brutal and deadly conditions, the slaves would carve fields out of the thick marshes of the South Carolina lowlands.  Earthen dams would be built around the fields and canals dug throughout them. When the time was right, a flood gate would open and the water would be distributed through the canals, flooding the fields evenly.  

An interesting thing learned was that the farmers knew the area was good for growing rice but they were terrible at it and relied on the knowledge of the slaves from rice growing regions to figure out how to do it right. Slaves from Guinea (such as Sam Nightingale) and other rice growing parts of africa were very valuable and highly desired because of that.