Thursday, February 25, 2010

An Adventure in American Illustrator 28

And so it began. I was in a rut after a prolonged stint in the purgatory of artist block and a self imposed emotional coma. Then Valentines Day came around, though I have never been a fan, something spectacular happened. I had called up my close friend on a matter that had happened the day before which concerned me, and she told me about the American Illustrators 28 and so this began....

This began with choosing a piece I had done during my college days in Joo Chung's Class. This was something I had liked and and since I was strapped for time and being that the concept was quite good I decided to do a Redux. (Which, Btw I had planned on doing all along.)

I took the main concepts and how I executed them on the piece Prior, and worked a ruff sketch of ideas. I started with "dirtying" the Paper and picking a color I thought worked for the mood. I went over the pencils line with Conti and free handed parts to give it a more organic free flowing feel.

I then inked the piece darkening parts with washes and pastels. I took pen nibs and small paint brushes to flesh out some detail lines and particular parts. For example details like the creases in the skeletal figure and the female figure's Hair.

I then added more washes and chose to include red and yellow to add contrast and a color pattern for the eye to follow around the painting. I painted the background white to give the line work and colors a better back drop, also giving the figures a different tone from the rest of the background.

As with the main concept in original work, the main focus was the small girl in the foreground. So, I took velum made a circle to give me a rough estimate of the size I wanted her to be and drew within the parameters. I then used an old method of retracing and shaded the back of the velum with conti and retraced the drawing over the "BG" figures. Using a lot of references to get the proper pose and facial expression for the figure.

Prior, I had gone over the "BG" with gesso mixed heavily with water to give it a layered affect. I was hesitant to do so, because the piece had become "Precious" to me. Forcing myself was the hardest part. I added an apple in her hand to correlate with the other female figure, later to be used as a color pattern. I tried to save the under piece by "washing" the gesso of painted parts, but ended up wiping away the detail I had done and tried to save.

I decided to "trace" the "rips" caused by my attempt at saving the details to emphasize the layer affect and to differentiate the important aspects of the "BG" figures. I liked the affect so I decided to retrace the main lines and give the traces an actual rip look with the brush strokes. Afterwards I gave the main figure a thick black out line to further emphasize her importance in the piece as well as stay true to the original concept.

Feeling a lack of definition I added more black and decided to paint the Crane white instead of keeping it's color to the background paint. Noticing after a while that the right side was to "heavier" I painted the teeth of the wolf white as well forgoing the yellow concept altogether.

After more hours of thought I came the conclusion to go with White and red and tracing over my originally black line work with white for some of the background figures to give it a more pop look in contrast to the dark washed background paint. I then took great care in adding the "Anxiety" lines which were a main part of the original concept being sure to keep them away from the parts of the piece that weren't "ripped". I did my best effort to color the BG figures in a flat manner and painting the Girl with more detail and depth. The reason being was to differentiate the two as different planes.

Finally I darkened the figure and minor details throughout the piece, whilst lightening some parts to give it some push and pull.

I am quite happy with how it turned out and enjoyed the learning process. In total the entire adventure took about 2 weeks to complete, on and off on a every other day basis. Estimated total time might have been between 24 and 30 hours of actually working give or take an hour or two for conceptualizing and reference hunting. Now that I completed it I can start on other personal projects knowing I was able to finish one well thought through Piece on my own.

The End.