Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Thoughts on Final Illustration Portfolio Fall 2009

The most important thing that I think I learned from Illustration this semester was PROCESS. Idea - thumbnails - pencil comp - marker comp - illustration - computer. And the more work that you put into it in the earlier stages, the easier it will be later on so that you can focus more on technique and presentation.
I will admit that at the beginning of this class I was definitely the kind of person who tried to get to the actual illustration step as quickly as possible. I thought all my problems would be better solved at this point. But once I slowed myself down a bit, I realized how much time and effort I was saving myself by paying more attention to the little details in the first couple of stages of a project.
Here are eight of my projects from this semester that I feel show the widest range of skills and techniques that I have learned this year.

The first one is a 6x4.5 water color from the very beginning of the semester, but this is one of the later ones that I did with a landscape and an architectural structure. I actually did all the line work first, then went back and added the color. I like this a lot better than painting on a plain piece of paper or with just a pencil drawing. This is my best little water color because I feel like it was the first time that I let the paint do it's job. Before this point, I was fiddling with the paint and overworking it. I also really like the colors in this piece.

The second piece is a product illustration of a soda can done in gouache. The goal was to make it look "sexy". The best way to do this would be to make it look as realistic as possible like you could go up and grab it off the shelf. I feel like I was successful in making it look real and added an extra punch of sexiness by adding the reflection. I think this project showed my confidence with the material because it took a lot of patience and precision to 'pick-out' the lettering. I painted the whole can red first then went in and picked out all the red paint in the lettering and then went back over the lettering with three coats of white because the red paint stained the board pink. I really enjoyed this project.

The third piece is actually a marker comp for the Three Image Montage project. I included this to show my marker skills as well as how I apply color at this stage and transfer it to the next stage. This project is what made me realize how helpful a well done marker comp can be when you go to paint the actual project.

The fourth piece is the Three Image Montage done in gouache. Since we did this project twice, this is my second attempt. The only part that I really feel is a lot stronger in this one than in the first one is the key. It was much darker in the first one and the highlights were very weak. It also didn't have enough contrast from the kiwi skin behind it. I feel like this project shows how I am able to put together a composition even when each element is very unrelated. I used realistic colors for the most part except I made the giraffe slightly more orange and I decided to make the key have a deep blue tint to it even though the original key was dark brown.

The fifth piece is the Missouri postcard which illustrates what Missouri means to me. I chose to duplicate a picture that I took of myself riding my bike on the Katy Trail. I love riding my bike and in my hometown, Jefferson City, you can ride right along the Missouri river which is very cool. I chose to switch up the colors though because while the photo had a nice view point, the colors weren't anything exciting to talk about. So I decided to make the ground and my shadow a cool blue and my body and the bike warm colors, red, orange and yellow. I used water color for this project because I had been using a LOT of gouache lately.

The sixth piece was my Cheesy airbrush. Overall, I enjoyed airbrush a lot more than I thought I would, but MAN! it really sucks when you are trying to work with an airbrush that is not wanting to cooperate...anyways this was a fun project. I airbrushed a turtle giving the thumbs up and looks like he's from the sixties. It's a Lisa Frank design and I grew up with so much Lisa Frank stuff it's ridiculous. And nothing is quite as cheesy as this. As far as technique, I strangely feel a lot more comfortable doing things free hand than with the frisket and I like the outcome better too. I was only able to use freehand for the purple part of the shell and the green part of his head and hand. These are the areas that I feel look the best. Some of the other areas got a little messy from taking off and replacing the frisket after each color.

The seventh piece was the sound illustration. I chose to illustrate the sound of a growling stomach because my stomach is always talking...sometimes it's embarrassing, especially when it roars! Anyways, I think this project is my best example of a good, developed concept because it doesn't take the sound literally. Obviously there aren't really lions in our stomachs, but sometimes it feels that way. There was a bit of a debate over whether the lion was growling or roaring and it was suggested that I use a lion who was simply snarling. I tried this but didn't like it because I feel like the whole concept was lost. The lion just ended up looking angry. The like the lion that I chose because the focus is on the mouth and even if it does seem like it's roaring i think it works because the sound is just exaggerated that much more.

The eighth and final piece is my book illustration for To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. My original plan was much different than this and I ended up doing another set of thumbnails which was very helpful. I feel like my original ideas were either not original enough or simply too cliche. This composition works well because of the unique perspective. I chose to use watercolor because I think it has a softer look than gouache does and I wanted to reflect the softer side of this book rather than the darker side that includes all the judgment and prejudice that goes on in the book.

Final Portfolio

Book Illustration

Here is the finished book illustration for the book To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. I used watercolor and black pen. I am really happy with the way this turned out especially with the perspective. The picket fence looks a lot better than it did in my marker comp and the cracks in the sidewalk add interest. See it with type in my final portfolio!

Friday, December 4, 2009

This is my final growling stomach illustration. I'm really happy with the way this turned out, especially the lion. And I'm surprised how little trouble I had with it. But I think the reason is because I just PAINTED! Forget the pick out method...I think that's what was giving me such a hard time before. I didn't put any gesso/matte medium down so that I would prevent myself from picking out the color because otherwise I would ruin the board...seemed to work pretty well.

Book Cover Marker Comp

This is my marker comp for the To Kill A Mockingbird book cover. As far as the colors go I was trying to keep them rather muted.
I got a lot of positive feed back. The only bad comment was that the trees need work, and I agree. I also nee to work on the fence. I scared of the tiny panels of the picket fence so I made it more of a wooden panel fence but really it looks like a concrete wall...so that will need to be fixed. I'm going to add some cracks in the concrete sidewalk as well.

More Book Thumbnails

Ok, I had a new idea... I still want to use the idea of the ball of string unraveling into the shape of the mockingbird. But there was a tree on the original cover so I want to change the background to a sidewalk leading up to a house. I think it will be more interesting with a more unique point of view.