Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Final thoughts

This semester has opened my eyes to media and techniques I had not experienced before, but will continue to utilize. The barrage of watercolors in the beginning was my first real experience with the media, and with them I was able to loosen up my control freak tendencies a little bit. I'm still working on that. Above is one of my more successful pieces out of the 50.
I realize now that the line work/watercolor pieces were some of my favorites, but I didn't really explore that technique past the memory portrait, which also turned out well.
I know it's not your favorite piece, but the large-scale water color was really fun for me, and I think it was the first vehicle picture I've ever been happy with.
Gouache, particularly with a gesso/matte medium under-layer, was a challenge, but I really enjoyed learning with the first project. Though I struggled with gouache throughout the semester, I am pretty happy with my final attempt (The Scarlet Letter). The marks became more confident, and I tried to let the paint do interesting things outside of my control.
A change of pace came with the DMV comic, which required clean line work (something I am not any too practiced at) and Photoshop skills. I learned a lot about the proper way to separate line work from background in Photoshop, but I'm still wondering about the "easier" way that you mentioned... Anyhow, it was a fun project.
The gouache montage(s) (the second and more successful of which is above) were good for experimenting with textures and pick-out. I tried different methods for the fish fins and sky in each. The second try proved to be a good idea, I'll admit it.
The conversation illustration was a good opportunity to introduce narrative/concept, and more practice in clean line work. I like my characters, but I'm not fond of it overall, because it's a good example of how I am afraid of pigment.

The Missouri postcard and the sound illustration (pictured, because I don't want to look at them) are not things I like to talk about either, because I lost any confidence I had gained with gouache and water color at that point in the semester. I think it was all the airbrushing.
Speaking of airbrush, Snow White was a pleasant surprise when I removed all of the frisket. I think the 2 fruits did help. That piece taught me control with air flow and helped me figure out the balance between having enough pigment and overdoing it. Also, patience. I don't know how many times I had to go over and over and over some of the more saturated areas and wait for them to dry so that I wouldn't have color leaking underneath the frisket.
The Guinness poster was fun, even though I didn't at first agree with anyone on which idea to develop. I used watercolor on uncoated paper, which I hadn't done in a while, and I think you can tell I was out of practice in the skin areas... But, I did enjoy the experimentation with texture on the corset. Also, I think the plan for the text (and the mayo idea) turned out pretty well. This was a good practice of planning an illustration around information.
Again, I didn't agree with everyone on which idea to develop (that seems to be a trend with me), but I'm glad I pursued this one. I think this was my most successful use of non-local color so far, even though she maybe looks kind of like a zombie. Also, I think I kept structure while letting the paint do a lot of its own thing. It was a good project to end with.

Altogether, I did develop some useful skills over the semester, but I still have a long way to go to get comfortable and confident with the media. I also realize that my color comps were never quite like the finished product (and also in colored pencil, not marker, ok), so I should get more decisive with those. But for learning mostly new media to me, I feel pretty good about the body of work, and I'm excited to do more of it in the future, assignment based, and for fun. I might even be a carnie with my airbrush skills, who knows.

book cover design

Here it is, the title and byline are pretty simple additions. I wanted to use serif font to echo the "A" on her back, and "Scarlet" has only a slight rose tint, so as not to fight with the illustration or blend into the background. I think the plan to make room for the title and byline beside the neck and waist worked out pretty well, but I wish there were more room to make the title a bit bigger.

book cover llustration

This is the final illustration for my Scarlet Letter book cover. I used gouache over a gesso/matte medium layer and practiced freeing up my hand, which I had forgotten to do as of late. Most of the figure is a mixture of pick-out technique and loose, watery brush strokes. I also tried to incorporate non-local color without making her look like a zombie. I added more pink to avoid that. The background was a lot of letting the medium do its own thing, which I enjoyed. Thought I originally wanted the "A" to be a bit tighter, I think the loose, slightly inconsistent texture of it fits in with the rest of the piece. Next: the cover design.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Scarlet Letter color comps

My personal favorite is sadly not very popular; I think the eyes creep people out too much. So I'm giving up on it and developing the A-back comp.

The entire class likes this one, so here we go. I think I'll be addressing the bonnet with more detail and perhaps adding a little more blue to the shading, to contrast the A. I'll have a lot of fun with the background, I think. I plan on doing a gouache/water color combination. I need to learn how to address large portions of skin better, so this will be a good opportunity. The title will probably go in the top left, and the author's name in the bottom right? We'll see about that...

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Oops...I forgot to post the Guinness poster...

Here she is, all painted and InDesigned up. I had quite a bit of trouble printing the yellow background and getting the whites white. I also couldn't really get her skin the way I painted it. I'm pretty happy with the layout, it went just as planned. With this project I learned a little bit more about adjusting colors for printing and planning an illustration in preparation for adding text.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Scarlet Letter exploration

Here's a rough little InDesign comp of my favorite concept from the sketches. A bit more dynamic than the straight-on I had. I think this one is just intriguing enough to convince me to do 2 color comps--one for A-face and one for A-back. If I end up developing this one further, I'm not sure if I'll be illustrating the "A" or adding it in InDesign.

book cover illustration

I did 5 sketches for The Scarlet Letter and then thought of one for Pride and Prejudice. Out of everything, I was most happy with the idea for the top left and the second row, because they have stronger concepts. The top left is a metaphor for how people view the main character through the fact that she is an adulteress, they view her through the "A". It also shows multiple main characters, instead of just Hester. Second row left is the most personal, emotional and striking. Second row right is the strongest concept in my opinion--we can't see her whole face because all people see when they look at her is the "A" on her chest, they don't look through it to know her past her sin. The reviews from my classmates are overwhelmingly in favor of the big "A" on the back sketch (2nd row left), as you can see by the 13 tally marks. I would still like to look into illustrating the A-face one, but I'll probably end up doing the A-back instead. I suppose the A on the back allows for more depth than the solid A over the face would. We shall see.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Sound color comp #2

The top image is my second try at the color comp, I brought in the old one for comparison. I like the over all composition better because I played with angles in this one. The change in colors was pretty successful, I think, but I did get a complaint or two on the orange. I agree, orange doesn't really characterize the sound of whistling. I think I'll change it too a cooler color, probably teal, and all of the colors will be a bit more saturated in the final. The girl was generally better-liked this time (I think it's the freckles and the slight smile), but a few people said something about her wasn't right. I think it's in the neck/jaw area. The bird and hand were much better this time too, the placement was a little awkward in the last comp.
When I go at this with water color, I plan on making a lot of expressive marks in the background and waves.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Cheesy final

Well, Snow White looks better than I thought she would. It took me probably around 10 hours from start to finish (spread out over 2 days). I learned a lot more about controlling the flow of the paint and being extremely careful. I also experimented a lot with holding a paper perpendicular to the board and spraying on the paper to get a kind of feathered but clean line, like with the indents in her sleeve, and her eyelids.. It took a whole lot of strategy to decide which areas to paint in what order. I also had to go over a couple of areas with gouache afterward, like a few hairlines where there was misalignment, the lines between her fingers, and the specks of white above the apple. I am happiest with her sleeve and bow, and I like the background better than the one in the picture I worked from. I would have liked for her nose to turn out a little better (it isn't turned up enough). Also, I'm not all that happy with the highlights in her hair.

Sound pencil and color comps

Looks like I'll be recomping. I wanted to make the sound "waves" look kind of psychedelic, but I think I might have gone too far with the colors. Next time, I'll be minimizing the number of colors I use, to create more unity between the girl and the bird sounds. I like the yellow, blue, orange and salmon the best. The bird needs to stand out more, and probably be either more outside of the sound waves or completely inside of them (probably the latter). It's official, nobody likes the black background (I think I'll try brown instead), and the waves need to be more saturated. I think I'll make the girl happier and more inside the frame while I'm at it... and I don't think her hand is in proportion with her face either. Shoot, I might as well try a different orientation while I'm doing everything else. But everyone seemed to like the concept.

This is my pencil comp, I decided to make the guy a girl, I don't know why, just seemed more appropriate. I like how the bottom left kind if mimics a bird tail. I think I'll incorporate that more in the next color comp.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Sound Illustration: pencil comps

Ok, so a lot of people liked the pencil, but it really doesn't have personality, so too bad. Somebody had the exact same idea for the cracking knuckles, so that's out. Rusty likes the crunching leaf. I am undecided among the crunching leaf, the gum chewer with a spit string, the guy sliding down a glass door, and the whistlers. I am kind of fond of the mood in the whistle comp. I think I could do a lot with color in the expressive shapes. The gum chewer might gross me out after a while (pet peeve), that's not one I'll want to hang up afterward, but I think the braces and spit string are funny... The glass door guy could be interesting, I wonder how I would really make it clear that he is sliding down, not just hitting it, without the directional lines. I like the perspective on the crunching leaf, and I could play with going in and out of focus on that one. To narrow it down, I think it's between the leaf crunch and the whistlers. Decisions, decisions.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

MO post card color comp

This is me trying to be funny, I think it might have worked this time! Unfortunately I had a misunderstanding about text, and now I won't need to make any extra space on the right for "Welcome to Missouri." I think the cheesy text added, but it'll be okay. I think I will be using gouache for this one. For the painting, the colors will be more vivid, and there will be darker tones. I am happy with the sunset colors, though. I think I will also make the tractor just a tad bigger. 

Airbrush fruit, take 2

This is my mango with water droplets. I am glad I tried the water droplets, but I don't think they are the greatest. They are  not quite matched up with the surface where they should be, and the drop shadows are a bit much, so most of them look like they are floating.

My process: I cut out each color  area separately in my mask, including all of the water droplets. I started with the skin of the fruit, put the mask back on and worked with the droplets on the skin, moved up to the stem, then covered everything and worked on the inside of the fruit. The last thing I did was the droplet on the inside.

I am happiest with the overall tone and texture of the skin of the fruit. I am least satisfied with the droplets and the ink runs between the skin and the inside.

Monday, November 9, 2009

MO Post Card

Dear goodness, look what I've gotten myself into. So, I wanted to be humorous, because let's face it, Missouri is full of hicks (I am from Hicktown, so I'm allowed to make fun of it). I prefer the ones with a trailer and a flamingo, but it looks like I am developing the cars behind a tractor. The other ones were demonstrating the big city/small town contrast so evident in Missouri, but that's not very interesting, and funny always wins. So, for the tractor post card, I am going to reverse the view. Now we will have a front view of the tractor with a bunch of cars behind it. I like the idea of the sunset, because it is a stereotypical cheesy post card thing, and I think it will be a good contrast to the unexpected. I will also be using a cheesy script font for "Welcome to Missouri". I know how much you like those, Rusty. I am scared of this project now, because I am no good at drawing cars. I guess I'll have to learn something, dang it.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Airbrush Plum

Ok, it's not the worst, but it's certainly not great. I am still having problems not getting the bleeding effect on the edges of the mask, I think that is definitely a product of impatience in letting the ink dry. I tried masking areas off and making the fruit look realistic at the same time, and neither one really worked. I should have either masked less or tried to give the fruit a more graphic look. I learned that when I use a mask for a smooth area and then try to blend, it is almost impossible to have a smooth transition, and to not get really dark edges, which is why the entire plum ended up a bit too dark. I do kind of like the shadow though. And I think the color was right on. But I had to use white paint to bring out the highlight after tried to blend the edges of my highlights and getting them too dark. AND, obviously, I cut too hard through the frisket and got into the illustration board, which caused tiny whitish trenches to run though the whole thing. The next fruit will be better.


I think Snow White will be challenging, but it's a pretty appropriate style for airbrush. This is gonna take forever... I tried to use colored pencil the way I would use airbrush, but that proved to be a difficult task in itself. What I'll try to do is mask each separate area of one overall color (skin, apple, blue dress, red dress), and work out details within those areas by being very precise with the airbrush. Yikes, I haven't mastered that yet, but I'm getting better. In my next post, you'll see how I went at airbrushing in a completely different way (too much masking) and kind of flopped. So a new approach it is.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Conversation final

It is about time. This is a water color with ink outlines for the cartoon feel. The final product could be more saturated, at least have a few more areas of intense color, but I think the story definitely comes across, and the characters' faces are pretty successful. Also, the colors became even more muted when I uploaded the file... bummer. With this I learned about working with water color in a less painterly fashion in order to get a unique cartoon effect. I'm obviously still learning. On to the cheese-fest!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Guinness Color Comp

Here she is, all colored up. I like the colors I chose; the dark plum emphasizes the shape of the figure, and the yellow background matches the mayonnaise jar. I do want to intensify the skin color just a bit. The only thing I'm not completely sure about is whether or not I'm going to have text on the mayonnaise jar. I'm leaning toward no, because there will be text in the final product that will explain the image. On to the final... after I do some other stuff...

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Guinness Poster

Here are some developments for the "smallest waist" poster. Different ways to incorporate the mayo. I liked the hand position on the third one, because you can see both sides of the may jar, where the waist shrinks behind. I liked the overall composition of the first one, because I like the mystery of not seeing the face (also, I feel less like I am bound to drawing the actual keeper of the title, who is a little frightening to look at. I aim to make the subject more pleasing to the eye, but with one very disturbing trait. The hybrid of the two is below.

This is the tight pencil comp. I was going for a good way to combine the mayo image with the figure, without making things complicated or unclear, and with enough space for a headline and a short paragraph for informational/promotional purposes. The tag line is: Hold the Mayo, I'm watching my figure. I think I'll keep that. However, I might stack "Hold the Mayo" to fill up space, but I like how it fills the space where a normal waist would be. I'll try it both ways.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Montage comparison

Here's my first gouache montage for comparison, below is the second.

For the most part, I think there is some improvement. I especially like the gold fish. I changed my method completely for him, going from a mostly additive to a mostly subtractive technique, especially with the scales. I also really prefer these fins to the previous ones, they have more contras and detail, more believable I think. The tree is more intense and colorful, which I think is a good thing, but it could be a little less flat. I like how the guy's face is lighter, but I think I should have added more of the facial hair present in the first one. His arms might also be a bit to light, but his hands are more readable. I tried some different water color-like textures in the water/sky, and I like them. I also think I could have added more teal accents to the fish and the guy.

World Record sketches

I couldn't decide on one record, so I sketched for 4: stretchiest skin, loudest burp, oldest married couple, and smallest waist. Personally, I prefer the flying squirrel guy for stretchiest skin out of everything. I also liked the cane/heart idea. But... I made the mistake of drawing everything on the same page and showing the client everything, and the client chose smallest waist. I also mentioned that her waist was said to be about the size of a jar of mayonnaise... which leads me to my next set of drawings. I will be using a jar of mayonnaise with the image of the small-waisted woman together. This might not make complete sense to the viewers at first, because they won't know the story behind it, but I will address it in the poster. If anything, any initial confusion would draw someone closer to the poster to find an explanation.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Conversation Color Comp

The color comp has been approved, except for the yellow shirt, which kind of blends into the background. I'm probably going to add some magenta to it to make it pop. I wanted to keep the color palette limited, so that it wouldn't get messy and more crazy-looking than it already looks, because there are so many patterns going on. My favorite parts are the lava lamp and the characters' faces. Next step: water color 10X10.

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Conversation

Here's my final conversation sketch before the color comp. I got several good comments about the characters and their expressions, so I'll keep them pretty close to what they are in the comp. Although, I think the happy one looks a bit too much like Ray Romano. Can't decide if I want to keep the little flowers in the peace sign... I'm thinking maybe I'll make it hollow and give it a shadow on the wall, so it's a little less flat. I think my favorite part is how the unhappy character is slumped over. Ray Romano though, his arm (the one around his sad friend) needs some work. But I'm "feeling the love", think I'm ready to move on to the color comp with a couple of minor adjustments.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Midterm Portfolio

This brings back fond memories of the beginnings of water color. This was the first of the landscapes, I believe, when I started to loosen up a little. This one probably took around 20 minutes (my goal was 10). As opposed to the previous water colors I had done, this had more confident strokes, and I let the paint have more freedom. I like this one because I was able to convey detail without going in with a tiny brush. I also like the pairing of the jagged tree contours and the soft background. I was in the middle of learning how to get saturated, dark tones with relatively thin paint.

If I were to go back and paint this one again, I would get even bolder with my colors and dark tones, eliminate the awkward, dark horizontal stroke at the bottom, and get just a bit more detailed with the grass.

Photo realism was fun, but it was a little rough going from the new found freedom with water color, back to such a tight method. It was pretty close to my comfort zone though, as I often like to try to be a copying machine more so than the interpretive artist. I learned how to successfully tighten up water color with this piece.

To improve this one, I would probably make the water droplets a tad more contrasty, and I might make the bottom of the bottle more blue than green, but I am pleased with it over all.

This is a memory portrait of my dad, developed from two sets of sketches. I chose to use green accents because of the depth and intrigue they create, and because I could take as much artistic license as I wanted with this piece. I also tried out scribbly line as value, which I haven't done much at all in the past. I still tried to be directional with the line work. I think it turned out pretty well, and it works to create more of a wrinkled face texture. First, I did a gesso/matte/water layer, then the line drawing, then water color. Though I chose one particular sketch to follow through on with style, I referenced all of my sketches to choose the features that would best represent my dad.

To improve this painting, I would eliminate a lot of the outer contour lines, it looks a bit cartoony for what I was going for. Also, I would have liked to have pushed the colors a little further, making it more dramatic and stylized. I also would have been more intentional about what happened in the outer edges, where I laid down less primer and the paint stuck better.

Here is my final DMV comic, scanned in and colored with Photoshop. I learned to complete my drawing lines before scanning, because selecting an area becomes difficult when shapes are incomplete. I enjoyed figuring out how to color it, and I got inventive in coloring the highlights in their hair. I generally just did 2 colors (a medium tone and a shadow) for each area, but I used a third for hair highlights. I used gradients to create depth. The characters are fun, I think, but I would make them more exaggerated if I did this project again. Also, my favorite character would not be the second character in line... I might also make the characters in the background a darker gray.

This is the gouache 3-image montage. With this painting I used my feather brush for the first time, on the tree. I think it turned out well. I also enjoyed making water drop marks in the sky/water areas. I thought the goldfish turned out pretty well, but I think he could be more vibrant, he should have some turquoise accents, and his eye could be better. I am fairly happy with the person, but the arms should have more detail and darker tones, and the neck is so dark that there is hardly any information in the shadows. I also want more turquoise in the arms. The painting is actually very close to the marker comp. In printing the final, I learned more about how printers don't print what you have on the screen. I had Photoshopped the scan to where it looked almost identical on screen, but the print was too dark, contrasty and magenta. It should be better next time, but overall, I'm happy with it.

3 image gouache montage final

Here it is, the final. Finally. Except now we have to do another final... But anyhow, with this painting I finally used my feather brush for the first time, on the tree. I think it turned out well. I also enjoyed making water drop marks in the sky/water areas. I thought the goldfish turned out pretty well, but I suppose he could be significantly better, maybe more detail, his eye isn't the greatest. He should also have a few turquoise accents. I am happy with the majority of the screaming person, but the arms should have more detail and darker tones, and the neck is so dark that there is hardly any information in the shadows. I also want more turquoise in the arms. The painting is actually very close to the marker comp. In printing the final, I learned more about how printers don't like to print what you have on the screen. I had Photoshopped the scan to where it looked almost identical on screen (this particular image does), but the print was too dark, contrasty and magenta. I guess it'll be better next time, but overall, I'm happy with the illustration itself.

Monday, October 12, 2009

yay research!

So I've decided to go with a cartoon style for my conversation illustration. I'm doing some research on facial expressions, because I want this one to be more stylized and expressive than my last cartoon.

I love the Ren & Stimpy sketches, because Ren is so expressive, his face just twists all over the place, and Stimpy can say several different things with just slight adjustments. Also, this joyful/sad pairing is kind of what I'm going for in my cartoon.

Very confident drawings, I think I will refer to the "shocked" and gleeful expressions for my drawing.

Good line work and fun exaggerated features.

I like the last face on this one for my horrified character, it's a pretty cool study I think.

This guy has the general look I want to go for in drawing my college age guy characters. I like the big nose.

Another good study of how you can say different things with slight variations. I like "Twitterpated" personally.