Sunday, June 12, 2011
Meet my new favorite drawing!
A while back I was contacted about contributing to 1200 posters--a project about community that features a new artist & poster each month, using quotes from Margaret Wheatley's "Turning to One Another".
I haven't had a chance to do a poster in a loooong time, and Robyn Ng & Greg Kozatek, my art directors, were pretty open to whatever idea I wanted to draw. (woohoo!)
The poster is limited to an edition of 100, only $25 each, and you can read more/buy/check out the other posters here! In my artist statement there I talk a little about the importance of the illustration community (which includes you guys!) & some of the ideas behind my poster.
If you are interested in hearing me ramble more about process, read on!
The quote I was given:
"Invite everyone who cares to work on what's possible"
This put me in mind of intrepid adventurers, and since the theme was so open I ended up deciding to try and combine a lot of the stuff I love into one image:
*Secret, hidden places
*Trees, plants, moss
*Birds, why not
My brain-funnel turned these things into an idea for a floating island/garden. Anytime I think of floating islands I think of Laputa (which is fine with me since Miyazaki is a god) but I figured that since the comparison would likely be drawn I definitely wanted to make this MY island with my spin on it.
The corresponding sketches:
Also, in a fit of worry that my floating island didn't fit the theme well enough & people wouldn't want to buy a poster of a sky rock, I did some sketches for a pretty girl poster too:
BUT Robyn & Greg liked the island and suggested that the type be integrated more and that the island look more like a nest that a bunch of people (and birds!) have built. So, we came to these options:
The sketch that was decided on takes some elements from each-- type in the background fields, thatching around some areas of the island, and some more homey touches like a clothesline, windows, etc.
From there I tried to work out a color sketch, which is probably one of the most important stages for me. Because I don't render out a lot of things in my work, I feel like I have to get the colors JUST RIGHT or else the image won't stand up. Also, since I work entirely digitally, once I get the color sketch right the rest of the work for me is just refining/polishing/redrawing straight in the color sketch until final.
This poster taught me that green is a heckuva difficult color to use well, and there's a reason why I don't often use it! Just a real pain. At least it feels damn good when you finally figure out a usable solution. Here's the general progression of the color that took me several embarrassing days to puzzle out:
I got pretty frustrated along the way and ended up looking at examples of other people using green well, then I extrapolated for my own purposes. I use reference for my drawings all the time, it makes sense to use color reference too.
As difficult as it was figuring out how to put a green island on top of green fields in the background, I was really happy to be drawing those background fields. They remind me of my family, some of whom used to be or still are farmers in Illinois. Another something I love in a poster full of things I love!
Anyway, here's a shot of the piece when it was aaalmost done. You can see there's some areas yet to be completed-- upper right, floating rocks, roots, text, etc. With this piece I did a lot of skipping around to ensure everything was worked up around the same speed:
The final is up at the top. Here's some closeups:
WHEW. While working on this, I realized that I need to work on drawing interesting characters, I don't feel as inspired drawing people anymore. Maybe it's like when every 7 years your body's cells totally renew and your tastebuds change? I've switched over to only wanting to draw backgrounds. Weird.
Thanks for reading, pals!!