Key points from the brief:
- A magazine wants an illustration on one of the following topics: Lost - Disaster - Discovery - Guilty secret
- They want an illustration based on a still life. You have the freedom to select the items for the still life and are given creative free rein. The rest of the content, the method you use to produce it and the colours you use are all for you to decide.
- Working at a maximum A3 size, produce a well-observed, objective drawing of your set up.
- Consider the materials to use and do thumbnail alternative compositions to explore variations and formats.
- Either trace, scan or photocopy this drawing and then do a tonal version of it.
- Create a line visual that should communicate clearly the final artwork. Take this visual through to final artwork.
The creative process
To start, I wrote down the key points of the brief in my sketchbook and started thinking about the topics (words) I could choose from. I considered that just one word didn't give me enough information, and since it should be an illustration for a magazine, I decided to search for news or article's headings containing this words because if I'd be face with this type of project I'd ask my client to give me at least this information.
After some thinking, I narrowed down the topics to "lost" and "disaster", and finally went for the word "lost". The heading I found to be more inspirational and relevant in relation to the topic was: "A lost generation: surge of research reveals students sliding backward, most vulnerable worst affected." The Washington Post. Dec., 6 2020.
After having chosen my topic, I went through some magazines and newspaper looking for editorial. illustrations to serve as example and inspiration.
With this heading in mind and having seen some examples of editorial illustration from real life, I felt ready to start brainstorming and thinking about the objects I'd include in my still file.
Later on the process, after I thought about the first sets of possible combinations for the still life, I started to question other things like angles and cropping. I also thought about more creatives surfaces to set my still-life on, than just a table, which was my first though.
In this part of the process I came up with ideas I really liked, for example using a bed, couch or the floor as the setting for my still-life. I finally decided to use the floor to set up my still-life since I thought it relates better to the title of my article: "A lost generation".
I went to my living room, arranged the objects and took pictures with my instant camera. I considered taking my pictures from different angles and cropings. After that I created some quick thumbnails based on the pictures.
After choosing my favorite thumbnail, I carried on to produce the tonal version and then on to develop a possible color palette and a quick color trial. I also tried how to create different textures since this is an element that I definetly want to incorporate to my work.
From visual to final artwork
Personally, this is always the most difficult part of the process since I'm still not confident about the best way to render my images. So fas I've tried a range of different techniques and material but I haven't really mastered any. I find very challenging the amount of possibilities wether working analog or digital.
Mostly, I've enjoyed working analog with dry media like pencil color, oil pastels or markers or all together. However, I highly appreciate the versatility of working digitally where errors aren't as permanent as with the analog techniques. The question of what I like better or how can I combine both things, is one that I haven't definetly answer.
For this assignment, I first atemp to create a final piece made with an analog technique mixing watercolors, pencil colors and other; plus the use of Photoshop only to clean the piece. I wasn't happy with the finla result but it was probably because the paper i used wasn't good enough to hold the wet medium. I should have probably made another attemp, correcting this, but instead I moved to a more digital atempt.
Finally, I decided o use my sketch only as a guideline in order to color my whole illustration in Photoshop. So this time the process was 20% analog and 80% digital, the other way around from the first version.
I'm happier wth the result because to me it looks more polished and professional but I still would want to find a way to produce something that looks neat but still hand made and less digital. I'm pleased with the color palette and overall I think that Part 4 of the course was very useful to me.
I'm Astrid Badell-Suhr, designer and illustrator, specialist in communication