Thursday, 14 June 2012

Exercise 2 - Getting the Gist

The brief was to pick an editorial – then highlight the key words which convey the article.
I flicked through some magazines and narrowed it down to two. I’d like to try the other at a later stage. The one I decided on was from a Sainsburys magazine article with the columnist making the point that she’d prefer to forsake doing DIY / updates on the house and go on summer holiday. I highlighted the key words in red.
I developed a number of ideas in my sketch book as very rough thumbnails.
Ideas and thoughts on each included :
Image of house showing decay with family heading off on holiday – could be very busy illustration – how to get all that across in a sketch – would it be suitable for small one page editorial
Images of holiday items – passport, luggage, hat, sunglasses etc – how to connect items
Image of woman all decked out in holiday clothes
House keys
At this stage I must admit I can have ideas but I find it difficult to think of what style of illustration to adopt – more abstract ? or attempt some graphics?
After far too much thinking as usual, I found an image of a Volkswagen car which I sketched. I then added some colour, the impression of characters in the backseat and some holiday style luggage on the roof etc. I’m not entirely sure how successful the sketch was although it is clear what the image is of. I really doubted my drawing abilities and if anything I know I really want to try develop/ learn more about the accuracies of how to do a good illustration based on life. However, I realise its not always important for the image to be technically accurate with correct proportions etc so I left it there for now.
combining sketched images in photoshop
I also did some rough sketches of a woman kitted out with holiday gear / in holiday attire. Again, I debated how detailed the drawings should be but ended up doing a sort of fashion like sketch. These were a bit more successful and I later added some colour with watercolours and then highlighted areas with black fineliner.
I also did some sketches of holiday items and had the idea to draw a house key with the house being the keyring.
I really want to explore what I can achieve with my illustrations by digital alterations and have done some experimentation with this in the past. However, I only have Photoshop elements at the moment but intend to purchase the full creative suite in the next few months.
original sketchbook image
I played about taking out and adding backgrounds and combined the lady image with the car in the background – experimenting with gradients as backgrounds.
I also combined some of the holiday objects and keys to try make a suitable composition.
At the moment I’m really looking at illustration everywhere and came across a magazine editorial by Kavel Rafferty which had some sketchy images which looked as if they had been created using some Photoshop filters.
I went back to my lady/ car image and added a polarisation filter and quite liked the effect. There’s quite a lot of colour in the image and a more restricted colour palate might refine the image slightly.
I’m very aware I could spend a lot longer developing this and considering alternatives but for now I think that either one of these images would work reasonable well for the editorial.

Article with image inserted
Learning points
-          I want to work on my drawing techniques and develop a range of different styles – trying loosening up my work.
-          I need to make decisions and explore the options rather than having too many ideas
-          I want to explore the effects that can be created with photoshop/ digital alterations
-          I need to work on drawing things which aren’t in front of me and work on composition of my ideas into final pieces
-          I want to look at and experiment with different colour ways/ palettes rather than just pick colours at random.

Monday, 4 June 2012

Exercise 1 – The History of Illustration

From the list of illustrators to choose from, I did a quick internet search and looked at examples of each of their works. I must admit I wasn’t familiar with a lot of them and the one I was immediately drawn to was E H Shepard – perhaps because one of the earliest books I received was from my Aunt Elizabeth – “Winnie the Pooh”. She had hand written in the cover, words to the effect – well at least she can look at the pictures – (it was a gift for one of my first birthdays). I still have the book and before now hadn’t really researched the illustrators work.

Ernest Shepard was born the son of an architect in London in 1879. Encouraged by this father he attended art school earning a scholarship to the Royal Academy School. Here he met his wife Florence.

By 1906 Shepard had become a successful illustrator, having produced work for illustrated editions of Aesop's Fables, David Copperfield, and Tom Brown's Schooldays. At the time the premier showcase in Britain for sketch work was Punch magazine and in 1907 Ernest began to get his work accepted.
With the start of the First World War Ernest enlisted in the Army later becoming a Major. During these years, he sent jokes about the battles to Punch and after his return, he joined the Punch team on a full time basis. He was hired as a regular staff cartoonist in 1921 and became lead cartoonist in 1945 but was removed from this post by Malcolm Muggeridge, who became editor in 1953. It was at Punch he met E.V Lucas who introduced him to Alan Milne.
Initially, Milne thought Shepard's style was not what he wanted, but used him to illustrate his book of poems When We Were Very Young. Happy with the results, Milne insisted Shepard illustrate Winnie-the-Pooh. Realising his illustrator's contribution to the book's success, Milne arranged for Shepard to receive a share of his royalties.
Eventually, Shepard grew to resent "that silly old bear" and felt that these illustrations overshadowed his other work. Shepard modelled Pooh not on the toy owned by Christopher Robin, Milne's son, but on "Growler", a stuffed bear owned by his own son. His Pooh work is so famous that 300 of his preliminary sketches were exhibited at the Victoria and Albert Museum in 1969, when he was 90 years old.

Throughout the rest of his career Shepard illustrated books for many leading authors of the period, including several for Kenneth Grahame. Shepard was in fact the fourth illustrator to draw the characters for 'Wind in the Willows,' but the only one who managed to capture the essence of the animals that Grahame had in mind. He remained busy as an illustrator his whole life and even managed to write two children's books of his own in his mid-eighties. These were titled 'Ben and Brook' (1966) and 'Betsy and Joe' (1967). Though the books didn't gain much popularity, their publication gave Shepard great pleasure. Shepard also colored his original line drawings for new editions of 'Winnie the Pooh' (1973) and 'The House at Pooh Corner' (1974). 'The Pooh Story Book', released in 1976, contained new line and color pictures by Shepard.
An E.H. Shepard painting of Winnie the Pooh is the only known oil painting of the famous teddy bear. It was purchased at an auction for $285,000 in London late in 2000. The painting is displayed at the Pavilion Gallery in Assiniboine Park, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.

Did the work of the illustrator you chose seem old fashioned ?

To an extent when I looked at my original Winnie the Pooh book I loved the quaint and vintage feel of the work – I think perhaps this is because the most popular images of pooh these days are those from Disney style colourful illustrations and the simple line sketches in the book are not normally what I would think would appear in a children’s books today.

Contemporary artists
I must admit I’m not really that familiar with a lot of illustrators, something which I hope to work on during this course – although I see a lot of styles and illustrations which I like. After some research and looking at online illustration portfolios, I made a list of some illustrators’ work, which instantly appealed.

I hope to try some sketches in each of their styles at somepoint.
Christian David Moore, John Walsom, Daniel Mackie, Rob Ryan, Quentin Blake, Kavel Lafferty, Amanda Hall, Megan Hess, Raymond Briggs

I really like the style of Daniel Mackie who I found through Illustration Web online but I must admit his style and detail are somewhat daunting to me as my illustrations are a lot more – well straightforward I guess.

What is it about the work of the contemporary artist that attracted you to their work?
I was instantly attracted to the work of London based illustrator, Christian David Moore probably because his works are mainly fashion and beauty imagery, which for me having studied Fashion is something, which instantly appeals. I like to draw glamorous images of beautiful women and Christian’s work combines inks and wash, with watercolour to create fluid and provocative images. He then scans and touches up his work with Photoshop and has a very impressive client list with renowned names including Chanel, MaxFactor, Tatler and Elle magazine.

How did each artist produce their illustrations – what tools and materials did they use?
E H Shepard sketches
CDM used a selection of watercolours, ink and wash and touches up with Photoshop. E H Shepard used pen and ink and then later added colour. The work of E H Shepard is almost very nostalgic with simple lines – produced with ink sketches. The work of Christian Moore is a lot more fluid with looser lines. E H Shepard was illustrating books/ political mags whereas Christian’s work is predominately for fashion editorials.

Teddy sketch

I gathered initally some images from EH Shepard's work - mainly Winnie the Pooh and some Wind in the Willows and added to sketch and log book. I then began to do some sketches focusing on a rough outline with some shading done with the pen. I chose some characters similar to those of EH Shepard - a child, some teddies in various poses and some young children on a beach. Initially I think my sketches were too tight and had too much detail so I tried to simply and just mark the main outline of the figures to retain a classic / old fashioned feel. Later I took a few pictures of my teddies in various poses and produced some sketches which I think were more succesful. The one of the bears on the stairs I think has similar E H Shepard properties after I added colour with some light watercolours over the ink sketch.


Teddy on stairs sketch - pen ink and watercolour

I also did some illustrations in a similar style to CDM. I really like to draw fashion style illustrations myself, but feel that I have a tendency to make drawings too small/ tight and that the people can all end up looking very similar. CDM's style tends to show the key facial features focusing on dramatic eyes. He uses pen and ink with some watercolour washes which gives an almost glamourous and sensual feel to the illustrations. Selecting some women from fashion editorials I did some sketches and I was a bit happier with the end result. I scanned this to Photoshop and added some text to show how this could be used in something like a fashion feature like CDM's work.

CDM sketches and my sketches
My attempt at CDM style woman
Reflecting on the exercise it has certainly brought up a lot for me to consider. I've also been looking at illustration styles around me on a daily basis and want to explore different types of illustration - loosening up and doing more abstract work. The styles of CDM in particular is a style which particularly appeals and I like to use pen with watercolours. After the exercise I took a small sketchpad to work and in my free time did some sketches directly in pen (so that I wouldn't be tempted to rub out!) I tried to be a lot looser with my work and this is something I want to explore

Drawing people is something I really enjoy but know I want to/ need to work on ( in particular the limbs and hands!) I also find myself questioning things so much regarding getting the proportions of images accurate vs being abstract intentionally, what makes something abstract vs just being a dodgy sketch/ drawing? I guess its only early days so a lot to explore.