Friday, 29 March 2013

Researching other illustrators David Dean

In my feedback for Assignment 4 my tutor suggested that I look at the work of David Dean and the Barefoot  book series and suggested this might have been useful to look at in conjunction with the childrens book exercise.

However, I'm now really glad to have found these references and it was good to look at different illustration styles for children and how styles differ depending on content and the age group targeted. Likewise, as I'm trying to work on how to put an illustration together as a whole and consider how what elements I want in overall piece ( background and foreground), I've tried to look at how this can be achieved.

I'm going to keep looking at these sort of pieces in conjunction with the next exercises including packaging and working for children.

David Dean - graduated with an BA (Hons) in illustration and has been working as an illustrator ever since.
His work is very colourful and lively and has a real boldness about it. He uses acrylics for all his illustrations and I love the colour combinations in some of the pieces below (particularly the Lauren St John's). The map illustrations in particular are decorative and appealing to look at, yet communicate something about the places. They include reference to different landmarks in each of the places and the drawings of them are relatively stylised and simplistic, yet instantly recognisable as being one of the points of interest.
David has worked for a wide variety of clients including Faber & Faber, Egmont Children's Books and HarperCollins.

 The Elephant's Tale

The White Giraffe

Big School

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Exercise - Text and Image

This exercise involved firstly selecting suitable fonts to suit and portray a range of words.

I then went on to trace the fonts with different colours which I thought appropriate for their meaning. Some words were harder than others but Fun conjured up bright colours like orange and red whereas blue was appropriate for Calm.

I collected different cuttings / clippings etc which I thought portrayed the meaning of the words.

There was some overlap and I particular liked some of these Mad or Fun images from an old fashion mag which shows the model dressed in almost clown like make up and costume. Other images for Mad/ Fun included the mad hatter, bright colours, squiggly patterns
Calm - blue - sea clouds peaceful.

I then decided to try and fill a few of the words in Photoshop and selected a loose serif font for Calm with a blue pebble dash calming background. For Mad I chose a Sans-serif font with a crazy black and white chequered effect and for Fun a bold and colourful pattern.

I then trying filling freehand. Bright crayons and felt tips for the word Fun . Experimentation with pattern. Strips for fast, broken lines to try and represent Slow.

Type and fonts are really of interest to me and I enjoyed thinking about the appropriateness of font selection depending on the theme being worked on. I want to continue to experiment with handmade fonts and hope to become more confident at selecting striking and appropriate fonts for various design and illustration projects.

Travel Guides

For this exercise we had to come up with three potential visuals for travel guides for Helsinki, Milan and Istanbul and provide a final version for at least one. Other criteria were that the text should contain a handwritten element and that elements should be brought together in a diagrammatic way, but we then had to set ourselves a manageable brief.

My brief
- Provide illustrations for a set of three travel guides
- Include handwritten text 
- The guides should feature a number of elements including key landmarks within the cities
- The publisher has a preference for some elements of hand drawn illustrations as opposed to overly graphic work.
-Select colour palettes appropriate for the relevant destinations and work to an A5 travel guide size.
- Decide on appropriate illustration style 
I began in my sketchbook and created visual reference and boards for each of the cities

I then started to look at different examples of illustrated city guides and maps and consider the different ways elements can be brought together. 
I looked at work by Hennie Haworth who has worked on a variety of maps and a wall drawing for an international airport lounge. I really like how multiple elements have been brought together with unusual colour combos, handdrawn text and black and white linear buildings.

marseille with buildings 2 low res

norway b

Other illustrators I looked at were Marisa Seguin, Oliver Kugler ( really like his reportage style comic strip work maybe not for this exercise but giving me ideas for final assignment!), Anne Smith ,  Migy, and Anna Simmons . See some examples on boards below.

I also looked at current travel guides many of which seem to feature actual photographs of the destinations. 

Working from my reference boards I produced a range of drawings for each of the cities experimenting with linear style drawings and pastel work.

As I went along I was trying to be aware of colour choice and be quite selective - I wonder do illustrators in general consider every colour choice or do they sometimes just go with what they see??

My next stop was Photoshop as I worked with my selection of images to try and bring them into a cohesive diagrammatic cover. Now at this point and in hindsight I know this is where my downfall is. Although I had considered composition in my sketchbook it would have been better I think to try drawing out as a complete entity rather than bringing the composition purely together in Photoshop although that being said I think that there is definitely a need to bring elements in something like this together as I don't imagine some of the illustrators I've looked at always sit and draw all the components together esp with something like the illustration by Hemmie Hemworth but I struggled a bit to get my piece to look united.

My tutor suggested I look at the work of David Dean and I was really glad to come across his work. Without going too far off on a tangent I think his work is relevant to a no of the exercises including the upcoming packaging and work for children.

Likewise, I also felt I had too many ideas perhaps because I'm looking at too many different illustrators work and had difficulty deciding on the style I wanted to adopt and whether colours etc should be abstract or realistic.

Layers of watercolour through ink drawings

Back to starting point trying to draw a complete scene as one illustration.

Laid out the complete illustration as one piece before photoshop usage made it slightly easier to see how the piece would look as an overall illustration

Painted in colour and added background in Photoshop - a bit stronger 

Experimenting with colour variations in Photoshop

Not so sure looks a bit busy and the buildings don't work quite right with the backdrop

Overall, I produced a lot of variations for this exercise and I really felt I had to just stop. I think in hindsight I should have focused on a particular style but then again its good to experiment and see what looks most successful/ appropriate for purpose. I struggled to get some of the building illustrations to work with the backgrounds and eventually reverting to trying to draw the illustration in its entity for the Istanbul piece.

I think a number of these images could work but the piece I think was most successful was the Milan illustration below with simple line drawings and some photoshop textures.

Update after tutor report

Given the difficulties I had with choosing the route to go down with this exercise I was keen to read the feedback from my tutor for this assignment. She like the image below the best and I would agree it is probably the most successful. However, she suggested that the image might be enhanced further by scaling down the size of the buildings and perhaps adding some more texture, colour or pattern to add interest and said that I should think about what how other illustrators some of whom I've mentioned above have created their maps.

I went back to my Milan image and reduced the size, played about with some different textures to add interest/ variation and added some different areas of colour to draw attention - like the small red flag, the green on the trees. I also slightly changed the background using some of my watercolour experiments rather than a solid texture and think it enhances the image.

Prior to tutor report

updated version - different colour and texture