Sunday, December 12, 2010

Final Thoughts on Illustration

Well, it's over. I could never decide if I was looking forward to taking this class, or dreading it completely. But know I know that overall, I enjoyed it. Yes, there were times when I thought Rusty must surely hate us, but in the end, I learned a ton and feel much more capable in my illustrating capabilities.
I've never considered myself very good at drawing or painting (I've always hated painting, actually) which made me a little nervous about a class on traditional illustration. However, after this class I am much more confident in my ability to come up with a kick-butt illustration should the need ever arise.
I've definitely been able to find some strengths and weaknesses in the world of illustration, too. I will never, ever be an airbrush artist. That is a fact. And digital illustration doesn't seem to be my forte either. However, I've actually come to enjoy watercolor. And I think I'll enjoy continuing to experiment and get better at using gouache. Although line drawings are still a struggle sometimes, I am at least more confident now and willing to try and experiment after having learned some new tips and techniques.
And with that, goodbye Illustration.

Final Portfolio: Formal Projects

The term "formal projects" sounds so scary and daunting. But really, once I got down to work and planned out my illustrations with sketches and marker comps, they really weren't that bad! Each of them took several hours, and in the case of some, several re-do's. Despite all that they are finished and looking good! Here are my best 4 from the semester:

No. 1: Self Portrait, Watercolor. This is actually my millionth attempt at this self portrait, and not the one I turned it. That's right, I re-did it again. And I think this one turned out better than ever! I think this color palette is interesting as well. And yes, the glasses are supposed to be that big. They're happy birthday glasses! Happy birthday to me!!!

No. 2: Product Illustration, Watercolor. I was really pleased with the way my Rubik's Cube turned out! I really took my time with it and worked to get really good shading within each color, showing the light source coming straight from the front (from my camera flash). I worked for awhile, too, at getting each little cube in it to look separate but still connected.

No. 3: Book Cover, Watercolor/line. Pride and Prejudice is one of my all-time favorite books, so I was really excited to get to illustrate it. I wanted a more modern, but still feminine, feel. Again, I went for the architectural element of the gate with the swirl details on top to add a more feminine feel. I especially love that there are two swirls that make a heart on the top, hinting at the romantic theme of the book (as if people didn't already know that). I kept the background simple but I like that the swirls add some movement. I think the font for the title really adds to the gothic, contemporary feel and works well.

No. 4: Album cover, Watercolor. I absolutely love this CD, and I think this illustration works well too! I think I successfully accomplished my goal of having it seem Christmas-y without being stereotypically holiday. In other words, no blatant red and green. The ornament combined with the holiday-party-type food gives the perfect holiday feel, and spreading a JOYful feeling as well. It looks happy, which was also part of the point. I think this design reproduced pretty well at all three sizes: LP, CD, and iTunes cover art.

Final Portfolio: Best Marker Comp

Initially, I didn't understand the point of marker comps. I had the idea, I could visualize it in my head, it would be fine, right?? However, there might be a connection between my best marker comp and the resulting illustration being one of my best. Just a thought. I am pretty pleased with this marker comp though. Although I ended up changing the design a bit (and thus, doing another comp for this illustration), this one gave me a good idea of where I wanted to go with this and pointed to ideas for improvement.

Final Portfolio: Exercises

Although I hated doing these at the time, I almost miss doing them (gasp!). I spent a good portion of my day yesterday re-doing several, and I had a really good day! I think they were a lot easier now that I have a better grasp on the techniques and feel more confident. But more on that later. Here are my 10 best from the semester:

No. 1: Line drawing. I was really pleased with the way the bridge turned out in this one!

No. 2: Digital painting. I've recently discovered a love for architectural elements. Maybe that's why I liked this one so much. The close-up of details on the Eiffel Tower look really nice against a pretty blue sky. This was as good as any of my digital painting ever got.

No. 3: Watercolor/line. This exercise was more of an experiment as I was running out of ideas of things to illustrate! I think this more stylized effect works well though! It's fun.

No. 4: Watercolor/painted line. I think this was my breakthrough piece. My "ah-ha!" moment. That isn't to say that I had everything figured out at this point. That was not at all the case! But this was a definite confidence boost. The monochromatic color palette really helped out I think, as well as the bigger original size. That let me stress about details without getting overworked or messy. But they look good at a reduced size too!

No. 5: Watercolor/line. I figured that since my first illustration with shoes was successful, I would try again! This time at a smaller scale, though. I also used a micron for my line work this time, just to punch it up a bit more. I was less concerned with details as well.

Half way there! (*deep breath*)

No. 6: Traditional watercolor/digital painting. This was was an interesting experiment. I started out with a traditional watercolor of a Christmas light display (I was in a festive mood). I painted all the lights first. But when I tried to add a glaze for a hint of darkness in the was a miserable failed attempt. So, I threw it into Photoshop, with the initial thought being to just get rid of the wash. That just made it look even worse. So I decided to go all out and create a night scene behind the lights and make the lights glow a little more with some Photoshop magic. Voila!
No. 7: Watercolor/line: Look familiar? Yep, I also used this candle in my gouache montage. This time it has a different color scheme and technique though. I think this one turned out a lot better, too. The washes and lines are a lot looser, making it more effective, I think.
No. 8: Watercolor: I started running out of ideas, and needed something else to illustrate, so I started looking around me...what did I see?? Paintbrushes of course! I really like the handle on the even looks shiny in the right places! And of course, paint splotches were necessary for added effect.

No. 9: Watercolor/line. I thought this carpet pattern was really pretty, so of course, I snapped a picture of it. And of course, then, illustrated it. I was tempted to get really concerned with the details in all the intricate designs, but I think I did a good job at refraining and capturing the essence of them instead. And I love these colors! I stopped worrying about matching the colors from my photo references to the colors in my illustrations, so I started having a lot more fun with it.

No. 10: Watercolor/line. My parents were both country farm kids, so I have this love for the countryside and the interesting elements I see at my grandparents' houses that I don't see at home in the big city. This water pump was inspired by one of the hundreds of pictures I have from the country. I think this turned out really well. Though I didn't use line a lot in this illustration, I think it really helped to kick it up and add a little extra definition. And the water droplets are just fun!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Thoughts on Moving on to the FINAL PORTFOLIO

Since the final projects are now done, time to start thinking about the final portfolio (actually, in all honesty, I started doing that last night while waiting for a million things to print of the ridiculous HP printer). Requirements are:
  • 10 amazing exercises of line, wash, wash/line, etc.
  • 4 best final projects out of the 8 total
  • best marker comp
  • 1 absolutely fantastic, best illustration of the semester
I started going through my project from this semester and I have sad news. As of right now (Friday, December 10, 2010AD, at 8:54 AM Central Standard Time) I don't have that many amazing exercises and I really wouldn't call any 4 of my projects worthy of submission into the FINAL PORTFOLIO. But, fear not! I have a rework about 6 exercises and 1 final project. I've already found photo references and done some sketching. Yay for late nights printing in OP....or not. Anyway....looks like I get to pop in a few movies this weekend and start illustrating! (soooo much better than studying any day!) Also need to hunt down my best marker seems I never scanned it in. Hmm....

Final Projects are DONE!!!!

YAY!! Final projects are done!! Finally! I had to restart the book cover and cheesy and do LOTS of touch ups on the cd album. But they are, at last, done. Here they are:
We'll start with my favorite one, the album cover. I was feeling Christmas-y so I decided to redo the terrible cover for my favorite Christmas album, Avalon's "Joy". I wanted something that felt Christmas-y without being over-the-top, in-your-face red and green. Seeing as I didn't use green, I think this accomplished that. But seriously, I am pleased with the way it turned out. My favorite part is the candy looks pretty sweet (pun absolutely intended). I had problems with the pretzel for a loooong time but I think it finally came together! I think this design reproduced well at all three sizes: the LP record, CD case, and iTunes photo.
[side idea why this section of text is underlined, or how to fix that]

Oh the book cover....I went with a design that I thought would be pretty simple and elegant, but it turned out to be more of a pain. The background sky looks alright here, it gave me some trouble for awhile. I like that it adds some movement and color though. And the gate took FOREVER!!! I think I started to get a little too happy from all the sharpie looks so simple, but it took probably around 2 to 3 hours to get all the line work perfect. And that was before I went back and touched up some of the edges in Photoshop. Unfortunately, this one printed a little too dark for my liking, I wish it would have been a bit lighter when it was actually wrapped around the book. I do think extra points should be added for using an actual copy of Pride & Prejudice, though!

This section of the post should probably be subtitled "I hate airbrush: part 3". Still not a fan. And after overspraying and getting too much saturation on my first one, I started over only to have the same issue. This time I decided to just go with it though. I think it adds some interesting texture and kind of works though...especially in the tail and cheese. Isn't he adorable.