Monday, December 13, 2010


Are we finished, really? Can I take this class again?!?

I'm usually relieved to finish a class, but I'm going to miss this one. I think the only thing I didn't like were the Photoshop assignments. I wish I'd had more time, to do more work, to wrap things up the way I wanted to, etc. But I suppose I've learned three major things: I really like watercolors, marker comps are generally helpful, and I shouldn't try to do illustrations completely in Photoshop. Useful lessons, really.

And when I say I'll miss the class, I don't mean the 6 AM alarm clock ; )

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Final Portfolio - Formal Projects

My four best formal projects:

Album cover: I integrated two of my favorite illustration styles: pattern-y watercolor and hatched line art. To me, this has a surreal, pop art, wacky seventies feel, which helps get across the feeling of the album with a little added kick. I think it's an interesting solution to the no-band-members restriction, since my first instinct would have been to draw Carole King and her wild hair.

Cheesy airbrush: I don't have much to say about this that I haven't already posted, but I think it deserves a spot in my top four because it looks like a turtle, but also an illustration of a turtle, which was probably the goal. And he's so nonchalant about it.

Product illustration: I picked this as my best illustration overall, not because it's the most interesting (Listerine just sits there. It can't do backflips.), but because I'm happy with all parts of it. It was challenging to paint something transparent and shiny with tiny text on the label, but I think everything turned out ok. I could see myself incorporating this into a design someday!

3-Image gouache montage: I chose this as one of the top four because it shows my improvement with using the gouache pick out technique. My favorite part of this is the shrimp, and there's some nice contrast going on in the statue and the background. This piece is very different from most other things I've done in this class because it looks the most like a painting, though frankly I'd have done a better job with acrylics. In any case, I'm glad I learned to use gouache!

Final Portfolio - Marker Comp

My best marker comp: the Red Barn pamphlet!

Front: I tried to think about the whole layout, like where the text would go and what I'd do with the background if it looked sort of empty.

Back: I wanted something that would spread throughout the three columns without being too obtrusive to the text. One thing I fixed in the final illustration was the back of the man's shirt: I scooted him off the page a tad more and added some more variation to that block of color.

Final Portfolio - Technique

Ten technique exercises, coming up!

Line Drawing: This was one of the first line drawing exercises I did. Even though it's not as realistic as I usually prefer, I think it shows confidence and bit of style (for example, the shading made of straight lines where curved ones would have been more traditional).

Watercolor: My goal with this illustration was to let the medium do its thing by filling in areas of color and manipulating it to exaggerate the watercolory texture. I think illustration doesn't always have to be particularly expressive; sometimes it's nice to create a pattern or a design with traditional media.

Self Portrait: This wasn't technically an exercise, but I'm counting it as one because I did five or six self portraits before I picked one. I think this shows an interesting interaction between line and color wash since neither component is tightly rendered, but they combine to make a fairly realistic image. I also like the muted color palette.

Line/Wash: This is an example of a watercolor with a little line art thrown in. I used a few different watercolor techniques in this exercise, like wet-on-dry foliage and picked-out pigment on the door. Thinking about it now, I'm not sure if this would be as interesting if the door were any other color.

Watercolor: I painted this so long ago, but I still remember having fun doing it! I seem to recall staying up way too late to add vines to the roof. The building required a bit of planning - I had to think about how to break it down into planes of color, as well as plan the spots that needed to be left blank, like the fancy white ironwork. This is one piece I think looks better without line art, because the cool part about it is the way the structure is subtly suggested with washes.

Watercolor: This reminds me of what my house looked like in the summer! Doesn't it look warm? Anyway, like the previous house, this one uses tinted planes to suggest the architecture, and I think I managed to do the trees fairly well even without a fan brush.

Watercolor: Just like the stained glass illustration, I tried experimenting with the medium in this one. I blended colors within an area, like the street, and even left some dry brush marks. I know the structure and composition leave the whole thing looking a little square, but to me the natural variation of the hand-painted edges give it enough movement and character. It reminds me of the Chelsea district - cool, clean, and artsy.

Line: Gabe! I miss him. I don't think I've showed him this drawing; he'd probably hate it. But I think it's a good example of my line art illustration style: straight hatching, contoured hatching (in the hair), outlines, contrast, and a simple background. And a whimsical subject.

Watercolor: When I found this photo on my phone, I knew I had to try to paint it. The shadows are particularly awesome, and I thought it would be a challenge. It was. I'd already played with negative space and watercolor, so I thought I would at least try to vary the color within the chairs. I also wanted the shadows to stand out, so I made them a little darker than they should be, and I left the background blank.

Painted Line: This didn't take me too long, and it proved to me that I should try doing things quickly more often! But of course some parts turned out better than others: Gabe looks like Gabe, but Sam doesn't look so much like himself, and the glasses are kind of interesting, but the right side of the table is muddy. I guess you get what you get.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Last Projects

It seems like I haven't posted in so long...but I've been working on these last three projects: the album cover, book jacket, and cheesy airbrush.

I'm not proud to say I'm the happiest with the third.

Anyway, here they are:

Cheesy airbrush: I didn't want to do a cartoon. I started off looking for pictures of dolphins, thinking I could maybe illustrate a porpoise with flames behind its tail or something, but then I stumbled across some pictures of sea turtles. I figured the subject matter was cheesy enough, even sans flames, so I went with it. I actually had fun with the airbrush this time around! I'm pleased with how the light yellow bits turned out, but I think I could have done better on the turtle's shell and the definition of the fish in the background. Perhaps the most redeeming thing about this project was that I didn't have to incorporate it into a design.

Book jacket: How do you illustrate The Great Gatsby? I had all sorts of ideas that combined the characters and the green light and the eyes of Dr. T.J. Eckleburg, but unfortunately that turned out to be a whole lot to fit into one illustration. I settled on a simple line drawing against a separate color wash (meant to evoke the colors of Long Island at sunset), but I definitely think I could have done much better with the layout. I mean, ew, it's too boring. I should have blown up the illustration and bled it onto the's the front cover:

Anyway. You see what I mean.

Album cover: Originally I was going to do an album by The Mountain Goats, but then Carole King popped up in my iTunes shuffle and I thought I could do something cool and graphic-y with Tapestry. It helped that the original cover art is terrible, too - it's just a picture of Carole King in a windowsill holding a piece of cloth. Well, there's a cat in the foreground too. Anyway, I painted a seventies tapestry-like pattern, then struggled with what to do with it for two weeks until I finally decided to draw a hand holding the tapestry. And this is what I came up with. It might look a little bit like the opening credits of Monty Python, but it's better than looking like your grandma's couch, that's what I always say.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Airbrush Planet

I did Jupiter. It went a little better than I expected! I could still use some practice, though...

Illustratin' Extra Stuff

I made an Italian newspaper - Il Giornale, creative, I know - for my Viscom II class, and the big headline was a story about a stolen Degas painting that was found in New York. I illustrated it with some watercolors.