Thursday, 31 October 2013

Transit Mapping: Research

With the first monster portrait task finished, it's time to focus on finished the transit mapping project over the next two weeks.

Stage 2 has begun and I'm thinking about producing a fantasy version of my mapped journey to college.

I have a few sources of inspiration in mind and some names to research thanks to 'Illustration Next.'

Marina Kharkover:

Unnatural colours, limited palette, bright colours

Paul Blow:

Effective use of limited colour palette and omission of line work. Contrast of colours of shapes creates the lines.


Traditional fantasy illustration, vivid colours. Could implemented mixed perspectives in the map design

Paul Paetzel:

Work gives the illusion of cut papers through the use of  two contrasting and bright colours as well as one muted colour which serves as a separator of the two.

Olimpia Zagnoli:

Again a use of a limited colour palette. Forms are simple, if not simpler than those used by Paetzel, as the block colours are not drawn into.

Caitlin Keegan:

Another restricted/simple colour palette which doesn't rely on shading to give form. Line is implemented, in some cases heavily, but in colour rather than black. This reduces the contrast between lines and colour, creating greater synergy between the two where line work is heavy. Something I should probably give a go.

Jon Klassen:

Working with physical materials and transferring them to digital media, assembling collage on photo shop.

Carson Ellis:

An archetypal example of how I want my watercolour illustrations to come out! May work with the colour and the line separately, merging them on photo shop.

Now to have a play with some of these ideas before committing to a draft...

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Monster Portraits: 'Sketchbook'

So the bulk of this task for me has been actually producing the images rather than producing preliminary sketches, or if I did sketches they were often worked on top of.

There are a couple of pages of notes however, which I decided to scan in and put on this blog to save the inconvenience of buying a separate sketchbook from my Transit Mapping project for the sake of a couple of pages, just for the moment. 

I've also kept trimmings from where I've cut out my images and squared them off, which contain thoughts/notes (not pictured as they'll be a pain to scan them all in.)

Notes made while watching the film:

Reference images:

Using up scraps from my collage:

Monster Portraits: More things!

I went back to playing with the idea of very dark images, with the blood  and Leon's cumber band being the only source of vivid colour. So I took inspiration from the scene of Leon's death where he is shot through the chest by his adoptive father:

I was very free with the initial sketch for this one and didn't try to really correct anything. I was quite free with the use of ink too, but tried to get distinct tonal area from it. In terms of composition, if I were to tidy up this image, I would definitely try to include a silhouette of Leon's father in, rather than just the gun. Though I'm surprised how the smoke effect came out, as it wasn't particularly controlled.

I also revisited and older piece, where I continued the idea of contrast, using primarily black and white and bringing in pen and ink too:

Some peer feedback helped me to progress with this image, a good example of reworking into things to make them better. However this image also highlights the importance of preliminary drawings, as his face is very... wonky. I'm really attracted to the right eye and brow, if I were to continue with thsi iamge, I'd try to revise the rest of the face and have that tonal style across the entire face.

Whilst starting the digital version of 'Tango' I had a little play with photoshop, producing this rough face:

Just mucking about with brush settings, opacity and colour whilst roughly imitating the strong contrasts of lighting found in horror images.

And this is ow 'Tango' turned out:

The finished version of the image utilizes a clipping mask to give a heart shaped frame to the image. I'm really pleased with how the background turned out, I'm not used to producing them in my digital images so I was relieved to see that simple shapes and hue changes worked so effectively. I've only just realised that there's a bit of sloppy over-the-line colouring going on! Woops!  Obviously an oversight in my rushign to get things finished.

And finally to finish off my project I decided to be a bit more random and paint with blueberry jam:

The ink had some weird interaction with the jam, solidifying into wafer thin slate-like pieces. Also worked in some acrylic for the eyes to get a strong contrast in hue and texture. I chose Jam because of it's colour and viscosity. It has similarities to blood, but it's also a texture that I've never painted/drawn with before. It was messy business and thoroughly impractical in terms of storing/transporting the final image, so a dodgey photo will have t do.

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Monster Portraits: Progress!

Woops! 4 days from the deadline and I still haven't got round' to posting on here rather than on facebook...

This is mainly due to me forgetting earlier on in the project, but also due to my laptop dying a couple of weeks ago, leaving me with the desktop computer which is VERY temper-mental when it comes to scans.

So I started out by just drawing Oliver Reed's Werewolf from memory in pencil:

 Then decided to watch the film and get acquainted with the characters and to get some visual ideas.

This lead me to producing my first proper image, where I considered the composition more:

Which I then worked over with watercolour and ink:

I'd hoped that scratching into the page would leave some wells in the page where the wash would produce a pattern, but this didn't work, so I drew into the image with pen. I wasn't satisfied with the outcome of this at all, and kind of mourned the sketch I had just ruined a bit. Actually I suppose the blood is okay, and the shading/style on that shirt looks pretty good. Anyway I decided that I should just move on... a cartoon interpretation of the werewolf, because the costume is quite silly, with the riding pants and boots.

I wanted to progress with this sketch, so penned it a while afterwards:

I made a few alterations and lost the cutesy eyes in the process, as I couldn't think of a way of achieving the dark eyelids and beady black eyes.

I then went back to this and edited and coloured it digitally:

The pencils for the image above were initially just prelim drawings, hence the boring pose.
My poking fun continued with this image:

I was just playing with the themes of Spain and love- It's set in Spain and Leon's curse is nullified by true love. Plus those trousers are perfectly suitable for Strictly Come Dancing... I'm going to colour this one digitally too I think.

Moving on, I decided to get out of my comfort zone and give oil and inscribe pastels a go. I've used these before in GCSE and A-Level work, I've had a much friendlier relationship with oil pastels- utilising their hydrophobic quality. Inscribe pastels, however, I do not like. They're crumbly, don't produce vivid colours very easily, and the dust gets bloomin' everywhere. However, they work quite nicely on top of oil pastels it would seem:

Focused more on the face and the contrast of the gloomy atmosphere and those piercing blue eyes.
I'm actually pretty pleased with the tonal work in this, which was picked up by the scanner really nicely, also the eyes just seem to 'work.' The face is a bit elongated however by my drawing of the brow line too far up the face. The fur didn't come out very well, the white pastel was having a hard time covering the black, could use acrylic in the future.

I had planned on working with collage for our summer project, but the scale was too small. So I've not made an Eric Carle inspired collage for quite a while. I initially just planned producing a rough guide for the collage, but it developed into a pencil sketch:

It was just one of those drawings that felt like it was going right from the beginning, so I got a bit precious with it and decided to trace it with tissue paper to form my guide instead.

The collage itself took a whole day to make; producing the different painted papers through mark making, then cutting and assembling the image.

I used hand prints to produce the skin textures, this would have probably come through more if I decided to make the collage on a larger scale. Particularly for the grey skin and red eyelids. The skin tone could have done with a greater contrast in colours and a bit more patience/attention on my part to make things a bit more obvious. Scraping into the paint for the fur worked well though,  as did using my lips to print the paper for the lips... it's not very obvious but I still think the pattern looks good.

Again I took a break from organisation with  freehand ink image, drawn using a sharpened piece of garden stick as well as ink wash with a fan brush.

I played with leaving white space for the moon, which didn't turn out as neatly as I had hoped as I drew the initial shape with very concentrated ink. Whilst the page was saturated I drew into it, producing the lines you see in the background, which is quite a neat effect. By this time I'm used to the general shape of the head and features of the face of the character.

Next up I wanted to produce a story-book-esque illustration, trying to use ink effectively on watercolour paper. I started off with a sketch, using a comic book adaptation of the film and YouTube clips as references:

Then used ink and watercolours to try and produce an atmospheric image of Leon prowling at his prison cell prey...

This is probably my favorite of my outcomes, though I regret not working on a larger scale as some detail is changed/lost with the pen. The guy up against the wall felt a bit iffy when I was doing him, but I think the effect of the moonlight on his head coming through the window behind him is actually recognizable.I'm most happy with the light in the background and how it hits Leon.

Whilst drawing my next image, in a state of delirium I realised that the werewolf's head shape is similar to that of Batman's cowl. So I created a parody cross-over image type thing...

Penned it:

And then coloured it digitally:

I'm not sure how I feel about this one, I'm wondering if I should have left it as a black and white digital image. The arms are... odd, just like the idea! But other than that I thin it looks pretty good. The Bat-Wolf symbol could maybe do with some refining, but I'm happy with the progression from the initial sketch.

So I've only got a few left to do, going to finish up 2, digitally colour the 'tango' picture and draw something completely new, then I'll be at 20! Huzzah! Maybe I'll do a couple of new ones as a lot of them are progression, we'll see...

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Vis Com: Character Creation

As part of one of the tasks in our first workshop in the Visual Communication module, we came up with adjectives and nouns in groups.

We used these as a description for a character that we then had to create.

Being assigned a random combination of one noun and two adjectives, I ended up with 'A quiet, perverse tree-house'

After a couple of sketches and finishing up in pen, I scanned it onto photo shop, edited the balance to produce a pure black and white image and then continued to use photo shop to begin colouring it.

I'll find the time to finish this up at some point*, I'm not sure I'm settled on the base colours as they are and need to add some highlights and shadows. 

Oh and we had to make a house for them out of cardboard too! 
A house tree for a tree-house...

I'm really quite happy with how the layered effect worked, despite it being rough as rats.
The 'bark' didn't really want to stay on but I had a good go at it... 

*Had another crack on Art Rage tonight: 
Thinking of doing one for each season and seeing how they all look as a series... when I have the spare time :P


So for Interdisciplinary Practises, we're kicking off with a task where we have to produce 20 portraits of a famous movie monster.

I've just spent the last hour on google images, working my way through the list and I'm finding it hard to make a decision!

Vampires: Blood! Vlaa!

Max Schreck, Nosferatu (1922)

This guy... I think he may be a popular choice. Just... those claws! And the silhouettes this guy produces, he has a lot of visual elements to have some creepy fun with. 

Bela Lugosi, Dracula (1931)

Probably the most iconic Dracula, the pointed collar, slick hair, funky eyebrows, cape and funny accent all originated from this guys performance, if I remember correctly. He really utilises his hands as a symbol of inhuman power. 

Christopher Lee, Dracula (1931)

Apparently this role was a labour that Sir Christopher did not enjoy enduring, appearing in multiple films. He had hardly any dialogue in most of them, instead hissing quite a lot. He looks far more manic and sinister than Lugosi in my opinion, and just look at that scarlet cape lining! Visual delight, that.

Gary Oldman, Dracula (1992)

I watched this version of Dracula whilst studying Bram Stoker's book in GCSE English.  It really sticks it's teeth into the sexual connotations of the book (I didn't actually intend to write that as a pun, oh dear.) and slaps in some 'fallen from the grace of god' origin story. My most prominent memories are his animal forms, portrayed as half human, half animal.
Ugly as sin 'Vampire Bat'

Frisky 'Wolf' 

Frankenstein's Monster's: Thick brows and wacky hair.

Boris Karloff, Frankenstein (1931)

The most iconic image of the most iconic interpretation of the monster created by Dr. Frankenstein. I think I'll have to have a watch of the film if I choose this guy, as all I can think of is Herman Munster's stupid laugh whenever I look at him. 

David Prowse, Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell (1973)

A very different take on Frankenstein's monster, made from an 'ape-like' homicidal inmate of an asylum where Frankenstein is secretly working. The monster goes on a murderous rampage, perhaps he doesn't appreciate his murdering hands being replaced with those of a clay sculptor?

Elsa Lanchester, The Bride of Frankenstein (1935)

Iconic hair based on Queen Nefertiti, that lightning bolt is mighty snazzy. Despite being created in the same manor as the monster, she ultimately rejects him.

Koji Furuhata, Frankenstein Conquers the World (1965)

A feral child grows from the heart of the original monster, to kick some monster lizard butt!?

Werewolves: Lots of texture to work with, thinking of creating patterns/collages.
David Naughton, An American Werewolf in London (1981)

The werewolf looks a bit derpy, but this film was best praised for the transformation sequence which was produced through analogue(?) special effects. 

Oliver Reed, Curse of the Werewolf

Somehow being born trough sexual abuse and on Christmas day results in a Spanish chap baring the curse of the werewolf. Also being around someone he loves stops him from transforming. Something about lust and the inner beast. I like this kind of interpretation of the werewolf, because there are still human elements in the design. That idea seems more horrifying to me, rather than actually becoming a large, bi-pedal wolf. 

Lon Chaney Jr. Wolfman (1941)

I quite enjoyed the recent remake of this film starring Benecio Del Toro. Admittedly the original to me just looks like a guy who needs a shave and some braces to sort out that serious under bite. But it's important to remember this was made a long time ago and the make-up effects are pretty top-notch. The true magnificence of these films is the use of lightning, which is considered greatly, seeing as the film is shot in black and white.

The Phantom of the Opera: A tragic Villain.

Lon Chaney Sr., The Phantom of the Opera (1925)

A silent film, the Phantom's appearance remains more faithful to the novel, in that he has a face that looks like a rotting corpse, rather than half of it being disfigured. Chaney devised and applied the make-up himself, leaving it as a surprise to the rest of the crew. Apparently it was considered so horrific that it was recommended smelling salts where kept nearby for when women feinted in the screenings...
I don't know what's more unnerving, his actual face or the creepy mask he wears. 
I suppose I'm just going to have to consider the ways in which I want to work before choosing the kind of shapes etc. that I'll be working with, considering as we're supposed to 'show off.'