Monday, May 22, 2017

Into The Mind Cave We Go

As illustrators we are often asked the same round of questions over and over again:

“Why are you so amazing?”

“ Would you care to get into my van?” 

And in an obvious progression, “ Can I wear your skin?” ­

(If you’re not very visual please picture a bunch of illustrators reading along, nodding their heads in our shared experience.)

And after we’ve all answered:

“ Because I was lucky and figured out a trolls riddle.”

“No thanks I sit all day drawing so I probably need to walk.” 

And, “I wouldn’t advise it since I’m very pale, from said sitting, and my pallor wont match your eyes.”

Inevitably we will all be asked, “ Where oh where do you get your ideas?” I know…I’m amazing at transitions.

So I thought I’d share with you all the little obsessions that lead the way to one of my finished pieces (fyi I will be abandoning the serial killer humour from here on out, so if that’s why you came you may leave, and if not…well its over now so calm down). 

Into the mind cave we go!

It all starts with the base layer obsession. Mine happens to be any and all things that remind me of home and the book Longing For Darkness: Kamantes Tales from Out of Africa fits the bill here. 

It's filled with wonky giraffes, the sentence:  " Once the machine for washing caught fire and a bag of coffee roasted" and there's even a deranged something chasing a dog. 

Its perfect.  

page from Longing For Darkness

Now it's time to add a level of experimentation to the mix. It is imperative that I use a piece to practice something I'm interested in, otherwise the work comes out stale or worse I am bored to death creating it. At one time it was to figure out how to draw children and another it was composition. These days what really gets my attention is layering. Not the kind with clean, perfect lines. Im obsessed with obvious, almost amateur layering. 

a little practice with layering done in my sketchbook.

 experimental painting 

And finally the random stumbled upon magic. I'll show you what I mean. I don't usually know what colours I'm going to use for a piece, but for a while now I've been obsessed and its all because of these...

Wait what? Do you mean to say that you're obsessed with dead leaves? uuuh YA. They used to be green. I was lazy. I left them in a cup and forgot to water them. One day I looked up and there you have it. A bunch of GORGEOUS, very dead, yellow leaves.  Leaves that I wanted to use somehow but ended up only doodling about.

sketchbook page

Pro tip, never underestimate the doodle. The doodle is where I get many of my ideas. See that yellow blob with the dots on it? It sort of looks like a cheetah's fur right?

Put it all together and what do you get?

Final piece: "Pink Moon" watercolour & Graphite

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