Posted on June 26, 2012
Spectating on the development of characters by those who bring them to life..
Whether it’s for illustration or art-pieces, the most important part of the process is generating an idea. Sketching, planning and research are all crucial. For this project, I was looking to adapt one of my illustrated characters into a woodcarving. Trying to re-create the hair texture in three-dimensions was the biggest challenge, but first I had to roughly carve-out a fairly lumpy shape, to turn a drawing into a sculpture with a degree of anatomy. The woodcarving was finished with beaded eyes and a clear varnish to bring out the texture.
I absolutely love drawing. I believe creating art is a way to filter your imagination through to the outside world and you never really know what to expect! It’s very exciting! Most of my subject matter includes bones, trees, hearts and strange creatures. I love displaying nature in a twisted or surreal way. I generally use micro pens, ink wash, and Prismacolour marker, but on rare occasions I’ll paint with acrylic or watercolors. The piece I’ve included was done with black and white pens and Prismacolour marker on cardboard.
My illustrative strengths lie in combining detailed pen and ink line drawings with digital collage. This design process allows me to incorporate an array of fabrics and textures into my work, resulting in the perception of handmade illustration and design. This process allows me to work in simple, logical steps, in order to successfully complete each illustration.
I first pencil the image onto the wood. I tape off and cut around the area I wish to spray paint. I have the most fun with this part! Peeling back the tape reveals a nice, clean-cut white image. I then draw with pencil over the top. This is hard on wood and I have to sharpen my pencil with almost every stroke; the wood grinds the lead away in seconds. The process is time consuming and it’s much harder to get detail when the wood is rough or coarse. I then seal the drawing and wood with a clear, usually matt finish spray. Complete!
My drawing is self-taught. I’ve learnt techniques and styles from my idols, like Olivia de Berardinis, David Downton, George Barbier, Jean-Gabriel Domergue and Erte.
I start with an idea — a dress, a drape or a pose — which I scribble onto my hand-pad, then sketch with a pencil. The picture takes on a Ganesh-like quality, as I decide where an arm will sit or what kind of hat should be worn. I outline the sketch in 0.05mm fine liner pen and rub out the pencil. Then I colour and decorate.
My process is not too dissimilar to any other illustrator — it starts with an idea. The idea turns to thumbnails and sketches, slowly forming into a concept. The concept gets tidied up; references are gathered and implemented. Painting commences, whereupon I normally have a minor breakdown and start again. I finish up the painting by adding all the fancy sparkles and swishes. Usually, I look back a few days later with fresh eyes and redo half of it.
The work isn’t really about anything in a narrative or illustrative sense. I use oil paint to create illusions. Using grotesque distortion and carnivalesque juxtaposition, I create work based on my dreams about the world and the potential for the artistic practice to engage with complicated issues therein. I omit certain elements or include something incongruous in an attempt to incite questions in the viewer; a question mark seems intrinsically more interesting than a full stop.
To see more process and some amazing illustrative works, check out Overcoat Issue Two: Work.