In this exercise I drew my inspiration from a wide range of sources:
- woodgrain and stone textures: I see faces and images everywhere in doors, tables, bathroom panelling. Anything with dots and some lines can become a face.
- I watched and took pictures from the TV Series Life on Earth to get some ideas for the type of creatures I might imagine and further develop from these abstract dots and lines.
- I looked at artists and illustrators like Hieronymus Bosch and Shaun Tan.
- I looked back at some of the ‘imaginings’ series from my Illustration 1 portfolio on integrating analogue and digital techniques that I had done as part of the Illustration 1 course.
Draw – scan – colour
Starting on paper and moving to a computer.
Series 1: Wood Imaginings
In this series the starting point for my inspiration was wood grain – I selected a few sections of woodgrain from around the house that suggested different types of creature, and drew these in solid pencil on white paper.
I also selected some textured backgrounds : image of marble from pillars at the Victoria and Albert museum and did some collage and charcoal drawings based on underwater razor shells and gas plumes from Life on Earth.
Imagining 1: Cycloptopus
This is an octopus with one eye – I liked the mouth that was suggested by the woodgrain also. I wanted to show the was an octopus melts into its surroundings, but retain the eye and mouth when examined closely. I scanned the drawing into Photoshop and made a clipping mask, then experimented with different colours and blend modes. Of these I like the pink and blue and green and blue ones most because of the higher colour contrasts.
Imagining 2: Skink-nosed anteater
Here I used a similar process – drawing an anteater shape suggested by the wood grain, scanning into Photoshop, creating a clipping mask and then using one of my backgrounds and a marble texture overlay like the skin of a skink. Here I started first with contrasting complementaries: yellow and violet, organgy yellow and blue, red and green then contrasting red and blue. Of these I find the yellow and violet and the red and blue most striking. The other two are rather muted – the red green one in particular is a more sobre slinking anteater because of the tonal similarity between the red and green. The yellow orange one looks more friendly and a bit wrinkled and old – maybe because the contrast between the yellow orange and red of the eyes is less which gives the eyes a sunken look rather than contrast.
Imagining 3 Zebroceros and 4 Proboscatoo
These two still need quite a lot of thinking about. They were both very strongly based on wood grain imaginings.
Zebroceros echoes images of rhinos with their horns cut from the Internet, coupled with woodgrain and layered background as a bamboo jungle. But it ended up looking like a friendly horse. I think this is a case for a more striking initial drawing that is not so close to the woodgrain image, then drawing grain and background to really convey a feel.
The proboscatoo could be a very interesting character – I like the nose and angry beedy eye. But again I think this is really more for a drawing/cartoon than the sort of mixed approach I am taking here.
Imagining 5 Humboltsia
Here I used a different approach to the drawing. I watched Life on Earth about Humboldt Squid – I am fascinated by the way they move. I did some line sketches of movement then some detailed tonal graphite drawings. These I scanned into Photoshop and used the same clipping mask and colouring/blending approach as before. This proved much more difficult than the line drawing. I copied the clipping mask several times and rotated it to imitate the petals of a flower, but retained the dark swallowing hole. I chose the bright pink fuschia colour and a sickly green – a sort of tryffid. I put dropshadows and altered the tones with brushes to get some depth.
I could develop this concept much further into something more striking. It is currently more like a comic book style rather than the dramatic effect of the graphite drawings. Though maybe in future I will discover new ways of using digital blending and brushes as I move forward.
Imagining 6: Lobstera
This final series starting with drawing was inspired by a plant in the lobby of a hotel in Rotterdam. I really liked the spreading jungle leaves.
And as I started to sketch and draw I saw the really fascinating textures and shapes as the leaves joined the stem. This suggested a a sort of lobster/shrimp creature.
I took some photos for reference later – the leaf Node photo then became the basis for the colour-draw-print series.
With this series I photographed the two sketches and took them into photoshop, using also the background collages and textures. And experimented with colours and blend modes as before.
Colour – print – draw
Starting on the computer and then moving to paper
For this part of the exercise I was not quite sure what was meant by ‘colour’ on the computer as opposed to drawing. I decided to use the photograph for this exercise and started by processing this in Photoshop, cropping, experimenting with different colours. I then printed the image out on different types of paper including photopaper and Hahnemule Leonardo canvas – building on experimentation with papers from Illustration 1 and Book Design 1. I then worked into the printout with white acrylic paint and ink, then scratching out areas for further contrast. I experimented further with cropping the final image, following suggestion from my tutor – finally putting the the eye in the centre.
Imagining 6 Lobstera continued
Imagining 7: Monster landscapes
I decided to start with some of the textures from the marble I had photographed in the Victoria and Albert Museum and printed these out.
I then drew with pencil and painted with ink on top of them to produced different types of hybrid monsters. These were inspired particularly by Hieronymous Bosch. I experimented with different types of art paper. Some of these I found to be much more absorbent and others much sharper. In many ways drawing on top of the unsharp images gave greater depth and contrast, depending on the drawing or painting medium used.
Are there other combinations of mixing and matching digital and analogue (non-digital) ways of working you can identify and try out?
There are an infinite range of variations on all the above, moving from analogue, photographing that, then printing on an appropriate paper to then rework again as an analogue drawing.
There are many different forms of analogue image making: printmaking, glue drawings, mesh drawings etc etc etc….
It is also possible to do a number of analogue ‘layers’ for any image and then combine these with different blend modes in Photoshop (see for example Octavia).
Reflect on whether these processes have offered you something new or unexpected.
I very much enjoyed this exercise – both the working with textures and the experimentation with media. Although previously in the Imaginings series in Illustration 1 I had used textures and drawings as the basis for digital manipulation, I had not gone back and forth between physical and digital media in this way.
The types of textures and images that can be achieved I find have more impact – enhancing and sharpening up selective details like the eye of the lobstera through working back into printouts is more effective than just doing this digitally.
The Bosch monster approach is also one I would like to take further – using my iPad to work into the images in various ways, then reprinting and enhancing with ink or paint. Following some of the discoveries with iPad work in Assignment 4.