Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Final thoughtz

Initially coming into Illustration, I was a tad worried because I hadn't taken a traditional 2-D studio class for a while. My drawing skills were a bit rusty. However, I think now, by the end, I have started to gain my confidence in the illustration realm of things. I think the countless watercolors we did at the beginning helped to warm up my skills, as painful and time-consuming as they were. In fact, some of those quick little comps were some of my favorite pieces.

...like the two watercolors in my portfolio: the one of the foggy lake and pines...

...and the one with the boss storm clouds.

I've always known I work better at a quick pace, because it forces be to be freer with my mark-making and more expressionistic. Also, you can do more in a shorter amount of time, so there is a better chance that something will come out good.

Of the work I produced, there were definitely some trainwrecks, most notably the corny airbrush assignment ("Ashley Loves Shad") and the conversation piece (the roller derby girls). Airbrush is the bane of my existence. I guess I just don't have the touch for it. There goes my dreams of working as a carny at the airbrush booth! Well, at least there's always a spot for me at the sno-cone place...

Another work that I produced, the memory portrait (my grandparents dancing)...

...is not necessarily awesome in terms of technical skill, but I really like the way it turned out anyway. The loose line drawing with the varying weights of line was fun, and applying non-local colors was, too. I also think this was one of my only successful "cartoon-y" illustrations. In the future, I want to work with watercolor and pen and ink more, because I think I could really like it, even if I am still trying to get a hang of the best way to use it.

I also think my 3-object gouache shows some good skillz...

I think the composition works. Also, the subject matter, though it didn't make sense, was interesting. Who doesn't love E.T., ferris wheels, and Sitting Bull?? I wish I could have perfected the gouache technique, but overall, I am pretty happy with how this one came out.

I've found that landscapes are probably my favorite thing to do. Looking through my final portfolio, you'll see this. They seem to turn out the best for me. I like doing natural settings not only because of personal taste--I like the outdoors--but also because it is way more forgiving than other, more technical, subjects. If you mess up a tree or the sky, it is easy to cover up or make it disappear, but a building has to have straight edges and all that to make sense.

I think the illustration I did of the road (Highway 100, somewhere between Washington, MO and Hermann, MO--beautiful Rhineland) is a good example of the looseness you can capture using watercolor.

I think my strongest pieces were the El Capitan poster, the Missouri postcard, and the book cover illustration.

This was done in watercolor. I worked hard to make the rockface look as rocky as possible. I think it is realistic but still has that artistic, stylistic flair that a good illustration can have. I like the dense colors of the whole thing. Also, I think the simple, center design worked out well.

This piece was one of my favorite to do. I though working on such a small scale would suck, but it turned out to be fun. I like the colors of this piece, and of course the subject matter.

I think conceptually this is my strongest piece. Some of my others fell short of really depicting a story or being really clear what was going on, but I think this one's message is clear and strong. Also, I like the layout of the text. I think it works well in the composition. The simple color scheme also adds to the power of the piece.

Overall, I am happy with the body of work I produced in this class. I've gained confidence in my illustration abilities. Now, I am not worried about having to do it for a future employer. Sure, it's not my strongest point, nor do I think it'll ever be, but at least now I have the confidence to do it if I have to. Just another tool in tool box.

Book cover

Here is my book cover design. I used micron pen, sharpie, and watercolor for the 6.25 x 9.25 inches composition. I wanted it to be a pretty simplistic composition. Initially I just had the distraught Henry Fleming, the protagonist of the novel, in the bottom corner. I wanted to emphasize his isolation. After all, the novel isn't just a Civil War hero story, but also a story about a very lost, confused, and lonely young man. However, I was advised to add more--it needed something else. So I decided to add the bloodied soldier in the top corner. I think it helps out the composition a lot, and clarifies the story more. Now it is more clear WHY Henry is upset. Also, it is a part right out of the novel. Henry is called back by an old man who is dying, but Henry leaves him to die alone, which is a moment he has to deal with the rest of his life. Overall, I am very happy with the way my final illustration turned out.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Sound poster!

Here is the final illustration for the 10x14 sound assignment. I am somewhat happy with how it turned out. I experimented and used a black board for my surface. Overall, I liked using it because the colors turned out so vibrant on its surface. It was a little difficult to work light on dark instead of dark on light, but I think I managed it okay. The worst part was that I could not use a white protective coating like gesso on the black surface, so I couldn't overwork a spot or else it would start balling up on me. It started to do this especially around the girl's eye. However, overall I think it's pretty successful.

El Capitan poster

I decided to go with a simpler layout. I tried A LOT of other suggestions. Initally, I had yellow text. I tried using bars and boxes to set the text apart. I almost went with a look that had a transparent dark green bar behind the text. However, I am glad with the layout I choose. The blue is subtle but a little more interesting than just black or white. Also, the centered type is simple, which is what I wanted so that the illustration could be the main focus.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The bane of my existence.

Here is my 10x12 cheesy airbrush. There is not much to say except that I do not see airbrushing as a profession in my future.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Here is the final illustration for the conversation piece. It is a 10x10 inch watercolor. I do not really like the way it turned out. I wish I hadn't made the background the color that it is. I need to work the looser, expressive watercolor with line. Overall, I guess it's kind of fun, but it's not my favorite piece ever.

Missouri postcard

I love Missouri. Seriously. My whole family does. My older sister even has a Missouri tattoo. I'm not lying. SOOO I liked this project.

I love float trips in the summer, and the Current River is probably my favorite river to float because of the rolling hills and towering bluffs that surround it. So I found a picture of the Current and painted it. I find that I like doing landscapes. I used watercolor for this 4.5x6 inch piece. I liked the way it came out. Working on this small of a scale was a lot easier than the bigger stuff that we've been doing recently. I wish the work was a bit looser--the short brushstrokes are pretty evident--but overall, I think it came out okay.

El Capitan Final Illustration

Here is the final illustration for the world record poster. I used watercolor for this 13x19 job. I like the way it turned out. I wish some of the trees in the front weren't so rough. I think the rock face actually kind of looks like a rock face, weird. I can't wait to see it printed out as a poster, it'll be so cool! Oh, and the world record is for the tallest granite monolith in the world, which is this, El Capitan, located in Yosemite National Park, USA. It's 3000-and-some-odd feet high. Pretty tall. I have never seen it in person, but I love national parks so I will visiting it sometime soon hopefully. Actually, working in Yosemite this summer is my backup plan if all the internships/"real" jobs fall through. I'd be a housekeeper, aka general park bum, for the summer, and just backpack and hitchhike around the park. SWEET. Let's hope none of my other plans pan out!

Some marker comps

Here is a marker comp of El Capitan, the tallest granite monolith in the world. It is for my world record poster. I think the marker comp is pretty stellar. One of the better ones I've ever done.

Another awesome marker comp. This one is for the Missouri postcard project. This comp is a bit rougher than I would have liked, but I got the colors figured out and that's all that really matters I guess.

Second fruit. Ever.

I actually think this turned out pretty good. It's the second piece of fruit we had to airbrush. I obviously chose to do a slice of watermelon. I especially like the background. How fun!


My very first airbrush ever. Much like the first drawing I ever did, it is a bit rough. However, you can tell it's an apple.

Sunday, October 25, 2009


My conversation piece features three girls getting ready to play roller derby. My friends and I were talking about it after seeing the movie Whip It, which is the directorial debut of actress Drew Barrymore. The first picture is the pencil comp. I liked the set up and the intensity of the girls, but I thought the background was kind of boring. In the first marker comp, I tried to make it more interesting, but it kind of failed as well. The last marker comp works the best. In the final piece, I will use the same heavy line work and the same loose application of color. I will use watercolor.

finals of 3-object montage

Here are the finals of my 3-object montages. The first one was done admittedly hastily. Also, I did not spend enough time making sure the scanned and printed out version looked like the actual one, so there is a lot of color inconsistencies between the two. In the first one, I made Sitting Bull too dark. In the new one, he stands out more because I made him overall lighter. Before, the dark parts of the face got lost, but now, the facial features stand out more. Additionally, the ferris wheel is just done a lot better in the new one. Now, the lights look like lights instead of dots placed in rows. Also, I added clouds behind the ferris wheel in the new one to add a little intrigue. I think they help. I also did the background first, and then picked out the parts of the ferris wheel that were in the foreground. This technique worked much better. Overall, I think the second one is much improved compared to the first.

Marker comps for three-object montage

Here are two different marker comps I did for the 3-object montage. The first one that I did, the one on the bottom, was good, but too dark. Sitting Bull got lost in the trees of E.T.'s moon. So, I lightened up Sitting Bull in the next comp. This way, he stands out more and is the most prominent figure in the composition, much like he was the dominant figure amongst his people when he was alive.

Monday, October 19, 2009

3 object montage

Here are some initial sketches for my 3 object montage to be gouached. I had a hard time coming up with good images, but I think the ferris wheel, Sitting Bull, and E.T. moon are the perfect combination. More to come.

And... for your viewing pleasure....http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t4yUQJeKZNs

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Midterm portfolio

Here are the five illustrations I've chosen to include in my midterm portfolio. They are the memory portrait, the product illustration, the large watercolor, and two smaller watercolors. I've come to realize I like watercolor a lot more than gouache. 

Here is my memory portrait. I first used pen and ink and drew out the details.  Then, I used watercolor to add the color. I choose the color scheme because I thought the blues and purples caught the quiet mood well, and the yellow adds a little bit of contrast and fun.  Overall, I think it is successful because of the abstract use of color and the variation of line weights.

Here is my gouache product illustration. I choose to do a bottle of Sun Drop. This was one of the first gouaches I have ever done, so considering that, I think it's pretty good. I like the subtractive process that you can use in gouache, but it is easy for the image to get messy and muddy. My favorite part of the illustration is the top of the bottle and the bottom right corner, with the splashes. Oh, and the red splatters of blood.

Here is my large watercolor. I the subject matter of this one a lot. The image was taken from a photograph I took when driving back up to school from home on highway 100, around Hermann, MO. It's quite a beautiful little spot. I think the trees and clouds are pretty successful in this one. After doing it, I realized that you don't have to necessary have a lot of detail and visual information to get the same message across. I will probably go back and fix the messier parts of this illustration, ie the brushstrokey road and the parts of the sky that are too blotchy.

I like this little illustration because it is when I first started to understand how to use watercolor to its fullest potential. I realized that you can use a lot of water and have the surface really wet but still manage to have control over the piece. I really like the colors and the foggy lake.

The clouds in this one are probably the best I've done. I think I used tissues instead of paper towels to blot out the clouds, and it proved to be pretty effective. The landscape kind of looks like somewhere out in the Dakotas or maybe Wyoming. Cooooolll.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Finalizzzed cartoon

Here is my final, colored-in-Photoshop cartoon. Woot. Woot.
I don't know why the color is so off. It did that when I brought it to blogger. Weird!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

I really like this assignment.

Here are some sketches for the DMV cartoon.

And here's a rough, inked version.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Memory portrait final

Here is my final on the memory portrait. I used watercolor and ink pen because I wanted it to be pretty expressive. I like the line work a lot, but I think there could be a bit more variations of line weight. I think the watercolor could be better. Overall, though, I think the effect is nice.... What do you think, Rusty?

Friday, September 25, 2009

Memory portrait

Here are some color studies for the memory portrait.
I think doing a most white composition with some color would be cool, especially with watercolor, but it's something that I am going to have to experiment with.

I like these colors the best--they have a very domestic feel.

Just another idea.

This was the initial sketch.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Sundrop! at the scene of the crime

I splashed it with red and it looks like Blood.

Monday, September 21, 2009


Here is my first attempt at the "sexy" product illustration. I will have to start over because the surface was balling up on me because I didn't wait long enough between coating the surface and painting on it. It's probably a good thing that I am starting over because I want to change the composition anyways. I think there are some good things going on and it was a chance for me to experiment with different techniques for the background.

first attempt at gouache

Here is my first attempt (well I guess second since I started over) at gouache. It still remains quite splotchy and uneven, but I think with practice I could grow to like using gouache.

Large watercolor

This is the large painting I did. I used the Lucy to blow up a photograph of a road and then used watercolor in it. It still needs some work, especially in the sky and road. I need a bigger brush to really get it right. Also, for some reason I put on two coats of the gesso/matte medium/water mixture. I didn't like the way the watercolor sat on it, so I think from now on just one coat is enough.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Today's illustrations

I first drew this flower with pen and then went over it with watercolor. I think it worked out, though it is a bit crazy. I think the uncontrolled nature of it works in its favor, though. Also, I like the colors. I thought of Terry.

I painted this and then went over a little with pen. I again like the clouds, but the rest of it is rather iffy. I have not quite grasped when and how to use watercolor and then pen. I suppose if the picture had something dominant in the foreground, I could use the pen to put a lot of good detail in there, and use the pen sparingly in the middle and background.


I'm back tracking a little bit because I forgot to post these. They are from the day we had to paint architecture. Neither are very strong, but in the first one I began to grasp painting by just using the shadows. I thought the second one was fun and at least showed some sense of value.