Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Test prints

I forgot to tell you about my test prints.
Yesterday I printed off a couple of pages just to test and see how it looks. It turned out ok but I wasn't completely happy.
The skin of the front cover looked very washed out and pale. I have tried ot combat this by putting a black line around it like a pencil outline. I tried to use a pale grey to fit in with the pencil look but it ended up looking even more washed out. The black gave it a lot more strength.
I also had to add some black definition to the face, otherwise my girl looked like she had no eyes, which isnt really the look I was going for.

A few of my colours turned out darker in the print than they were on the screen. I added some paler colours over the top to try and lift it, especially in the dress.

trying to print...

is stressful.

My file seems to be massive and keeps crashing the printers computers. Oops

Working on the inside pages of my file didn't go exactly as planned. Here were some of the problems I encountered:

- Trying to balance the intense colour of the photo and the very simple style of the illustrations. I ended up choosing denser backgrounds to try and balance the colour and richness of the photo.

- I planned on having the photo on just one A5 page, possibly two photos. But having two photos felt very disjointed and out of balance. When I selected the image I wanted it then didn't fit well at all on one page. Eventually I decided to spread it over two pages. I think this provides the document with a good center of balance.

- Fitting text in with illustrations. I tried about a million and one different backgrounds for the text page. Picking up on the fading of the photo to its left, picking up on the coloured gradient circles from the opposite end of the concertina, solid shapes, gradients, loopy lines to tie with the line work elsewhere in the inside. It was just so tricky to find one that harmonizes with all the different facets. In the end I decided to keep it simple grey scale to offset the rich photo next to it. I used a little line work to link it with the right hand end of the file

Now that I know how to use the gradient tool I've been going a little crazy with it. It gives you so many pretty colours!

For the backdrop for my text, I have used the cloud image from the front cover and changed the colours over the top to give it a rainbow effect. This picks up on the style of image in Datu's Dreamscape series, while giving the whole file some unity.

Monday, March 28, 2011

You learn something new every day:

And today I learned that you CAN change the colour of the gradient in illustrator.

I was rather frustrated the other day when I couldn't work out how to alter the gradient to put in colour instead of black and white. I just assumed that it must be one of those annoying settings that is locked to being the preset colours. But then I had a brainwave and decided to Google it. I found loads of helpful pages explaining quite simply how to change it.

By clicking on the gradient tool, a gradient slider scale pops up over the top of your object. Yoou then just need to double click on the little arrow toggle at the base of the slider scale and you can set THREE different colours of varying opacity.
Rather cool really.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

The little things

I've just been touching up my cover illustration. There were a few little things that had to be fixed to make the illustration look realistic:
- shoes on her feet
- shading down the backside of the dress, ie. DEPTH
- definition on the face
- shading at the join of her face and hair
- an ear

The cover is coming together. Slowly.

I had to use lots of layers for the dress. For the top layer I used a variety of brushes to create the bodice of the dress, to sit above the skirt. The skirt is made up of lots of layered shapes. I gave them scalloped edges to help them blend into the clouds of the background. I gave them a variety of colours and an opacity of about 40% to create a sense of depth in the dress. On top of all of that I added some smoke brushes to blend into the clouds and give it some more texture.

I chose to use darker colours than I first anticipated in the skirt. With paler colours the cover looked very washed out and anemic so the bolder colours really lifted it and balanced the white of the figure.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

It looks like I'll be gluing...

When it comes to sticking stuff together or really doing anything at all with glue, I become completely incompetent. The number of times I have had double sided tape stuck in my hair, superglue on the carpet and pages stuck down crooked it beyond memory. So I thought I would be really clever and save myself some work by just printing my concertina on an A0 sheet of paper and cutting it out. But alas no. Apparently printers can't print A0 double sided sheets. How ridiculous.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Some cover inspiration.

I think this slightly blurry style creates a lovely sense of calm and reflection. I don't really think it is appropriate for my cover as I have quite a hectic background. But I can still appreciate it!

Dare to dream.

I've been trying to work out how to explain the quality I want my cover illustration to capture. I am trying to blend the figure into the background and make her almost fade into it and really be a part of the landscape. Eventually it occurred to me that the work I want is dream like. I want the cover to seem other worldly and hazy, like when you just wake up and try so desperately hard to remember the dream you just emerged from and really want to go back to. I also realized that unintentionally my artists seem to have a bit of an obsession with the idea of dreams. Coincidence?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

cover development

In colouring my skin I decided to go for grey to contrast with the rest of the colours of the cover. I think the contrast of the white on the colour is quite striking and really lifts the figure off the page. I drew on Kilroy's use of pencil and negative space as inspiration for my skin work. I tried using some illustrator brushes or gradients and it looked very artificial. Instead I chose to do my pencil work by hand using 2B, 4B and 8B pencils. I then scanned them into the computer and used the pen tool to cut out the shape I wanted. A bit of the definition, especially in the face seems to have been lost so I may go over that with an illustrator brush.

When comparing the front image to the inside images, there is a noticeable lack of consistency in the colours and feel of the images. I have altered the colours of the front image to pick up on the pinks and oranges of the inside and form a more cohesive design.

For the hair I have used a variety of different charcoal brushes in varying weights and shades of grey. I didn't want ot he hair to appear as one lump of colour, so I have tried to make it appear realistic with lots of thin strokes. The back layers have thicker strokes in darker colours. I then built on top of that with thinner and lighter coloured strokes. It still needs another top layer to add more depth and really give it some weight.

I have dowloaded a bunch of new brushes such as ink brushes and smoke brushes and they create a lovely hazy line that will blend in excellently with the backdrop of my cover illustration.


I've been thinking about how to connect all my images together even though they are by totally different artists. The images themselves ar eall rather busy and detailed so I'm trying to keep the backgrounds pretty simple to compliment that.
I'm trying to join them together through a use of similar colours, drawing on the colours of Datu's photo and Kareena's illustrations to tie in with the black and white works. I am also thinking of adding some line work to try and join the different works? I'm not really sure yet. Some experimentation will be needed!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

This is the first snapshot of my cover illustration, now I just need to start on my figure.

For her skin I will draw on Richard Kilroy's style of grey shading and negative space.

This will be contrasted with the layers of blue in the skirt.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Where to start?

I've had a couple of different ideas for my front cover, but have decided to try and pick up on the feel of the images within to influence my style. I really love Joshua Datu's dreamscape photos that combine layers of photos to make really surreal landscapes. I chose to use one of his images as a backdrop.

I decided to add further layers to the image by adding another picture over the top.

My next issue was selecting an figure that would fit into that landscape without looking totally out of place. I chose this Gemma Ward photo by Craig McDean for Vogue Italia. The volume and layers of her dress are really interesting and provide a lot of opportunity to experiment with brushes and layers. I think it is ideal for the layout as the dress is reminiscent of the clouds and can be blended into the background to create a cover that ties together.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

gareth pugh
i love you

how can you even try to resist the sparkle?

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Joshua Datu: Dreamscapes

Because sometime the journey there makes the destination that much cooler

Pick a pose:

Things to look for:

a) something visually interesting, strong, dynamic, dramatic

b) something with potential

The short list:

[Ok so maybe I just love Gemma Ward]

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Landscapes without Memory

software developed by the US Air Force
cartographic data
Gauguin, Van Gogh & Cezanne


a no-man's land between the virtual and the real,
between truth and illusion.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Kareena Zerefos: if only we could all have such cool names

A combination of the past and the future,

the natural and the unnatural,

animals and humans,

dreams and nightmares.

composition, suggestion and simplicity

Richard Kilroy

I want to paint disturbed lyrics, a second before a catastrophe, insecurity...

How would you describe yourself and your art?
There is a divergence familiar to everyone: who I am and who I want to seem. For instance, I wanted to paint disturbed lyrics, a second before a catastrophe, insecurity or the loneliness of a little man the way it would not look like a soap opera or a melodrama. Sometimes I want to make thriller - to convey horror so that it would become inexplicably terrifying. And sometimes to make all these topics together and with a shade of absurd. Probably it turns out to be something else. But at last it's unimportant if it caught someone's attention for more than 5 seconds.

Once, two women were listening to one of 46 Haydn's symphonies. Both were excited after listening and close to tears: one was scared by sinister untrodden wood, the other worried about furry rabbit running about meadow. I'm sure that Haydn himself had imagined these options...

96 days away and finally back to uni