Illustration – The Gunman.

Illusions, Uncategorized

This illustration was created mainly for me to improve my workflow and broaden my understanding of working with clipping masks and layers. I spent a lot of time experimenting with how Photoshop works for illustration during the process of creating this image. In this post i will try to breakdown the main steps in how i brought this image to completion and what i learned from the process.

Initially this illustration was sketched, drawn and written about in an earlier blog post, however i did not feel like it was completed. The line art was done and i added some blood spatter to illustrate wings. But i wanted to take it further and experiment with colour and some shading.  The previous post can be seen here : Wings of blood.

A previously drawn sketch / line art

A previously drawn sketch / line art

To continue working on this illustration i first cleaned up the sketch again and began reworking and preparing it for the next step.  After i removed the spatter i re-cropped the image to be in portrait mode instead of landscape mode. I also refined the line art.

 

While working on the image i organised the layers into folders, even though this consumes the focus and some time from working on the illustration itself, it was well worth it for the workflow later. I could then click through the layers and display them as i saw fit while working on the illustration.

Layer folders

Folders created for the layers during the illustration work flow.

I proceeded to add the base colours to have a middle tone to work from. This means having a base that i could work in both lighter and darker colours if needed. I also added a somewhat bland background colour to further figure out my colours later.

Working with Pure white as a background is not good when trying to figure out skin colours etc as it is a very sharp and dominating colour, it will influence the choices you make, as darker colours look a lot darker in contrast to the white background.

 

 

After i added the base colours i used a colour slider to tweak the colours on each layer. This makes the overall colour scheme more cohesive and ensure the different colours and layers work well together. Following your instincts during this process is important.

This affects the aesthetic of the whole illustration so taking the time to get the base colours just right (in accordance with your own taste) is time well spent.

Base colours 2

Base colours have been tweaked using the colour slider on each layer.

When all the base colours are a nice mid-tone and seem coherent, the next step was adding two layers to each folder. One for shadows and one for the light. Personally i always start with the shadows as these are larger blocks of degraded light. filling in the shadows also helps in figuring out where the light is actually coming from.

shadows.png
The shadows add some needed depth to the illustration. Finally the highlights are added as well as some final detailing to finish the illustration. The highlights also puts some further emphasis the shadows. They can be used to make the shading more gradient as well, giving the image a more completed feel in regards to the direction the light is coming from.

final image.png

In this image the lighting is coming from the right side of the person.

For future illustrations i think i would benefit from experimenting more with bounce lighting. It is also evident to me that i am not completely confident when it comes to colours. These are aspects of illustration i will be working on to further improve my work.

Blending is also something i am intending to work on. Too much gradients when it comes to blending makes the illustration look a little flat. Being rougher with edges, lighting and shadows could be better as it may create more interest and depth.

Thank you for reading.     -J

Design & Art History – The Psychedelic Movement (CA.1960-1970)

Design & Art History, Mandatory Assignments, Uncategorized

” The sixties was the last idealistic time, the years that shaped an entire generation. An era that some say ended with the death of president Kennedy and Martin Luther King jr.”

 – The Sixties – The Years That Shaped a Generation. – [Documentary]

 

In the late sixties something happened to an american generation that would mark them forever. It is a story of war, the struggle for racial equality and the explosion of counter culture, it was a time when a generation rebelled, and lost its innocence in the fight against injustice. Vietnam was the first ever televised war, and the images were inescapable.

A decade that ended with disillusionment and rage began on a moral high note. Thanks to Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King jr, it seemed the time for racial equality in the US had finally arrived.

There is so much to write about in this era, that it is very difficult to select just one thing to focus on. Even though there is an absurd amount of art and design that stems from this time period. When we talk about the “sixties” all we seem to recognise is the music, psychedelic rock and artists like Janis Joplin and Jimmy Hendrix in particular.

Album art and festival posters however is a good place to start. As music was a force to be reckoned with, so came the album art work and poster designs, hand in hand.

One thing that seems to be re-occurring with most of the visual artists at the time is a relation with underground comix. These were small press or self published comic books, usually socially relevant and satirical in their nature. These depicted content deemed unfit and forbidden to the more strict mainstream media.

 

Rick Griffin :
When we look up band posters it is hard to avoid finding a Grateful Dead poster somewhere, anywhere. The artist behind these were Rick Griffin.He was an american artist and one of the leading designers of psychedelic posters in the 1960s

His work within the surfing subculture included both film posters and his comic strip, Murphy.

Album art for the Grateful Dead album Aoxomoxoa and a poster for the Quicksilver Messenger Service at Avalon Ballroom 1/12-14/68 by Rick Griffin.

 

 

 

Victor Moscoso :
A Spanish-American artist, Moscoso was the first of the rock poster artists of the 1960s era with formal academic training and experience.

After studying art at the Cooper Union in New York and later attending Yale University, he moved to San Francisco in 1959 to study at the San Francisco Art Institute. Here he later became an instructor. He was one of the first of the rock poster artists to use  photographic collages in his art work.

His art and poster work has continued up to the present and he is a big inspiration to rock poster and album illustrators to this day.

 

 

Bonnie MacLean :
Another American artist making a name for her self at the time was Bonnie MacLean. She was born in Philadelphia and graduated from the Penn State University in 1960.

She then moved to New York where she worked at the Pratt Institute while attending drawing classes in the evenings. She later moved to San Francisco where she met and worked with a man named Bill Graham, who became famous as the promoter of rock concerts at the Fillmore Auditorium. There she worked alongside another artist by the name of Wes Wilson.

Wilson had a falling out with the promoter Bill Graham. Bonnie MacLean had been painting noticeboards at the auditorium in the psychedelic style, and took up the creation of the posters after Wilson left.  Thirty of her posters are now listed in the collection of the Brooklyn Museum.

 

 

Wes Wilson :
The aforementioned artist Wes Wilson was also one of the leading illustrators of psychedelic posters in the 1960`s. Working with Bill Graham and Bonnie MacLean, he was a big part of promoting venues at the time with posters and illustrative work for musicians and bands.

The font and lettering of the posters from this era were created by him. he popularised this “psychedelic” font around 1966 that made the letters look like they were moving or melting. This lettering is still used on newer albums and art works for artists like Foo Fighters, Kyuss Lives and The Queens of the Stone Age.

This in turn proves that the psychedelic movement is still influencing artists, especially in the world of metal, desert rock and stoner rock. The style is very much still alive as its own staple.

 

 

Modern poster styles :
Posters still influenced by the styles of art work can be traced through homages and inspirations in rock and metal posters from the present all the way back to this era.

Many more modern posters can be viewed on the web pages of Malleus Rock Art Lab if you should be interested. I personally find a lot of inspiration through their imagery.

Thank you for reading.