The Birth of an Illustration: Melancholia

Hey folks. I just wrapped up this illustration above last night. I always enjoy seeing other artist's process so I thought I would put something together for this piece I climatically (read: trying to make it sound real deep and profound..haha) titled Melancholia.

So the assignment was to illustrate the poem "The Chair" by Russell Edson:

"A chair has waited such a long time to be with its person. Through shadow and fly buzz and the floating dust it has waited such a long time to be with its person.What it remembers of the forest it forgets, and dreams of a room where it waits -- of the cup and the ceiling -- of the Animate One."

I enjoyed the visuals of the poem and the open-endedness that it allowed so I did some intial writing and word associations and pretty much anything else that came to mind when I read the poem. I tried to imagine different scenes and designs that could incorporate the different imagery. That's what you see above...all my initial thoughts.

After letting it swim around my brain for a little bit I began to narrow the focus to the flies that were mentioned along with the chair. I made a little green thumb that I really enjoyed and started to get jazzed. I kept on sketching ideas out.

These guys above were me goofing aroung trying to make decisions on composition and style. I went in between tight line work and more loose work at least every couple hours. I think I hit a nice medium in the final thankfully.
After some talking with my teacher I made some value studies that spawned some color and style studies. My first idea from early on was to have the inside of the subway car be only black and white line and the outside be rendered in color, which you can see in the middle row. I didn't think that that was working too well so I went with the top right study and started cranking on the final.

This is the final line work. 80% is traditional brush pen and the rest is digital to clean it up and fill in some of the larger areas. You can see where I made some decisions such as the head of the foreground "grub guy" and the forest area. I went it and tried to stick to the complementary palette of the thumbnail although I tried to strategically use some yellow to pop some characters. I kept if flat and tried to work on value and what I wanted the focus to be (the chair.)

Kind of a big jump...but heres the final again. I overlayed some textures I found and scanned-in onto the suits and the large block above the characters. This along with using some film grain and other Photoshop jazz brought me to the final.

The timing worked out fairly well since we were in the process of making the Illest of Ill posters so graphic designer extraordinaire Willie Diaz (http://wdiazdesign.blogspot.com/) turned the illustration into a awesome submission poster!!

So looking back at the piece, I'm pretty stoked with it. It's my first major assignment in the new major and I think I started it off well. I did want to incorporate more traditional work into it though, so I'm making myself use more traditional materials on the next project. I'm also kind bummed at myself for going back to the green/red palette that I always rely on. I really need to expand my palettes. Hope this helps! Onto the next project!!
have a good one,
-francis

8 comments:

Robb said...

Francis that's awesome. I'd agree - great way to start the new major.

Only beef with it is the chair . . . is it floating, or is that back leg perched up on the root? Maybe I'm just a dummy and not seeing it right, I'm not knowing.

I only bring it up cuz it's all that bothers me in this otherwise unstoppably six-ified piece!!

keep it up and come visit us one day in 311

xoxoxo

Olumuyiwa Ajagbe said...

freakin awesome!

George Cwirko-Godycki said...

that is so awesome, i love the way you draw, the line quality is great

Angela Navarrete Dominguez said...

this is really fun stuff. Great work.

Sorry, its taken me so long to reply.

FYI; I'm grad student at Academy of Art. (last semester) hoooray!

Angela

Kim Kuchenbecker said...

This turned out soooooooooooooo amazing!!! Happy to see that you're kicking ass in illustration just like in CA:) Can't wait to see the next thing you do!
<3

Kim Kuchenbecker said...

This turned out soooooooooooooo amazing!!! Happy to see that you're kicking ass in illustration just like in CA:) Can't wait to see the next thing you do!
<3

Andrew Olson said...

I am really blown away by this piece dude, any way to get a print??

David Serna said...

This is great stuff.