In describing myself with a word list, I ended up deciding that I wanted to portray myself as happy, because I am an extremely optimistic person, but also illustrate my affinity for the macabre, which I consider to be an important part of my identity. I also knew that I wanted to caricature myself a bit because I have never done that before and I greatly admire graphic novel style illustration. My goal was to create a piece that looks entirely recognizable as myself while not being photo-accurate and also to appear happy/smiling while gory, which is a good challenge.
I ended up using cross-hatching on the finalized sketch to better convey shadows, but I knew I wanted to stick to mostly one-directional line shading when I digitized it. To cartoon-ize myself, I enlarged my eyes and made my head more round. It was quite challenging to get the open mouth at the right angle and I don’t think I accomplished that with this sketch. I made quite a few changes to the proportion/angle of the jaw in the digitized version.
Since I wasn’t sure what color palette I wanted to go with, I made my skin and hair their natural hue with the idea that I would experiment with them later. This was my first time using the Wacom pen and monitor, so I spent a fair bit of time figuring out the best way to separate the layers. I tried to use several different line widths, and I did some reverse-cross-hatching instead of one-directional shading for the white highlights for a different texture. If I were to change something, I would experiment with different line widths and directions for the shading on the face.
After receiving feedback, I decided to look to classic horror posters for color palette inspiration. It didn’t take me long to decide on Frankenstein, as it’s my favorite horror series. The poster uses a classic and well-balanced color palette that is exciting to view, and I drew inspiration from the background and typography as well:
The sketching activity challenged me because, while I have some experience drawing from life, it’s not something I do very often. I find myself trying to draw from multiple angles/perspectives, and trying to focus my sight into one view is difficult. I enjoyed practicing my cross-hatching, and I’m glad there was a time-limit, because I tend to get carried away with that and make my drawings too dark. This was good practice for the self portrait because I thought about how I’d like to extend the techniques I tested here onto a digital platform, and how I’d like to change it. For one thing, I think the cross-hatching can get a bit muddy unless one is very careful, so I went with mostly one-directional line shading in my final portrait. The one-directional lines are challenging as well, because one must be very precise when attempting to build up shadows.
I am not very happy with this sketch, but then I’m never really happy with any sketch I do. If I could change something about it, I’d erase the shading on the face and spend more time making her skin and facial features look more realistic. I think she looks a bit like she’s wearing a mask, they way I’ve done it.
Each of these artists has sharp line work in common. It’s a technique I adore and use frequently in my drawing, as well as something I’d like to improve upon this semester.
I’m very inspired by Tong’s line work. His Instagram page is especially helpful for me as I learn to use Photoshop because he includes progress photos for almost all of his pieces. To see the full process from pencil, to black ink, to Photoshop is very interesting and educational. I also love his color palettes and his use of layers for screen printing. His works are usually visually dark yet still vibrant, with poignant highlights or bright shapes adding contrast. I will keep these things in mind as I plan out future projects. I want to practice layering colors in a screen printing style more as I use Photoshop on future projects, as well as improving my line work.
Jenn // Specimen Illustrations
This artist’s line-work style strikes a chord with me, and is exactly what I’d like to be able to do. It’s very detailed but still very free-form. She focuses specifically on nature and animal subjects, but I’d like extend this style myself onto more modern subjects like machine parts or architecture.
CAS // Crap Panther
I take a lot of inspiration from this artist’s horror content. Once again, her line-work is very sharp, strong, and detailed. I also admire her color palette choices- they are kept simple and are slightly different for each piece, but her entire body of work shares a strong, cohesive palette.