Thursday, February 20, 2014

True Love is TWISTED... Especial on Illustration Fridays.

     Yay! It's Illustration Friday and I'm pleased to share this week's challenge submission with you. I almost didn't participate this week as I was expected to still be working on a Project for a Drawing Club I am now part of.  I did, however, finish the drawing work on that project much sooner than expected, so I was able to sneak in an Illustration Friday Project, if I had an idea as soon as I found out what this week's topic would be.  I logged onto the site and read "TWISTED" at the top of the page...

IMMEDIATELY I had an idea for this topic!

     For some, I might imagine, the word twisted brings up dark and perhaps horrific ideas and images for a subject to this illustration challenge.  There is absolutely NOTHING wrong with that. Dark emotional spaces and parts of the human Psyche deserve to be explored and can make for very fascinating artwork.  Coincidentally the Drawing Club Project I am working on this week is dealing with that very subject in a very dark way.  So I felt that creating another illustration dealing with the dark part of the human mind would just be OVERKILL (pun intended.)  ;0P

     But... It's February and we just came out of Valentines Day and I really wanted to produce an Illustration that reflected the mood of this Holiday.  When I made that decision that my illustration would reflect the mood of love in the context of the word Twisted (which is tricky by the way)
This image instantly came to mind: Two Love Birds Twisted and Tied Together! I instantly thought of a flamingo with it's neck tied into knots. But this did not convey a sense of love or romance, so I decided, obviously, there would be two. I pretty much doodled out a quick compositional thumbnail right there and then.  I figured out how I would "tie" an "twist" the flamingo necks together (in shorthand).  I felt that knots were a really great visual metaphor for real life relationships. Nothing is usually cut and dry. EVERYTHING is "twisted" and tangled together. You and your significant other are woven together, just like these flamingos. I added the detail of their heads meeting in the shape of a heart.  It's certainly a visual cliche, I know, but what's a definitive Valentine's Day Illustration without a little typical Valentine's Cliche Iconography? ;0)

[A quick aside: I collect Children's Books; partly as a hobby and partly as a means to research the field.]

     One of my gifts this Valentines was a copy of Molly Idle's Flora and the Flamingo.  I though the coincidence amusing.  That my book should arrive in the mail today on the very week that I illustrate a pair of Flamingos in love near the calendar day set aside to celebrate Romance and Love.  It certainly made me smile to think about it.  If you haven't checked out that book (it came out last year) you should. Molly Idle is an Illustrator and writer and comes from an Animation Background. She left Dreamworks studios to pursue a career in children's literature.
She brings a wonderful storytelling perspective to this field. Any trained animator would recognize it even if they were not aware of her background.  The reason this is relevant is that Molly tells this story of a young girl who wishes to befriend an animal, a flamingo, with whom she has found a particular fascination with.  She tells this story completely with pictures alone and does it brilliantly and beautifully. The illustration work is absolutely amazing, elegantly simple and nothing short of breathtakingly gorgeous.  She is certainly not the first to do this, but you can tell that her "animator" was definitely showing in this project.

[Animators are trained to tell stories without words or dialogue as part of their education. Even though I chose to pursue a career in Illustration, I was also formally trained to be an animator.]

In Any Case....

     It is a Very Good example of how One Picture can definitely be worth a Thousand Words.

     SO FLAMINGOS!  I did some quick reference research and began to sketch out my Romantic Illustration for this month (as I had yet to make one and Illustration Friday's Topic Choice this month didn't really lend well to that.)
 I first caricatured my reference I found of Flamingo heads and then developed the rest of the illustration from there.  I also studied various knots and how they were made as this element was a crucial part of the concept of this illustration... Not to mention that without that element, it would not fit the context of the topic AT ALL.

     From there, It's pretty much business as usual with these type and style of Illustrations. I inked the final sketch, scanned it in and began to use my resource well of scanned paper and fabric textures to build up the illustration's layers. 

     I did add an additional echo of the heart shape in the background, just to really drive home that "cheese."  If only I had some wine to go with it right?

      Well I hope you all enjoy the Illustration and certainly enjoy the rest of your Friday and upcoming weekend.  I hope that you had a pleasant Valentine's Day last weekend, even if you are single.  I told a close single-friend of mine, recently, that on the years that I was a Single Man during Valentine's Day, I would plan a special evening for myself with some fun and a few treats that I certainly would not do normally.  I told her that, in this way, you get to enjoy Valentine's Day in either case, whether you have someone to celebrate Love with or you just celebrate it by loving yourself or your friends.  I never understood why anyone could complain about the Holiday if they approached it this way. Either way: HAPPY BELATED VALENTINES DAY!

On a side note: I HAD to share this photo because it was SO silly. I came across it when I was searching for photo reference... I'm gonna wear this next Valentine's Day out in public, I think or perhaps next year's Halloween Costume. LOL! ;0)

Well until next time, all you Love-Birds and Love-Yourself Birds...
Keep sketching, keep thinking, keep laughing and most important of all, keep making art. 

1 comment:

  1. Loving your "lovebirds!" I too collect children's books, and have Flora and the Flamingo on my list of ones to pick up!