Thursday, March 6, 2014

I SEE What You Mean... LOUD & Clear! It's ALL in My EAR!


     Yay! Once again it is Illustration Friday! It is a space on the web and simultaneously a place in time to let your Artistic VOICE Be Heard!...

And for that, I am quite thankful. 

     These weekly illustration projects are just pure joy to work on, because there is really no pressure or expectation. It is me, as an artist, diving down into the deep side of my Mind-Pool and pulling out whatever I may find.  As you may have guessed, this week's topic is VOICE and at first I didn't really know what to do with that topic.  This concept didn't really come to me till much later in the week.  I thought that maybe I should go with the concept of your visual art being your Voice, as an artist.  The importance and relevance of this principle is something that most all of my professors tried to imbue upon us students when we were at school.  I'm not certain how many of us truly understand and appreciate the statement, that made it's way into this week's submission, until after we leave the parameters of formal education and you find that it is just you and pencils & paper, pens & paint brushes and just some thoughts and ideas in your head. 

      You eventually realize that EVERYTHING you create, as an artist, no matter what it is and what form it takes, says a little something about yourself.  This is, of course, pretty common knowledge amongst creative minds.  They might seem to think to themselves that they are always consciously aware that their art is their voice and that they are saying something every time they put pen/pencil/brush to a white/blank surface.
I liken this to knowing that there are hills and mountains somewhere in this state and that they are "pretty" when I see pictures of them... But, there is just SOMETHING about being outside in the mountains and seeing nature up close and personal.  It's SO Very different than just "knowing" it's there. This is the reason I used this week's topic to visually restate this, not only for myself, but for any artist who sees it.  It can be a visual reminder, right in front of them, whose purpose (I hope) is to inspire them to get more in touch with their "inner artist" and re-discover their Voice, artistically and maybe personally.

      The process behind this week's illustration was a bit different than how things normally go.  Since I was incorporating text into the image, I knew there would be a hint of Graphic Design work that must be done to complete this illustration.  I don't usually integrate typography into my illustration work so I was excited to work on this illustration as Typography was going to be my "Star" this time. The first thing I did was research and find my texts.  I wanted to use fonts that looked hand written or drawn/doodled onto the page.
I was inspired visually to simulated the old sandwich blackboards you would see outside of delis.  This visual style has become quite popular over the last 4-5 years and is finding it's way into other areas in the world besides the exclusive arena of sandwich advertising.  Since my purpose was to feature and visually show an written statement about art, imagination and creativity, I wanted my font choices to also be just as creative and inspired as the statement itself.  In this instance, the words are the SUBJECT of my illustration.  Everything else that surrounds it is there to support and compliment the words.

      After choosing a basket-full of font choices, I typed out my statement and began copying the statement in each font I was interested in possibly using.  I then figured out the layout of how I wanted my text to fit and flow with each other.  Since I do my fair share of Graphic work on a weekly basis, this was kind of a walk in the park for me.  The layout and the emphasis on certain words in the statement allowed for easy and obvious choices in the fonts I had picked out to use.



      After I had my statement more or less the way I wanted it visually, I began work on my Badger Character, or rather I should say the ME Badger Caricature.  I decided to incorporate a separate art project I had in my Idea Journal about caricaturing myself as a Badger.
I meant it to be used as an allegoric self-portrait.  The short and sweet explanation of such is that I have, as of recently, felt like I have a nagging tendency to "BADGER" others.
The context and subject matter of the badgering varies upon the situation and the intended "badgeree."  They say the first step is to admit it, then you can work on it.  So I admit, I have a small bad habit of sort-of badgering or strong-arming others into things.  A small defense, it's not necessarily for personal benefit. A badgering may occur because I believe a particular course of action would help the badgeree... If only they would JUST LISTEN, right? lol.  I confess, it must be annoying, but anyway....


      I remembered a line of dialogue from a scene in one of my favorite movies, Party Monster.  It's the "Jerry Springer" scene where all the Club Kids are discussing who they are and what they do, or a lack of the latter in their cases.  James St. James (played by Seth Green who does an AMAZING job), who is dressed from head to toe like a green and glittering Treasure Troll, says,"It's ALL About EXPRESSION.
If you FEEL like a TROLL, then you should LOOK like a TROLL. Throw some glitter on the humpback, Darling, and go dancing!"  I remember just loving that bit of the movie and always think about what I would look like if I dressed up as the object or thing that I felt like.  So, in this instance, I wanted to dress up like a Badger to express my guilt and acknowledge to myself that I was being one.  Ive also ALWAYS LOVED Disney's adaptation of Robin Hood.  I love Animal Allegories and am always inspired by them and find myself wanting to create them.


      SO, I decided that this particular illustration project would be a great venue for my Badger-Self to make a cameo appearance. It really makes sense to do this, as the statement says to express your inner self and feelings in a visual and creative manifestation.  So HERE HE IS, Lewis the Badger. I dressed him in some of my favorite clothes and he is wearing my custom and very colorfully artsy Chucks.

      Lastly I will talk about the "Doodled" visual metaphor that represents my imagination or just imagination in general.  I wanted to create a sort of visual gradation that shows the beginning words of the statement more or less reside in my imagination and then as the statement progresses in words, it slowly becomes more of a physical manifestation of whatever artistic thought my imagination was trying to create.  As you may notice the words at the end of the statement more or less are linked more to the pencil. 

      By the way, I thought the idea of a pencil that drips out the Art was an interesting idea to illustrate.  This also alludes and visually connects, conceptually, that whatever the pencil is drawing is directly linked and related to the thoughts floating out of Badger-Me's ear.  the "drops" closely resemble some of the Imagination "shapes."  This was intentional.

     The visual thoughts behind why I decided Imagination should look like this, was comprised of 2 separate visual sources.  One was just free from doodles I researched online.  I sow SO many different ones. I felt like when I doodled the Imagination Shapes that seeing all that free-form doodling guided me organically through the process of my doodle choices.
 Here Again, this process is where my illustration process deviated from the norm. After I layed out my Text and drew my badger self, I scanned him in and placed the sketch of him next to the words I typed and layed out.  I then printed this "sketch" and light-boxed the badger-self and the words. Yes, I re-drew the typography, every letter.
I wanted it to be a part of the art from the Very Beginning of the process, since it was the epicenter of the entire illustration.  It was vital to start with the words, since they are essentially where the idea begins.  When I was done light-boxing the Badger and the Typography. I then detached my inked drawing from the light-box and free-handed the doodles over it.  I wanted this part to be as organic as possible, because creating the image in this manner, in some way, honors the process it represents. Sometimes the process that you go through to create the art is just as important as the final image.  An artist's process can have meaning and symbolic relevance, even if just for the artist him/herself.


Going back a bit...  
 

     The second visual inspiration for my Imagination Shapes, comes from the book and film, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince (which, incidentally, has been playing in audio book form in my studio all week).  IN the book/film, if you have never read or seen it, there is a concept of what the physical form of a memory or thought could be.  The story describes it as a thin silvery kind of slimy substance.  The film likens it to something that resembles what happens when you drop ink into water.  You can pull these memories out of your head through your ear or even through the side of your eyes.  It's a neat idea to me, visually.  I wanted to use it in my illustration.  So I have my Imagination doodling out of my Badger Ear. 

     This pretty much wraps it up for Illustration Friday's Post this week.  I hope you all enjoy the rest of your Friday and that at some point this weekend, find a way to Let Your VOICE be heard in your universe that you live in. :0)

until next time,
Keep sketching, keep thinking, keep laughing and most important of all, keep making art. 
Cheers,
LEWIS









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