I am currently working on a series of illustrations. As you can see, the first one is finished, so it's time for me to do a new blog post. Yay! Hopefully you feel the same?! I love reading artists blogs, where they share their processes and behind the scenes, so I feel excited to do that too! In this post I am taking you through the journey of creating this piece - The Minotaur.
Illustration One - The Minotaur
When beginning the process of an illustration, I like to start really simple. As simple as the scribbling of words in a notebook. They don't even need to make sense, as nobody is going to read them... Unless you go and share it in blog posts later, doh!
This is like warming up for me. No pressure, just let the mind run free and get anything that pops up, down on paper. Some of it will be useless, some will be little seeds that grow and grow.
Examples of the notes
Once I am on a roll with getting words down, visual ideas start to come to me, I like to get these down in the same notepad, they can look like a random scattering of little sketches, or very rough thumbnails. As these ideas develop I can start to organize what I like and what I don't, seeing this stuff altogether really helps for me, this part is like being in an idea generating arena, it's free and fun, I can play around by taking different bits from each sketch or thumbnail.
Once I have got some ideas that I am excited about, I will then make 3/4 thumbnails, this part again feels limitless and free. The main things I am exploring here are composition, mood and characters (if relevant)
Now it's time to choose the thumbnail I like the most, I will add a little heart above it, I like to do this because it's like signing off the decision and putting down my anchor for the next stage. Here is the thumbnail for page one, it is titled you guessed it! 'The Minotaur' as you can see my thumbnails are very rough and loose, these little things are NOT masterpieces, just clear enough to show the idea.
Now I have my idea Infront of me I can render it, for this piece it was working on the facial expressions of the characters, trying to capture the right mood for the scene in the story. These sketches are on A4 with graphite and charcoal. Being A4 it is much bigger than a thumbnail, but this stage is still exploring and quite messy, once I am happy with it, this is what I use as my reference for creating the final A3 piece.
The final illustration
Here is the final illustration, it is on drawn on Daler Rowney A3 mixed media paper. The materials I used are:
First layer of sketching: Graphite pencils.
Shading: Charcoal pencils.
Line work & background: Willow charcoal.
I hope you enjoyed the journey of this piece, I will be back next month to share what I have been up to in my studio.
Things I am loving other than making minotaur's and charcoal
The Handmaid's Tale - a dystopian tv series based on the 1985 novel by Margaret Atwood. This has to be the most frustrating, depressing series I have ever watched, so it is weird to be totally hooked on such a thing! but it is so well done! The acting is so incredible that when there is very little dialogue, that alone is enough to tell the story and emotions. I was trying to work out why I enjoy watching something that makes you feel so negative, I think it is the relief of leaving that world once you finish the episode and turn the TV off, you are immersed in this world where you can hardly breathe watching it, then you are just walking around your house like normal with total freedom! I highly recommend.
I went down a rabbit hole when I discovered Artisti Coffee Roasters youtube channel, they have seriously good videos on all things barista! I have been practicing my coffee skills at home and LOVING it, I am currently working on my oat milk flat white leaf art. I still haven't managed to do it properly, but I don't actually have the correct jug, must order one this week.
What a wonderful day to be creative on planet earth!