This is a post on illustration. Namely my illustration. So let me get right to it.
What is illustration? Illustration more than just drawing. According to Merriam Webster the definition of Illustration is: A picture or diagram that helps make something clear or attractive. An example or instance that helps make something clear. The action of illustrating : the condition of being illustrated.
In other words, illustration is the act of drawing something to express or make something more understandable. I like to think of it as a way of better communicating an emotion. Every illustrator has their own style of drawing things. Mine tends to be a little like graffiti and anime. My style is good for mascots and characters. Perhaps your business or team needs a character to display the attitude of the team? That is where I come in.
I mainly work in one of two locations. My home office and my office downtown. I live out in the country and work in downtown Spokane. Both are great locations to really feel my work.
I started drawing when I was little. But that is not what got me interested in drawing. It wasn’t my drawings that did it. It was how I felt when I saw other people’s work. Today, in this modern age, it is really nice to have resources like Instagram, Dribble and Behance where you can discover and follow artists that really motivate you. Growing up during the height of graffiti it was a real boost to my energy level to discover additional graffiti inspired artists from all around the world, like Cheograff, for example. They move me in such a way that I feel I have to pick up a pencil and produce drawings myself, to sort of vent my artistic frustrations. Does that make sense?
I grew up in a small western town in the middle of nowhere. I used to draw and doodle all the time growing up. But it wasn’t until I saw my first burner that I knew I wanted to draw forever. The problem was I had nothing like that where I lived. And on top of that no access to it. It wasn’t until the internet came about that I could finally expose myself to the amazing art that hip hop inspired. I have been plugged into that under current art world ever since. Illustration has inspired my music interests as well as my career choices. I design websites thanks primarily to illustration. This is why it is offered as one of my skill sets on my website.
My process right now starts with a pencil and paper. I don’t use a tablet right now. I sketch out my illustrations until I have an idea I know I would like to work with. I have to feel what it is I am going after in order to illustrate it. It seems funny, but I feel I have to be motivated in order to draw the character, etc. I have to feel it.
After I have the sketch done I work on the pencil drawing; cleaning up lines and so on. I take photos of what I am working on often so that I can see the drawing from a different perspective. Most of the time I try to finish a drawing the same day I start on it. When I am unable to finish, I will go back over the photos and see if there is anything I would like to redo or change. There is always something. 😊
After I have the pencil drawing where I want it, I begin working on the inks. My style right now has an emphasis on hand drawn, so don’t expect smooth lines in everything. I work on the same line weight in the beginning even though I try to vary the line weight a little throughout. Next I use a slightly heavier line weight for the outline and to deepen the important lines. After the ink is dry, I erase the pencil as best I can and go back in with super fine lines to add detail and texture. Then I take some more photos of the work and upload them to the computer.
In photoshop I lighten the image and increase the contrast so that the ink lines are more prominent. And then I take the image into Illustrator and trace the illustration. From there I add color. I usually do not spend a whole lot of time on color. I need to work on that, but it is extremely difficult when you are working with a mouse instead of a pen tool.
That about sums up my process. I expect it to change as my tools change. I am always trying to learn new techniques and styles to work with.