Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Illustrator note: Thinking is actually doing.

Just a quick post as I am knee deep in paintings but thought I would add a little Illustrator note-perhaps only to remind myself of the importance of taking a moment to step back and think about the piece that you are currently working on. The thinking before you take up the brush or stylus is vital, but that is a whole different post.

I have been cranking out paintings at a ridiculous rate. Deadlines have made it so. I can get the paint on the piece and have it looking pretty good fairly quickly but we all know how easy it is to ruin an illustration by overworking. If you think you are about done, take a break-work on something else for a few hours. When you come back try to trick yourself into viewing the piece through the a fresh set of eyes. Ask yourself; are the rhythms  working, the dark light balance, have you lost the drawing?

I am a big proponent of adopting Illustration/painting mentors to guide you through a project. I collect examples of work that appeal to me and speak to the look and feel that I am striving for in a set of paintings. Take a moment to open those files and really look at the paintings and evaluate your own work in that context.

Finding that little bit of space can be just the thing to suggest the few tweaks to your own painting and hopefully save you hours of fiddling around. This little bit of thinking work is just as, if not more important than the physical work of creating the illustration.

Old news to many in the craft but worth reminding myself.


Stuart Gormley said...

Well said and there is never anything wrong with sending out such a reminder. When I finish a drawing I don't sign my name to it at that point. I allow it to sit away from my vision till the next day and then I look it over freshly, change a bit here, add a bit there and then I sign my name upon it. Ok, sometimes I go in and peek at it and think about the changes but I still try to step away from it.

:) Stuart

Rosemary Shojaie said...

Dear Mr. Denise,

I hope you don't mind me writing this here - I've really enjoyed your illustrations ever since I saw your lovely pastels for Brian Jacques' stories a long time ago. I've been meaning to leave a comment for quite awhile but I suppose I've been slightly hesitant. Anyways, just thought I'd say I read your post just as I was feeling the same thing myself about my own illustration work and felt encouraged by your advice, thank you!

With best wishes,
Rosemary Shojaie


What a wonderful and helpful message, just when I need it! I found you from an Etsy sellers favorites, and I recently began painting whimsical animals myself. Teaching myself - no funds for formal education - its so hard but something I've longed to do for a very, very long time. Thank you so much for your generosity in sharing this much needed advice!