So for those who’ve missed the discussion Forbidden Planet has been running a competition in the last couple of months to showcase what London illustrators can create in terms of book covers after some less than complimentary comments in Melanie McDonagh article in the Independent earlier this year.
The discussion about modern illustration went something like this.
Starting with the original article by Melanie McDonagh back in January.
Personally I just think some individuals are living in a bubble, don’t look beyond there own network of connections and frankly a lot of very lazy journalism is churned out. Sadly this is one such example.
She had some very salient points, especially for me, the idea that good illustration is not about drawing accurate portrayals it’s about visually encompassing the idea of a text in a way that makes it enticing to a potential reader.
Finally Forbidden Planet weighed into the debate and set a competition to show the diversity and ability of London’s illustrators.
Perhaps we as readers and artists need to challenge publishers the world over to commission more illustration from the amazing pool of talent instead of using stock photography as the default. Just a thought.
I’m back into life drawing at Adrian Duttons classes in Bethnal Green, partly because I’m lazy and it’s a two minute walk away but mainly because in the words one of my fellow MA graduates ‘he is the real deal’.
I’m also participating in UPside an exhibition at the Medcalf on Exmouth Market which will be starting in September.
The images above are from the second session I went to and although I have some misgivings about them I am getting a feel for how my line works. I’ve abandoned the pen in favour of the more flexible pencil although I’m now attacking the page like they were a pen.
In the 1 hour drawing I used a rubber for both creative and correctional efforts and am enjoying what it brings to the process.
I hope these inspire you to get out there and draw. I love life drawing because the timed poses mean you always walk away with a good selection of images from every session.
This is a very art centric piece, you often blur or blend a line or shading in pencil drawing using your thumb so this is that kind of idea looking up from underneath, as though the paper were glass.
Perhaps it should have been from above? Regardless I enjoyed this piece, it’s part life drawing practice part Illustration Friday challenge, our teacher encouraged us to use tonal drawing as a means of quickly creating a realistic ‘finished’ looking image. I enjoy the technique a lot.
I made this on a large A3 size sheet which allowed for a lot more detail but I still moved fairly quickly finishing it in a couple of hours.
I quite like working large and close up although the head of my course would say it should have more of the hand! That would be a large drawing but it may be worth trying!
I really enjoy using a variety of pencils to create different tonal shading effects. This was largely done with B, 3B, and 5B pencil and then I found my 4B graphite which I used for the British Museum sketches and adds a lot more contrast which is also nice.
Just as the term started I decided my drawing skills needed a boost that drop in classes weren’t providing. Luckily, literally 2 minutes walk from my flat in Bethnal Green is life teacher who holds various fine art drawing and painting classes through via the Meetup website.
As I never formally studied fine art at a tertiary level I thought this would be a good place to start and definitely haven’t regretted the move.
My post MA illustration commercial goals revolve around concept film and game work and these skills seem to be critical in this arena. Adrian Dutton runs a high quality class barely half way through the course the ten week course I’d felt I’d had my money’s worth.
I’ve posted a few pics here so you can see the kind of thing we’ve been doing.
Grid measured enlargement from the measuring session
Charcoal experiment for the tonal drawing session, covered the whole
page with charcoal and worked back with a putty rubber
This is also fits in very well with my MA project of creating a series of bestiary images.
Imagine FX have been running an excellent series in the back of the magazine about breaking down people and animals into basic shapes. I’d largely ignored it until I started this course and realised just how useful it could be when I come to do my bestiary images (ie. now!)
The learning curve is steep for my painting and drawing but it’s all worth it’s weight!