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Saturday, June 19, 2010

Process Portfolio, You ARE The Bane Of My Existance

So, midterm is this week and our process portfolios are due on Monday for critique before a final print out...

Let me just say now how infuriating it can be to put one of these together. Going through my process work is like excavating an archeological site. Some pieces have tons of stuff in the beginning stages before I lay out the final piece, others have very little to nothing. Keeping a consistent theme from page to page is hard when each art piece was handled in a slightly different way. 

Now that's not to say that I do each piece of art in a brand new way. The approach is the same, but the number of steps it takes to reach a final piece varies. A piece I am doing that I know I will struggle with takes longer and more planning than one that springs forth from whimsy. 

The piece featured above was a school project in my advanced illustration class last term, intended to be an interior illustration for the Greek tragedy of Arachnia. The process for this can be seen on the left hand 'page' of the layout. It began with some initial sketches on tracing paper (<---something I almost never use) as no bigger than 5x5in scribbles to help me get a better feel for the composition.

From there I doodled out a figure standing trying to figure out how a toga would work, and having difficulty imagining this prompted me to then consider gathering reference materials from books and online sources.

This is a big step for me, reference materials. Normally I create file folders full of pictures to help me think. For this piece I looked at well over 50 pictures of different things from  togas to jewelry and also spent some time at the museum observing things in the Greek/Roman wing (obviously this is undocumented). Some of the reference proved useful so I weeded out some things that really came forward to highlight.

Next came the actual pencil. I had a composition drawn out earlier in a thumbnail, but while drawing the final I ran into some issues. So I asked a friend to model for me on the steps at school and from there was able to solve those issues.

I worked the final drawing up as l ayers on tracing paper (<----again not something I normally do). I didn't do color studies for this piece since I had decided early on to work in a palette I was already familiar with using. Early on in the color stage I scanned in my piece and did a greyscale study to help me figure out tonal issues, then continued on to finish the piece.

All of this is clearly laid out in the process pages above, with the left page being the process part and the right page the final image. Because I don't have a set template of how I am working on a layout I needed to tie things together through common elements. Talking this over with one of my teachers it was decided to scan in actual images of my sketchbook pages and use that as a background, and type and arrows as well.

This (I hope) lends to a more personal feel for what my sketchbook looks like.

This piece was much simpler in some ways than the Arachnia piece. The Girl With The Sleeve was a personal piece created from whimsy with no real application in mind at all but expressing some of the feelings I was going through at the time. She started out simply as a ballpoint pen drawing in my moleskin watercolor sketchbook. Really the only things I needed help with was coming up with the armature. 

I found a picture early on to help me support the rest of my drawing, using the pose for the image and only that, while taking what I needed to help push my own thoughts forward with the other reference material. 

Again I didn't do color comps. This was a bit freer than normal, though laying in the colors was influenced partly by the watercolor and figure studies class I am currently in. From there it was a matter of building up on the piece and bringing it to a state I am content with. 

This goes to show that the only elements tying my art together in my process portfolio is the background, type...and I suppose the actual process itself. 

There are only six images required for this portfolio, which focuses on the way we come to finish our work, as opposed to our final portfolio in which case only the finished pieces are shown. 

This is all driving me absolutely bonkers! I can't wait to put this behind me, though I know I will have to update this portfolio from time to time. And it's interesting to note my own changes in how I work and struggle with issues given how involved I was, how much feed back went back and forth, and also depending on media. There are a few pieces that were done strictly traditionally in watercolor, some that combine traditional with digital, and others done completely in Photoshop. Kinda like a diary I suppose....

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