I've been looking back over a lot of my work lately. Sometimes depressing sometimes invigorating.
Looking over work, you notice the little changes that mark tuning points in your illustration. Sometimes visible only to the artist or a tuned in art director. These petite experiments can appear small but may have large repercussions.
My experiments have been with collage. An effect that I have incorporated, using what I have learned in Photoshop. Also not being a bull headed neo-Luddite. Just kidding.
My in-house Art Director has been after me to experiment with collage for a while now, and recently suggested that I do so to bring in more texture. I admit I was reluctant, since to MY eyes, the airbrush work had plenty of nice texture as it was. But I thought better, and decided to experiment.
The first experiment was in the illustration of Bluegrass singer, Alicia Nugent. I brought in a texture, the embossed leather pattern, that was added specifically to focus and enhance the concept. The color was a "happy accident".
In the illustration of singer Cassandra Wilson I wanted storm clouds and had planned to airbrush them. But I HATE my clouds, I'm never happy with them. So I decided to get good photo reference. The reference looked so good I thought, why not just place it over the tonal area. So I did. I had to actually use two masked layers to get the look I wanted.
Both uses of collage in each illustration were relatively small and insignificant…to most everyone but me, and my In-house Art Director. The petite experiments worked, I liked the results and the journey along the way. Definitely invigorating and fun.
I'm sure I'll do more petite experiments.
Live fast, draw hard.