⭐️ An illustration
An how I made it.
When I used to send out work to an agent, one of them wrote back saying something to the effect of “I’m not feeling it”. It was short and curt, and I don’t even remember who gave me the feedback.
Adam's Notes is a reader-supported publication.
By this point I had become adapt at teasing out and interpreting the content of short feedback. I looked at the five images that I sent, through that agent’s eyes. I let the words, “I’m not feeling it”, guide my viewing.
There was a lack of emotional connection to the work I was making. I had been working through a list based on previous agent rejections. “ Draw more animals, and kids doing things, in these expressions, in a scene etc…”
But in trying to do what an agent wanted, I had not put a lot of myself into those illustrations. To fix that, I did a series of illustrations based on quotes from ‘The Lord of the Rings’ this is one of those illustrations.
💎 To connect with an illustration project as much as possible pick subject matter that you really care about. Every assignment, will allow you to choose some content, a plant or a building. What particular detail will you add to a scene? Inject the feels.
I do my best work when I collect reference images for my work as a distinct step. This is an extension of choosing content, it’s choosing visual content. Not choosing what finally goes into the illustration, but choosing a range. My choice of search keywords is one layer of filtering. My choice of images is a second layer.
💎 Breaking research into a distinct steps reduces the interruption during the drawing time, and time boxes the research stage. Leaving you more time and focus for the subsequent stages.
Tom Froese taught me this idea of having two modes of sketching.
The first is called O-Mode sketching. Observation Mode. These are studies drawn in no particular style, the purpose is really to translate what you see in the reference onto paper, to upload visual information to your brain. To learn to see the subject.
This second mode of sketching is called I-Mode. Idea Mode how do I not just copy the object but create something combining Content, Research, and my way of working (My style) to create something new and unique that will give the viewer ‘feels’.
Now I’m ready to go about making an illustration, in truth, all the prior steps were already part of the making. Here’s a time-lapse video of the making of this illustration. In my particular way I block out shapes, mould them, and fill them with texture. Using as few lines as possible in the final illustration.