Friday, 20 December 2013

Friday 20th December 2013 - Christmas Closures

Greetings all!

Thought I'd post this here, and just link to it so everybody knows the times I'll be working over the Christmas period - some of my publishers are on a break, well, I'd imagine everyone is, so whatever.

Today: 20th December - My last day in the studio, I'll endeavor to e-mail everyone and everything that needs e-mailing.

21st - 27th December - No work at all! Sorry guys, I'm putting down my stylus and raising a glass. I think I best reintroduce myself to my family and show them I'm still alive.*

28th December - 2nd January - I will be once again at work, but on current clients pieces: feel free to approach with any jobs, but be aware work won't start on them until the earliest of the 3rd Jan.

3rd January - Back to normal**

*I will still be checking my e-mails, and while I may not reply immediately, I will get back to you. Do not worry.

**My part time job also hands out a lot of overtime at this time of year, so while I'll try to be in the studio at regular hours, there may be days when I'm at my other job.

I will also hopefully be updating this, as I have a few things I'd like to post, and having a week off from illustration will be the perfect time to do it.

So where's your Christmas spirit? Here's mine:

Friday, 13 December 2013

Friday 13th December 2013 - Speedy Illustration - The College of Arbanes

I was approached on Monday with the task of painting anywhere between 1 and 3 images, as soon as possible. The deadline had already passed, so there wasn't really any time for niceties; I had to jump right in!

"A large and distinguished college... [with] the city in the background, viewed as if the viewer were standing on a taller point. The sky is sunny and blue and pleasant, like a cool summer day.

The college has an Oxford look, with tall tower-peaks scattered intermittently around as part of the building. But the city and college also has a bit of an Arabian feel; the college [should] be separate from that city-sprawl though." (© Rite Publishing 2013)
Thanks to some images the AD sent me, I had a pretty good idea of the direction to take.

©Rite Publishing 2013

This was the first sketch I done, and actually the only sketch I done, I sent it straight off to the AD - Very bad of me in all honesty, I do like to send at least 3 sketches over, but time was of the essence.

© Rite Publishing 2013
I then done this one, with a river cutting through the city, the difference was minor, and the first sketch had already been approved, so this was more for me in all honesty.

I didn't exactly have time for drawing out a full perspective grid, or finding reference for a variety of shapes of buildings... So I built a city instead. The advantages of this? I had a full value range, a perfect idea of the lighting I wanted, exact perspective, and it only took about 10 minutes scrabbling around on my desk for various boxes, bullets, salt shakers and books.

The disadvantages? I didn't get a chance to practice perspective, which is one of my weakest points.

© Rite Publishing 2013
To start this, I dropped a warm colour over a desaturated copy of the photo, this gave the entire city an orange/red hue. To break up the background, and give me some forms to work with, I added a photo I had taken while in Florence, and set it to overlay. I think a single part of this shows through in the final, but it gives me some variety in values, and some 'tooth' on the canvas to work with.

© Rite Publishing 2013
I began with working on the background, my idea being that once it is laid out with large brushstrokes, I can work on the foreground, a better sounding approach than working the foreground then having to sneak parts of a city or river behind the college. I added in the river and some volumetric fog to start bringing a sense of depth into the image - the city is taking shape! 

© Rite Publishing 2013
I felt as though there was a break between the foreground elements (which I had built), and the background elements, which I had painted - on the left. So I started thinking about whether the city had quite a bustling canal and aqueduct system - I had already planned both in the foreground, so added one as a breaker further back - this allowed for more bridges, and the blue gave the viewer's eye a chance to rest while scanning the image. 

© Rite Publishing 2013
This was the end of the first day of painting. I wanted to try and get the entire image finished in one working day, but it was not to happen. I darkened the college, as I thought it looked more like a gaudy temple with how the colours had interacted to give it the gold appearance. 

© Rite Publishing 2013
The start of the second day - adding in the bustle of an Arabian city; with a colourful marketplace! I thought this could be fed by the canal, having supplies arrive, and maybe trading with the college (the way villages sprung up near the walls of castles or by rivers). I also added in a lot of people to keep the scale going, and patterned the base of the college (I thought that could be the college archives, or vaults for unspecified goings on). 

© Rite Publishing 2013
Looking at this, the entire image seems darker - I can't remember doing that, but okay... I think I was introducing cool shadows into the foreground to counter the warm hues of the city. All that was left was the college itself! So I began by blocking that in. 

© Rite Publishing 2013
And that, as they say, is that! 

I had to darken the bridge, I wanted the university and the bridge to appear to be made of the same material - different from what the rest of the city was built of. 

Onto the next one!