Wednesday, June 30, 2010

IMC 2010: Finding a Process

The IMC proved to be a solid opportunity for me to hone in on my natural painting process, take some risks, and make some discoveries along the way.

I had chosen the "Beauty and the Beast" assignment. My concept was to explore an African-themed rendition that focused on the scene from the original story where she finds the beast dying in his rose garden. I also wanted to challenge myself and emphasize the contrast between an albino beast and a beauty with black skin.

During the plane ride from California, I started exploring how the characters might be depicted in an African setting. The design of the beast went through several iterations inspired by memories of masks, insects, skulls elephants, rhinos, and even a white orchid.

I still have strong memories of the first night of working well into the evening seated on my drawing horse with pages of sketches strewn about. I had decided to develop two thumbnails into tight roughs in pencil. Along the way, one was abandoned when it became clear that I was rapidly losing touch with the root concept, and a shimmering image still burned into my imagination. My reference for the creature was easy to find online, but I was worried about finding a dark-skinned woman to pose for me.

Rebecca Guay was partial to the concept with the characters embracing. So much of my strongest work is lacking in emotion and narrative because it's inspired by pin-up art with a sci-fi/fantasty flavor. Something about the pin-up format has always attracted me, but Rebecca's work consistently has a strong sense of intimacy, particularly when she draws couples. With just a few marks and a strip of tracing paper, she was able to tweak one of my thumbnails just enough to push the composition toward a stronger concept, and potentially a stronger painting.(I managed to spirit away her little sketch as a souvenir before it got tossed.) She was also the one who pointed out my avoidance of hands and feet in my sketches during the first day crit. (Thanks, Rebecca. I'm working on it)

The images above show just how strongly Rebecca's little drawing influenced one of my revised roughs. My painting shifted away from this composition, but I may return to it for another piece at a future date. I realize now that I have a tendency to abandon things that either don't seem to be working, or think I've already gotten all that I'm going to get out of it. Or, I go to the other extreme and spend too much time on a dead end.

James Gurney talked about importance of taking the time to really thoroughly imagine and design the world your characters occupy as well as the characters themselves. My beast character evloved from sketches like the ones below, and the tusks on the elephant-based designs began to speak to me. Should they be braided, or fused into something like a nose ring, or something else?…


Rachel said...

Wow!!! Thanks so much for posting this! I'm still reading it, and gonna read the other entries too.
Awesome. :)

The Art of Kim Kincaid said...

What beautiful line work. Lovely.