Sunday, March 9, 2008

Hurricane Katrina

Hurricane Katrina came ashore in August of 2005. Everything about it and its mismanagement is very well-documented. Also well-documented, perhaps not as well as it should be, is that, as this post is written, new Orleans is still picking up the pieces of the Hurricane's destruction -- physically and psychologically. I wished to illustrate this.

In composing the art, something that said "New Orleans" should obviously be integral to the scene. Then, there needs to be an element that represents the "scar" left from a storm's wrath.

Water stain

The water stain is something people relate to in their own way. It's a reminder of an intrusion by water, and everyone will have their own experiences to connect with the consequences of this intrusion.

I am drawn to art that leaves something for the viewer. I enjoy the interactivity and surprise that is possible with illustration. At the bare minimum, one's own "style" is a degree of interactivity. If an illustrator plays his or her cards right, they are producing something that leaves a bit of themselves on the canvas -- the brush stroke, point of view, drawing style, sense of mood, texture, color, etc. But, what truly distinguishes one from another is their thought process. Being able to find that part of you that is different from the next illustrator in the sourcebook, and use it to tell a story is one of the core challenges of an illustrator.

I think one of the least productive things one can do is try to find your style or try to find your way of thinking. Let it come to you. It's already there, usually buried beneath who knows what. Keep moving forward and it will forge its way to the surface. Put yourself in the best environment for your intended end-result to come to fruition. For an illustrator, I think that means to always draw, paint, create, and engage one's self in what's happening in the industry. Somewhat obvious advice, but one would be surprised at how far ahead of the game one would be by just doing these things.

It took me many moons to understand this my own self.


Flydesign said...

Very nice illustration Allan and I really enjoy the thought that goes on behind the scenes for the backbone of your work.

I must make a comment on the subject that you talk about here in this post. I must say that I use my talent as an escape, relief stress and to take me into other worlds that are comfortable to me. So I jump back and forth between fiction and what is real. Very seldom do I find myself depicting a scene with a political agenda or religious concept, because I see most viewers would attach the concept to the artist and his belief system, instead of “hey, he portrayed the subject for what it is and that point of time.” I’m frustrated by this because it has defined my style and at the present time I’m comfortable with my audience because I see positive things for me and my viewers. I look at my art as a way to meet financial obligations and enjoyment. Sometimes I wonder if these things are leading me away from great art.

I’m currently working on a project that gave me a learning curve. When I was commissioned to work on the project I had great ideas and an abundance of creative energy. Along the way I was asked to “dumb down my artwork.” I did not know how to take this statement and it really frustrated me. The project became lop sided for me because my enjoyment was gone and all I had was “I guess I’ll get paid.” I’m currently still working on this project and doing what the client wants and dealing with my frustration on my own accord. I think this might pertain to the subject here at hand as defining your style, in the work force.

Any thoughts on this matter Allan, I’m assuming that you might have run up against these very same walls.


Flydesign said...

Big thanks for your reply Allan. I want to say thanks for stopping what you are doing to comment on my questions. It looks like you give a lot of thought behind your advice and I just want to say I appreciate it, I hope I can return the favor in the feature.

I’m a fresh face on the scene with the illustration and most of my big projects that I have worked on have been in a team environment. So I learn as I go and I know that each project that I do, good or bad, brings me closer to my goals. Right now I remind myself that sometimes that it can’t be all fun in games and possible in the feature I’ll have a name that viewers can relate to a style of artwork, I can only hope. So right now, weighing my options as I go will depend on what jobs I pick to work on and turn down. I must say that I’m luckier then most artists for the position I’m in, I have some good resources that I work around on a daily bases.