Sunday, April 3, 2016
The University of Chicago
A black and white illustration of Frederick T. Gates for an annual academic service award. Mr. Gates (1853–1929) served on the school’s board, for many years. He was also a close advisor to John D. Rockefeller, Sr., who founded the school.
Create a portrait of Mr. Gates, while also telling the story of his academic roots with the school, for this, aforementioned, academic award.
After a discussion, with my art director, about the direction the portrait should take, we decided on Mr. Gates against the backdrop of the University. They wanted to include a background of some sort, instead of, simply, a silhouetted portrait.
Along with images of Mr. Gates, I rounded up reference of the school, thinking about iconic buildings, interior vs exterior, as well as angular vs squared views. I wanted to try a variety of options to achieve the best composition.
I provided 5 options, including a basic, nondescript background, in order to cover all bases.
THE FINAL ART
My client chose sketch #4.
The hard work and major decision-making is done, in the sketch phase. All that’s left is execution.
Charcoal on paper, with a hint of Photoshop, is the recipe, here.
Once and a while, I like to re-visit illustrations, after they’ve been published. This was one such case. Because of its historical nature, I decided to try a monotone color treatment, for an extra visual punch and an added layer of historical feel. I think the color fits, nicely.
Many thanks to the University of Chicago, for the opportunity to work with you on this fantastic project.
Allan Burch is an award-winning illustrator and portrait artist, providing solutions for editorial, book, advertising, and institutional projects.
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