Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The dance that is Illustration...

I love to dance. I spent age 4-16 dancing ballet, took up modern in college, taught tap and jazz to little kids for a spell, and still dream about the dances I'd choreograph when I hear certain music. All the while I was drawing, painting, and printing dancers. This is a current illustration in progress that I thought I'd share to give you some insight into my process and the way I do things. It's an experiment, a sketch just for practice and fun. And when I really want to have fun and just enjoy the painting, I often choose dancers as my subject.

This is the start of my interpretation of this photograph by iconic dance photographer Paul Kolnik. It's Peter Martins and Suzanne Farrell from NYC Ballet, performing "Diamonds" from the great Balanchine ballet "Jewels." I'd say the painting is about two-thirds of the way done. Some of the spacing is a tad off, but already this painting is serving a purpose. I am so driven to practice, practice, practice my technique lately and this painting has helped me do that. It's kept my interest, forced me to make modifications, and allowed me to see where I can make changes and improvements.

One stand-out change I decided to try with this piece is to limit my usually rainbow color palette to a more select group of colors. So far, I think that aspect of the piece is working well and lends something to the mood, while still retaining a sense of my style. What do you think? I look forward to posting the finished product whenever that happens, so keep an eye peeled for that.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Sweets & Treats

Lately I've been working on improving certain aspects of my illustration. I want to become stronger at rendering animals. I also want to get better at drawing faces, and the expressions and emotions they contain. Eventually I'd like to push these into character studies that show a consistency to my work. So, meet my first attempt at an animal/character that enabled me to practice all of those things at once. For the most part, I naturally favor drawing kids, human beings, fairies and the like, but I found it really interesting and fun to work with an animal in this case and at the same time capture that creature's emotions and expressions.

I created this original work for an auction that's going on at my children's school. Here's hoping it's picked up by a family or person who is touched by the gentle, yet formidable, joy that this elephant is compelled to share. As well as the very real joy I experienced creating it. I love to paint and draw. As I heard my daughter's teacher say (in reference to dancing to beautiful classical music. Another true love of mine as well!)..."it makes my heart happy." Illustrating definitely makes my heart happy. Here's hoping that each of you reading this get to do some of whatever makes your own heart happy today.