Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Reworking Old Illustrations

Today, we have a combined post dedicated to the art of reworking older portfolio pieces! Laura and Renee have been hard at work trying to give a little love to some of their favorite personal illustrations and are here to share some of the thought process behind their decisions!


********************************************************

Laura: 

I'm constantly working on improving my skills and revamping my portfolio. It always has to be fresh and show improvement if I want to reach my goals. Mostly that involves creating lots of new art, but sometimes all I really need to do is to apply my current skills to illustrations I've already created.

Here's an illustration I first created in March of this year. I was happy with it at the time, but it always had a bit of a starkness to it.



I needed an illustration for the local Illustrators Day's First Look Panel later this month. I didn't have time to created something from scratch, so I decided to see if I could improve one of my existing pieces. I chose this one which I always liked, but felt was still missing something. I wanted to add more depth and drama to it, so I added snow and more trees to the background. I started with a blizzard, then ran it through some of my toughest critique friends, my SMA blog group of Tracy Bishop, Christina Forshay, and Renee Kurilla, and my friend Gina Perry. Their advice was to have fewer and larger snowflakes, to darken and redden the trees, change the border, and make the white border a softer color. (Almost all of the changes were done in Photoshop. The snow and border were ink paintings that I scanned in and manipulated in Photoshop.)




Here's what I have now. It has the drama I had hoped for and I think it's a much stronger piece. It'll be interesting to see what the panel has to say. Maybe I'll be able to improve it more.

It's so good to have people with a good eye and the ability to speak 'art' in your circle. It can be difficult, sometimes, to see one's own work clearly. It's can be hard to hear that your work's not perfect, but it gets easier with time. If you know that your critiquer wants to help you, it's easier to hear what they're saying. Trust me, it gets easier with time. I am a better artist because of their help.



********************************************************

Renee: 

This particular piece was an experiment from 2008 or so. My original goal was to paint this on canvas, so my first color study was very sloppy with globs of color and sketchy lines. The painting never came into fruition, and the color study sat in my "unfinished art" folder for years. It looked like this:




One day, I decided to revisit the piece and this is where I ended up:



Throughout the years, my style has changed quite a bit. I used to work in a vector style, as I was doing a lot of animation in Flash...but when I transitioned to Photoshop, I found that I love texture and transparency. 

That being said, for some reason, this particular image stuck with me as a piece I did not want to give up for my new portfolio. I recognized it's faults (one being no clear definition of story) and added a few tweaks. It's funny, similar to Laura's, my final piece ended up with snow as well!


I don't know how to explain why some ideas are just worth not letting go, but it's why people revisit old notebooks. A sketch you drew 10 years ago might not have even made clear sense to you then, but now it may spark your best idea ever. You don't need to give up on your older art because it's "out of date"! 







5 comments:

  1. This is such a fantastic post! Lovin' that very last owl piece, and I completely agree about the snowflakes in the first piece. It looks so much more pulled together. What a good reminder that it's important to have some people you can rely on who speak art! :D Thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  2. This is fantastic! Laura, do you add the trees to an existing layer? It is so interesting to see where you two took your improved work!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Stacy! I added more trees behind the existing ones.

      Delete
  3. I love this post - it's so good to see work develop and change. All initial illustrations looked really good to me and then your changes just looked great!

    ReplyDelete