Thursday, March 26, 2009

Artist Research

Each semester, we choose, research, and make a presentation on an illustrator whose work we're interested in. This semester, it was required that the illustrator be living, and agreeable to doing an interview with us. My current illustrator of choice is
Anne Yvonne Gilbert, a talented & versatile artist, who has considerable range in her medium, subject matter and style—and she was super nice regarding the interview.

Celebrity Piece

The idea was to do a portrait or caricature of a celebrity in the context of one of their current, or soon-to-be released films. So...I chose Adrien Brody as my celebrity (because he has a great nose), and the film is called Splice.

The plot: Model-pretty geneticists, famous for splicing animal genes together, decide to throw human DNA into the mix, and end up creating a human/animal chimera—things eventually go awry.

It could be a crap film, or not. Guillermo Del Toro is producing; Vincenzo Natali is directing—it could go either way. I have to say, the initial creature images I saw were pretty darned cool.

I'm attempting to convey his conflict, her appealing otherness, and the DNA connection by showing Adrien in the foreground, looking concerned, worried, hopeful, whatever, with creature girl descending the DNA staircase in the background

The painting was created using acrylics on Crescent illustration board. (It began as watercolors on Crescent illustration board, until I found that I couldn't use watercolors successfully on that surface....I need to start making notes about boards and paper.) My post-critique efforts included a considerable amount of darkening of the values in the background, and I changed creature girl's skin color from a cool purple to a warmer pink. In the foreground, I darkened the hair and some shadows, and added some cooler color contrast. I think the composition with the large foreground figure works well, I like the contrast of the warm foreground and cooler background colors, and I believe the values are, for the most part, appropriate. This is a post-critique image (forgot to shoot a "before image), though I still have a couple of additional changes to make—some tweaking of values in a few places. I'm not as satisfied with creature girl as I'd like to be. I never got her body shape or position quite right, and her face is not as developed as I'd originally envisioned it—I don't believe I even came close to doing justice to the reference images, because in the references, she was a seriously great-looking creature girl. I'm wondering if the meaning of the staircase is obvious enough. The foreground portrait works for me; I initially had a couple of problem areas on the side of the face and the hair, but I think they're all worked out now. I believe it looks like him....and I'm happy with his nose.