Friday, May 01, 2009

My New Style of Illustration

I've started printing some favorite, old, public domain stories and poems as miniature books. I'm trying to illustrate these books and have been experimenting. My miniature book of The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe had stock photo illustrations, manipulated to various degrees using the GIMP. My latest experiment, which is still in the design phase, is Poe's short story, The Masque of the Red Death. Below is an example of the illustrations I made for it.

These, like all of my most successful pieces, started out as actual bits of paper. I cut up a piece of orange construction paper and used the irregular shreds to kinda draw on a large sheet (about 22 by 36 inches) of white construction paper. I photographed the results and, in GIMP, used the Select by Color Tool set to Saturation to select the orange paper from the white background. I was then able to fill the selection with whatever color I wanted - in this case, black. Since I never had to glue them down, I was able to use the same shreds to make all the illustrations (I may have to cut up another piece of paper for more illustrations - though I saved them, the local humidity is curling the bits of orange paper).

So, anyway, there it is. It feels distinctly different from most of my work and somehow, it just feels right. I've never been any good at drawing with anything but charcoal. I've had a little luck with digital illustrations, but only a little and both graphite and ink defeat me. The ink thing especially frustrates me, but I just don't get the thrill of success and don't spend the time on it I need to spend to familiarize myself with the medium.

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