I've just finished a piece of work that I began about 11 days ago and wrote about in brief last week...I called it seeing and wanted to show the the basic construction of an image from start to finish. This is a good depiction of the process I often employ on my way through to creating the completed image. I start with a very raw background image and then populate the image as things are suggested to me by my unconscious. What is particularly rewarding about more complicated images is that they don't really start to have any cohesion until you have enough elements in the picture. Up to that point I spend a lot of time wondering if it will work but 99 times out of 100 it will. I still doubt the process every time in spite of knowing this. It reminds me of a job I did for a while. I used to interview people for a market research company. You had to see a set number of people to complete the work. I never had any trouble persuading people to talk to me but each time I took on a new contract I always thought I wouldn't make it....but I always did hah!
I had similar misgivings about the illustration I made for my home page on this site. I wanted it to be as good as it can be and I think it is but it took about a month and it was only in the last few days that it became really enjoyable....because there were enough elements in picture for it to start suggesting things to me...you end up having a dialogue with what your doing. Also the simplest things sometimes complete an image. When I was at University on a field trip drawing a complicated outdoor landscape - a docklands with cranes and ships and amazing perspectives I was fretting about what I had on the drawing board in front of me because something didn't look right and I asked my tutor for some help. All he did was draw a line from the images I had drawn in the middle of my paper and unite them with the edges of the page. It was that simple and I never forgot that!
When I was younger and I drew something, if it didn't look quite right I would hold it up to a mirror - it usually tells you all you need to know - of course now I just flip an image in Illustrator of Photoshop to see it's reverse image - it nearly always reveals if something isn't quite right.
So below are some of the basic character sketches that populate the final image and next to them the constructed images in Illustrator. That's an interesting element of using Illustrator - to my way of working at least - you tend to manipulate lines rather than drawing them....
This image below is probably about mid way through...I got stuck on how to depict the idea of the Third Eye seeing behind the world of form which is why the girl in the foreground looks like she has a funnel coming out of her head. I probably wouldn't have stumbled in this way quite so much if I'd been using Photoshop - it's easier to manipulate images - with Illustrator you have to be a little more creative but I think I got there in the end. I am also finding new ways to create similar effects in illustrator. I recently discovered that drawing heavily weighted lines and then blurring them is quite effective for subtle effects...
This next image is the completed black and white version. It was only when I added the second layer of background that it really started to work...(in the colour version at least).
And here is completed composition...I'm glad I stuck with it.