Friday, 13 January 2012

Illustration Fridays - "Grounded"

As an aspect of this challenge I'm going to look at a new artist/designer who's work inspires me, and incorporate an aspect of their work in my own.

This week I looked at Charles E. Cooper [the above illustration in particular]. I was drawn to his use of colour. By doing a mainly grayscale image, applying a single colour to the background, then adding that colour to certain aspects of the image, it draws attention to that particular element. For example, in Cooper's illustration the repetition of pink in the background, and again on the gentleman's hardhat and his co-workers shirt brings focus and attention to them while still maintaining a unified illustration.

After establishing the artist I wanted to emulate, I proceeded to explore the word of the week, Grounded, and different images that would communicate that. In the end I've decide to proceed with the last concept I generated; a bird with a  broken wing has been 'grounded'. I like the metaphor that is associated with a broken wing, and I'll explain that more with the final illustration. [This idea came to me while I was listening to Hedley's song "Stormy", maybe you can figure out why?]

Once I established the direction I wanted to take I created a to scale sketch.

The next step was to add colour. I also wanted texture, so I decided to use tissue paper. I started by laying the paper on top of my sketch and tracing around the image. I then cut out the pieces with my Exacto Knife.

Next I double checked that the pieces I cut out would fit the right way, and then glued them down.

Now to make the bird 'pop'. I used India Ink in a technical pen and used a hatching-style technique.

Then I scanned may illustration and did some digital editing using Adobe Photoshop CS5. I corrected the colours, increased contrast, and removed any blemishes.

I also added colour to the CD portion of the illustration.

To finish things off I opened the image in InDesign CS5 and added the title "Grounded?"

The common meaning behind the metaphor of a broken wing is that somethings in life will harm and scar us; break our wings and keep us grounded. However, in time our wings heal and we once again take flight. That is why I added the question mark in this title.

I hope that you enjoyed this process and end result as much as I have. Don't forget to check back next week for a new Illustration -- the word will be 'Prepared'.

~ Jen


  1. Love this post! It is awesome to see your process and the amazing result!

  2. Jen this looks fantastic! I really love the style with the sketch against the bold colour! You're amazing