Project Reflection-Botanical Lines

This project actually started last semester with a series of portraits I illustrated that included botanical drawings of the subjects favorite plants and flowers. I continued with both the portraits and botanical illustration over Winter break and have continued to work on this project throughout this semester. I enjoyed being able to mentally dissect a plant to figure out how to draw it and accentuate the important parts after researching them. The biggest challenge of this project has been making sure I had the correct binomial name for each plant rather than any technical issues.

My process usually begins with looking up many different pictures of the flower I am working on, and illustrating them in detail with either Micron pens or more recently a crow quill and India ink. I usually do a pencil drawing either in non-photo blue or with a mechanical pencil and then ink over it. I then scan in the image and figure out the binomial and put the text in with the image in a PSD, PDF and JPEG file. I think the more illustrations I do the better I am able to show the best details.

Line work and texture play key roles in my work. When I do color a piece I use digital coloring with flat colors so as not to distract from the detailed line work.

Process Journal

Project Reflection- New Zealand Travel Poster

For the poster I did an extensive amount of research into the Maori culture which was fascinating. I learned that a fern is given to guests from other tribes when they visit. The fern is an extremely important cultural item of New Zealand in Maori culture and is one of their iconic symbols along with the Kiwi bird. I delved into research about their creative endeavors which included the Maori tattooing traditions, traditional Maori dress, and wood carvings. The most challenging thing about this project was the time I spent making careful details with a crow quill and ink. My process for everything usually starts with a fair amount of research as I treat every illustration as a portfolio piece. I think research allows my designs to have a deeper meaning and a stronger message to the viewer. It also allows for more ideas to be fleshed out more ideas. I made a large number of plant studies that did not make it into the final design but that have built up my portfolio even more. Creating these studies helped me to understand the culture and environment more.

I would say that I am both a thinker and maker. I have been continuously producing work since last semester even when I have been in a lull with my other work. Elements of my research play a key role in my work as well as hand drawn, intricate detail. I use a lot of mark making to create texture and and contrast and then I digitally color with flat rich tones which come from my research. I use symbols associated with the subject I am trying to depict to make my designs stronger.  

I used wood carvings as references for most of the New Zealand poster design elements. The top corners are carved boat oars and under them in two long strips are the carvings used on the threshold of sacred meeting houses. The sides are carvings from the interior of the buildings. The boat that is the outline for “Maori Culture” is a design from the fishing boats of the Maori.

This process of carefully detailed illustration backed by research is how I approach every illustration. Sometimes I will get lazy with a design and will change it even more times because of that, so I try not to have a lazy mindset while designing something. For this project I got lazy on the “Maori Culture” box and changed it 4 or 5 times before I got it right.    

Process Journal:

Additional Plant Studies