Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Back to Normal, With a Lesson

Good morning! Now that we're back to this being an art blog, I'm happy to give you an advance peak at the next BYOB! I have to say that the creation of this illustration was a lesson in sucking-it-up-and-doing-the-best-job-you-can-even-if-you'd-rather-draw-something-else (is there no word for that?). In this issue, Drew Beechum writes as though he's telling a fairy tale and I got myself all psyched up to draw something fantastical. My thumbnails:

Can you tell which one I really wanted to draw? But, knowing the audience and what was more appropriate to the article, my AD chose #3. And I was bummed. I had planned #1 all out in my head and I was looking forward to tackling the illustration in a different way than I usually do, mixing traditional with digital, flexing my creative muscles. Oh, and this issue is going glossy, so I wanted the chance to really throw my heart into this illo.

But #3? I didn't have any grandiose ideas for #3. Even worse is that I--ahem--procrastinated and I worried that I wouldn't even have time to paint it traditionally! A glossy issue, and I'm wasting it on digital?! Horrors!

But I got some new brushes in Photoshop. I was recently inspired by techniques used by Vera Brosgol on this blog. So I said screw it and plugged along, filling in the blanks, grumpily and mindlessly coloring.

And then I got into it.

I was switching up brushes for different textures, I was noodling, I was setting a mood, playing with lighting, wondering who these characters were, what kind of bar this was, imagining what city it was in and whether or not it had Deer Hunter. I was lovingly painting and not just coloring. And I love how it turned out:

I'm not saying that #1 wouldn't have been effing awesome. It would have. But it's not about me, it's about what's best for the column. Sometimes you have to make yourself love what you do. (Or, at least you have to make yourself start and remember that you love what you do.) Besides, some of my best work was created in anger!

Thanks for reading my after school special. Maybe some disgruntled art student out there will find this helpful. Until next time!


  1. As an occasionally disgruntled photographer I found it helpful. Thanks. :)


  2. I think it's a well told story from the trenches of freelance illustration! I'm glad you were able to get into in the end!