For a few weeks now, I've been consumed with reorganizing my home studio in order to accommodate my new iMac and my renewed focus to stay creative (Stay tuned for pictures and chatter! Same bat channel but another bat time…).
In doing so, I had a load of "stuff" to wade through and get rid of. You know, I've most definitely inherited that artist gene that doesn't want to throw anything away because I never know if I might want to incorporate it into a project some day…Do all artist have it or did I just inherit that from my own artist mom??? Seriously, I have loads of stuff for projects waiting to be started, started projects waiting to be finished, finished projects waiting to be promoted in order to find new homes.
But that's another post too. I digress… Back to the originally scheduled program:
In the course of wading, I came upon notes from a workshop I gave back in 2002 on Fine Art Illustration and Keeping the Creative Spirit Alive. I thought I'd break some of the parts out, update them a bit and share some of it with all of you.
Today, I'm sharing the part where I walked everyone through my creative process by re-building one of my illustrations. I was honored to be asked to be the illustrator for a week-long in-depth series we did at the San Diego Union-Tribune following the aftermath of back-to-back shooting sprees at local high schools.
As a photo editor at the time, the senior editor of visuals approached me and asked that I take this on. They needed three anchor illustrations the first of which was to appear in our science section in a story dissecting the male adolescent brain and how it handles strong emotion, particularly anger. The second was to appear in our family section on how important it was for us to teach our children how to love themselves so that they become confident and grounded and, therefore, less prone to peer pressure.
The last illustration (entitled "Forgiveness") was to go with a wrap up think piece in our Currents section written by our Religion & Ethics editor on guiding parents through the grieving process following such a horrific tragedy. I also was responsible for creating themed icons that would appear throughout the newspaper during the weeklong series. It was quite an undertaking and although the prompt was horrific, the experience of focusing so intensely in such a short time period on a project of this magnitude had a profound impact on me at a very crucial point in my creative journey as an artist. Especially considering that the conceptualization was entirely on my shoulders and I was given carte blanche to run with my ideas.
So here is a quick, down and dirty walk through of the process of creating this illustration in Photoshop. The model was a friend of mine who graciously agreed to model for me. And you can tell this was a while back as the screen shots have a rainbow Apple logo and it's Photoshop 6! Holy moly! OK, here we go:
THE FINISHED ILLUSTRATION:
THE PIECES: I used 11 photographs and a bible verse. Some of the photographs I shot specifically for this project, some were from the UT archives by fellow photographers and some were from my collection of stock art CDs.
Ok, so there you have it: A bit of a peek into how my brain works during my creative process. My series of illustrations for this project that year swept first, second and third place in the San Diego Press Club awards, Society of Professional Journalists San Diego Chapter, helped me win Best Illustration Portfolio in the Copley Ring of Truth awards, and placed in the Society of Newspaper Designers for Features. This particular image was the first place winner in those contests.
This one that went with the family piece was second:
And this one that went with the science story was third:
Here are some of the themed icons that ran daily throughout the week:
YOUR TURN: Do you hold onto stuff "just in case?" And when do you finally let go of it?
Keep that creative spirit alive! Remember, "Creativity comes from trust. Trust your instincts…" ~ Rita Mae Brown
Until next time,