Process Notes Vol 1. . .

I wanted to write out a quick note on my silhouette art process.

Several months ago I went to my kids’ school to work on a drawing for them. While there, my daughter’s teacher asked if she could commission a piece from me. . . she wanted a “bearcat” for her daughter’s school, McKendree University. Then a month later, she showed me the school’s logo (see original above) while I was helping at the winter party.

I want to take a moment and interject. . . I hate sports. Well, maybe not “hate,” but I’m definitely uninterested in sports, and particularly uninterested in the team spirit tied to sports. So far I’ve been relying mostly on my whims and motivation for these art pieces I’ve been doing. I shrugged off her advances for that reason and because I don’t want my daughter’s teacher to pay for a piece. So I decided to give her the drawing as a gift fo the end of the school year.

I really had no interest in this project.

Where was I? Oh yeah, process.

For all the drawings (except maybe Jack), I start with some pieces of art and put them in Adobe Illustrator where I redraw the piece to my liking. For something like this I used only the one reference piece, but for Marie Antionette I used 4-5 (including one Barbie as Marie that was quite disturbing). My goal is to make sure it’s obvious what I’m trying to show in a piece—most silhouettes can’t get the emotion I want across without tweaking.

After the computer drawing is complete, I print it on cardstock and cut around the silhouette. In this case, I cut out the white inner piece first with an x-acto knife. I tape that onto Strathmore drawing paper and draw the designs around it. BUT this piece had a secondary element, the clean while line between the layers of colors. So I cut out the purple portion of the design too and laid both down on the paper to put the design in between the forms.

After the purple was laid down I cut the template once more to mask the while outline. Then I put in the gold.

For the lettering: I had a second printout on regular paper. I scribbled over the back with an HB pencil, taped the print down, and outlined the text with a pencil. . . instant carbon copy, then I used rulers and french curves to finish up. I use rulers and french curves for every step of most of my drawings. I want my lines to be smooth and crisp.

It’s a multi-step process, but I’m getting the hang of it. On many of my pieces I hide other images in the designs. I do those all freehand while I’m working. I used to make templates for those, but I like the look I get with them freehand. I have a drawing ready that I’m more excited about, perhaps I’ll attempt a process video. Could be interesting.

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