More thinking about this graphic illustration approach. I have been digging in with this style and approach. I have broken my own illustration rule of “no tricks” and am using gradients with this style when it’s appropriate or a need a little boost or delineation that I would have drawn in during my “I’m not an illustrator” prismacolor past. My palette and these little short gradients (sometimes just tonal, other times quite colorful) are peeking out of this work which is affirmative as I feared this approach as it was easy…but I didn’t see how the tools that I have been working with ( blue pencils, black pens) are helping me to better really design these forms allowing me more room for refinement when they get popped into illustrator and formed, redesigned and finalized. I am enjoying the purity of the forms and see that having this sort of tool in my toolbox gives me another place to land when confounded. Just need to work on a body of work to click the “triangle of learning” into gear (design>technique>form) for a range of content to test my metal.
Alexander Girard keeps his illustrations simple and singular. Essentially a potato or a thumbprint in the middle of a page—an icon, or to some a “spot”. He does not create swirly borders…and if he does a pattern, there is often a colored basic shape popped into the background to hold the black…or the form of the critter or landscape. There are images (such as his Garden of Eden picture I found embellishing a bicycle being sold in England) that have swirly forms that hold the icons all together. His patterns are gridded with some overlap, but drawn shapes held to a border form so they are used like building blocks and could/can be pulled apart for other applications.
I think this bold, gridded is what draws me to the vector work of the Finnish/English illustrator, Sanna Annuka. Her work takes very geometric forms and creates more complex (equally as graphic work) , often more embellished and decorated patterns and images. The work she has done for Marimekko is inspirational as she has created a library of creatures, birds, foxes, flora and fauna that playfully mix into different arrangements, making a symphony to nature in the various iterations. Annuka builds these graphic pictures in a more organic way than Girard—but building blocks still…and those images inspire me to try the same.
As I was thinking about all of this, it dawned on me that I had cool tools to take this approach from fun to out of control. I am a vector princess (not quite a Queen but aspirational Queen) and my tool is Adobe Illustrator. if I could work in one tool all day long, it would be illustrator, but its kind of like mixing up a cake with a drill press. You can do it…but why do it when you have to fight it so much. So for pubs and the like, I use other tools. But Adobe Illustrator is my go to tool.
I have been taking my knowledge of brushes and making it more and more part of my illustrator mis en place—relishing the freedom and fluidity this allows me. And, in the past, I have been enchanted with the “symbols” palette. The Symbols feature allows you to store logotypes, images, clips, thises and thats in a frozen way that can port from job to job, project to project in a library. A box for all the illustrative building blocks. One just drags and drops to save these things, and the symbols palette can be used to hold images as you go in case you want to keep copies of the work you are doing as you go..giving you a golden parachute should things go south. Love it. Perfection! The symbols function freezes the image making it scaleable but non-editable until you release the illustration or object from the library by unlinking it. Once unlinked, you can mess with it as you did the original. And, then if you like, continue to add these newly amended images to the pile in the library. So, I continue to build my own clip file—my own Design Elements—that can be drawn on for illustrations, designs, and adds. Seems so simple. It has been under my nose…but now I scented it again. And off we GOOOOOO!