Sunday, October 3, 2010

Left Brain/Right Brain~The Odd Couple

My friend and fellow illustrator, David Hohn is teaching a class at the Art Institute of Portland. He asked me to share with him and his class, my method of design using overlays on a few of my illustrations. Okay Left Brain, try to make some sense of Right Brain...on three, two, one...

Here goes: For this painting from The Magic Rabbit, I took the Golden Mean and shot it like an arrow from my Golden Bow. The blue splots indicate where I used numbers and the pink doinks show where I scattered playing cards. In this book I was playing with concepts of time, space, magic, The Big Bang, and The Big Bang in reverse.

This illustration from One Wintry Night was intimidating to even begin. We had gone to the Middle East to do research for this book, and I had so much reference material that I was short-circuiting. I didn't want to drown in a terribly difficult painting--every concept sketch felt too complex. My son, Jesse, saw my frustration and doodled a rough sketch for me showing the two heads in opposition. "Isn't it a power struggle?" he asked.

Yes, it was. Big time. So the "stand off" solved my design dilemma. Thanks, Jess.

In this illustration from Bronwen The Traw and the Shape~Shifter, the girl hears a tapping at her window. Her world is about to be turned upside-down.

The picture pulls in two directions--the top half flashes a play of light between the girl, the flying squirrel, and her gardening "traw". The bottom half reveals her toys falling away from her secure embrace, tumbling out of the picture itself.

In The Legend of Saint Christopher, I painted this illustration of The Dark Knight by first painting a "Rorschalk test" type pattern with black on red and red on black.

Since the Dark Knight was a metaphor for the Devil, I attempted to show his turmoil and chaos by a tearing and push/pull against the otherwise centered composition. His sword forms an "X".

In The Boy Who Went Ape, written by my son, Ben, Ms. Thunderbum is a teacher who doesn't like little boys, especially when they act like apes! I patterned her after my second grade teacher and my piano teacher, both of whom hated me, or so it seemed at the time. No they actually did hate me. And all boys. And life.

DDDZZZzzzzz≠–¡!¡!¡!¡! See the negative energy zapping the poor chimp who acts like an ape because he is an ape? Ape, boy, ape, boy, same difference. Agree? Her presence bows out the room itself.

Here is Her Royal Significance ordering the little lambs to obey her every command.

I had so much fun developing her character. She is a force to be reckoned with. Notice the black broken glass jewelry.

In the same book there is a bank robber. I first used Jesse as a model, wearing a hoody, shorts, and flip flops, and carrying an Al Capone style tommy gun. The book was at the printer, when the Virginia Tech shootings happened. The book was postponed. We decided to do a more comical bank robber. A nut-job with a plunger and bunny slippers might give one pause, but is not so much of a threat.

I used DaVinci's Golden Belly Ratio as my design format.


Julia Kelly said...

yeah- the "golden belly" ratio is my favorite too- ahhhh.. you are such an amazing illustrator!!

Kate Higgins said...

Thank the muse that gave artists some use of their left brain even if it is basically subconscious. I married my left brain. He's a contract technical editor. I pile and have gargoyles on my computer, he files and has everything labeled.
I'm going to try the, what did you call them - doinks and the Golden Mean overlays on some of the illustrations I've done. Ones that I know instinctively have something wrong with them but I don't know what. Great left brain/right brain exercise.

MollyMom103 said...

I think your Golden Belly ratio, could be called a Sunburst. I like that all art has a doodle under it.