Saturday, December 4, 2010

When there came along a fairy...

...who whisked his wings right off! 

(Click image to view larger.)

This is the second of 3 illustrations I completed for Children's Book Illustration with Professor Daniel Powers this quarter. Here is the first one if you haven't seen it yet.

You may not be able to tell since I haven't shown the images preceding this spread, but to clear it up, the little green dude on the corner is the butterfly (his antennae are being whisked off along with the wings,) and the dandelion is the fairy. I specifically did not want to have a humanoid fairy and I figured some kind of flower would work instead, and it did!

So yes, FAIRIES, KITTENS AND BUTTERFLIES. In a Children's Book. Awesome, right? 

In case you missed it in the last post, here is Carolyn Wells' poem that I used for my book:

A kitten went a-walking
One morning in July,
And idly fell a-talking
With a great big butterfly.

The kitten's tone was airy,
The butterfly would scoff;
When there came along a fairy
Who whisked his wings right off.

And then--for it is written
Fairies can do such things--
Upon the startled kitten
She stuck the yellow wings.

The kitten felt a quiver,
She rose into the air,
Then flew down to the river
To view her image there.

With fear her heart was smitten,
And she began to cry,
"Am I a butter-kitten?
Or just a kitten-fly?"

Image © Tatiana Dengo 2010. 

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

PERC Up Coffee - Surrealism

This was our last assignment for Advertising illustration, designing an image to be placed in a poster for a new business in Savannah, PERC Coffee. It was also a contest, the winning illustration from our class would be placed in coffee shops all around Savannah. Sadly, I didn't win, but either way I am very pleased with the result.

 The aim of the project was to communicate a boost of energy, that "perking up" that coffee provides.

I'm not a coffee drinker (what is this? first wine, now coffee?!) So I had to get creative and I figured, I don't enjoy the taste of coffee (unless if it's loaded with chocolate and sugar), BUT  I really love the smell.  I played with the idea of what that scent might incite in someone. And drink-wise, since you get that nice little boost for the day, I figured, to me, that boost is associated with music as much as scent. And here it is:
(Click to view larger.)

Process work:
This is the original version, which I turned in for class (with PERC's template.) The image with the orange sky is the final, revamped version. MUCH better, right?

On Surrealism:

I had about 3 people mention Dali when they saw this and well, I don't agree. Sure it's surrealist but it's not Dali, and he wasn't the only surrealist.

If you've followed my blog so far, you'll notice I haven't exactly drawn anything quite this surreal (except for the guitar train, maybe.) In fact, the majority of pieces I've produced at SCAD have never so much as hinted to surrealism. However, back in high school, barely any of my work WASN'T surrealist. Or it was abstract, non-objective, whatever you want to call it. Basically I drew shapes and I saw objects and places in them.

For instance:

Here, there's an elephant, a flying creature of some sort, a seahorse (though that one's kind of obvious) and a tower walking uphill. There's probably some more birds in there (the shapes I like the most tend to lend themselves perfectly for bird shapes.) Who knows what else you'll find if you flip the image any which way.

When I draw these, objects and places appear both intentionally and unintentionally. From time to time I get this itching, nagging feeling in my hands of just wanting to draw, and I do just that. I don't draw what I see though. I draw whatever shape my hand is itching to draw, almost like fulfilling a craving. And then I add more shapes depending on what I start to see, and maybe even flesh out an object or creature into a more recognizable form, but not too much because that'd defeat the point.

I have never incorporated these mindscapes into my illustrations at SCAD because they are just too abstract. Illustration is about communication and these sketches provide more of an ambiguous, abstract message... which is not an effective way to communicate. These are more suited for fine art.

So, I somehow took a chance for this coffee poster and turned one of my mindscapes into something tangible. I'm not 100% pleased with the result yet, there's a couple of changes I will be making but overall, I'm happy that I finally went ahead and made something surreal for an assignment. It feels risky but closer to home.

All images ©Tatiana Dengo 2010 (except PERC's template.)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

A Serious Question - Children's Book Illustration

The third class I took this quarter was Children's Book illustration.

Due to time constraints, I had to choose a story/verse from the public domain instead of writing my own. I chose "A Serious Question" by Carolyn Wells. It is as follows:

A kitten went a-walking
One morning in July,
And idly fell a-talking
With a great big butterfly.

The kitten's tone was airy,
The butterfly would scoff;
When there came along a fairy
Who whisked his wings right off.

And then--for it is written
Fairies can do such things--
Upon the startled kitten
She stuck the yellow wings.

The kitten felt a quiver,
She rose into the air,
Then flew down to the river
To view her image there.

With fear her heart was smitten,
And she began to cry,
"Am I a butter-kitten?
Or just a kitten-fly?"

We were required to create three pages of illustrations for the book. I chose 3 spreads (6 pages). Here is my favourite spread out of the ones I drew:

(Click to view larger.)
The medium is graphite and digital.

I'm happy I've gotten to experiment so much with this technique this quarter. After 3 years at SCAD, I'm finally starting to feel like this can be MY technique. I've liked many through the years but never had the one that was quite right for me, until now. I've noticed the most successful students are the ones that pick one and stick with it. We all learn at least two dozen techniques here but picking just the right one for you and developing it seems to be the most rewarding approach. Your work gains consistency and you are quickly able to identify what's working and what isn't and if so, how to fix it.

The best part about it is it can be done either in paint or digitally. Due to the volume of work I had this quarter, most of it was digital, since it's faster that way.

The sad part is I really enjoy painting but painting only constitutes about 10-20% of the work in this technique. It's all mostly in the drawing, really.

Either way, I'm really happy with the results of using it all quarter. I've never been more consistently pleased with my work.  :)

Illustration ©Tatiana Dengo 2010.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Wine Label - The Vicar

Our third Advertising illustration project: make a wine label for Chapel Hill's flagship wine,"The Vicar."

Initially, the aim of the project was to keep it uppity and elegant, something suitable for a high-price wine such as The Vicar. Eventually we just decided to go for a more playful, less uppity approach, but still keeping the name and such.

I decided to go for a wrap-around label since I've always found those most amusing on bottles. They give you something to entertain yourself with.

I did some research on the Shiraz grapes which are grown in McLaren Vale.  Some recurring themes were: the great Mediterranean climate, the rolling hills and the ocean visible just past them; so I made the illustration with that image in mind.  The medium is graphite and digital.

And here is the result: 

The colours printed out slightly darker than the original.

Close ups:

 As you can see, the seam is right at the doors. Originally these were gonna be closed to allow for a cleaner seam but I figured it'd be more interesting to have them just slightly open, and it was! The only problem is at the time, I didn't account for the thicker paper I used to print it out, so that's why there is a little white seam there, but that's easily fixable.

The only thing I would do different is to change the letters of the logo to the light yellow of the other letters, I didn't do it at the time since I didn't know if we were allowed to alter the logo.

Note: I don't own the Chapel Hill logo nor the "The Vicar" logo. These were only used for this class's purposes. The only type treatment I did was for "Shiraz 2007, 750ml."

All images ©Tatiana Dengo 2010 (with the exception of the logos, as noted above.)

Friday, October 29, 2010

Esprit Typographic Playing Cards!

This the most intensive, time-consuming project I have EVER had in my 3 years at SCAD.

A full deck of cards, all 52 cards, plus 2 jokers, PLUS a box to put them in AND a poster to advertise them... All made entirely out of letterforms! So all you see below here is absolutely all letters, nothing else.

I chose Esprit because I wanted a Transitional typeface that wouldn't be too stiff (since I had stiff, mechanical Bodoni last project) and Esprit was absolutely perfect. It's straight and serious enough but still has little flourishes.

Here is a sample of the cards I made:

Sorry for the nasty watermarks. Also, blogger seems to mute down the colours a bit.

I printed them out, cut them all, and clipped the corners, took forever!

And this is the backside of the cards:

I actually have two versions of the cards. The other version is based on the traditional playing card approach (you still get the corresponding number of the suit's symbol in each card, but they're all the same size.)  I used this approach you see above since every individual card becomes more immediately intense that way, as if each card were an individual poster. Basically, with the traditional approach, they all blend in like a crowd, this way they come out as individuals.

When choosing the colours, I was thinking of chocolate and what combination of colours made me hungry. I even dismissed certain combinations simply because they made me nauseous. Gladly a girl in my class picked up on the "hungry" colours. She said they were all chocolate with blueberry, mint, raspberry and orange.

The beauty of working with Illustrator is nothing is set in stone, so I have also planned another version of the colours that is somewhat lighter than these; they'll be even more candy-like then!

All images and designs ©Tatiana Dengo 2010. All rights reserved.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Bodoni - Typeface Poster

This was our first typography project, with Professor Jorge Montero.

I love typography because I’m a bookworm and have spent a great part of my life endlessly sifting through all sorts of letters and it is wonderful to finally sit down and see what’s behind their designs. 

Also, since illustration and typography cross over so often, I might as well learn both disciplines so I can do it myself in the future.

Anyway, we were given a typeface at random. I got Bodoni. Elegant, vertical, high contrast Bodoni.

We had to pretend this was a new typeface that we designed and are revealing to the world by means of a double-sided poster. 

Aaand here is the front:

(Click to view larger.)

And the back:

(Click to view larger.)
I chose purple since Bodoni is a very elegant typeface and purple is a regal colour. White so that the letters would enhance the natural contrast of Bodoni’s letterform and orange to stand out against the purple (instead of using the expected complimentary, blinding yellow.)  I also inverted the colours to stylistically relate the two sides.

This is the only graphic design class I've ever taken, so it felt really bizarre at first. Everybody went straight to designing on the computers and they were immediately consumed in this never-ending rhythm of clicks while I basically felt pretty castrated until I grabbed some pencil and paper and started sketching out my design by hand.

This may be because I'm an illustrator, but I feel that computers, while fast and efficient, highly limit the way you think about the design. Designing on a computer is a step removed from your senses. It is infinitely more intuitive to manipulate the letters with your bare hands instead of pressing keys and clicking on a mouse. Currently, I feel like computers are more of a tool that allow you to reproduce these designs cleanly and efficiently after the initial planning on paper.

Both front and back poster designs © Tatiana Dengo 2010.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Million Dollar Quartet - Poster

This was our second project for Advertising illustration with Prof. Ryan Sanchez. Broadway Musical Posters!

We were given a list of about 8 musicals and I chose Million Dollar Quartet. I was torn between this and La Cage Aux Folles.

Million Dollar Quartet is basically about one night in musical history. December 4, 1956, Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash and Jerry Lee Lewis had an impromptu jam session at Sun Records in Memphis. The session was recorded, reporters were called, and now it's a musical!

I chose the Quartet since I've recently been listening to a lot of Elvis music. I listened to the other guys' stuff and loved it as well. Plus, all of this music also reminds me of my dad's music library, which is full of these oldies and hits from around the same time period (I think.)

So I came up with 18 ideas, chose 3 of those, made 9 comps (3 for each idea) and we finally rounded it down to this comp:
 I honestly can't say I was too excited about this idea. My favourite ideas all had old-timey microphones in them as the main focus but these heads were more appealing to everyone.

That's a very important part of the process of illustration. You definitely need to have other people look at your stuff because after a while, you can't see the forest for the trees. Basically it's easy to make stupid mistakes that become invisible to the artist but others can spot them immediately. And even though you might love a certain concept, others might feel that another concept will work better for the message.

The type was completely handmade and wasn't based on any pre-existing typeface. It was actually the first element I drew in my comps. After my unsatisfying experience with typography on the Restless CD cover, I decided to work with the type from the very beginning instead of the very end, that way I could continuously adjust the image's look to the text and vice versa. Basically the type and the image are based off each other simultaneously.

I then drew each element of the illustration by hand and scanned it in, for instance:

Added colour and texture in Photoshop and voila:
(Click to view larger.)
 From top to bottom: Carl Perkins, Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash. 
Still managed to keep the old-timey mic in there too! :)

I'm still thinking of making some colour adjustments to the image in the future but it shall stay like this for now. 

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Restless - CD Cover

This was our first project for Advertising Illustration, a CD cover for a band. Our professor, Ryan Sanchez, didn't want to put any images in our heads, so he gave the band a fictional name, "The Restless" (real name is Matty Charles and the Valentines.) We all listened to the CD and came up with our own ideas.

The CD has a recurring theme about traveling. In the thumbnail process, I tried to keep humans out of the picture since we don't know what the band members look like and I didn't want to assume "Oh, folk, country-sounding music, guys with cowboy hats and cowboy boots." I adhered to the places the protagonist might have seen while traveling or objects that allude to traveling, for instance, a train; as well as important objects related to the story: his guitar.

First comp sketch:

 Playing around with a map background. There were more comps after this one but I didn't include them since they were more of the same image except for different camera angles and tweaks on the train/guitar elements.

My dad is a huge rail fan and train modeler so I had his feedback in order to create a train that a rail fan would somewhat approve of (the rest I attributed to artistic license haha.) Using a lot of reference pictures I was glad to find more train/guitar elements that worked together. The bridge of the guitar as the cow catcher, the sound hole of the guitar as the round front of the train, and the neck of the guitar as the chimney (steam trains are my favourites, too!) A LOT of tweaking was done to this as to have the viewer go "Oh hey look, it's a trai-- ohhh wait it's also a guitar!"

Graphite with revisions after the comp:

Final with gouache:

All images ©Tatiana Dengo 2010.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Musaraña - My first published work!

This is the big project I worked on this summer, a spread for Revista Musaraña. This is a bi-annual publication published in Costa Rica. It combines art and literature,  assigning writers and artists in pairs in order to produce a collaboration based solely on their own inspiration.

 (cover design ©Mariela Montoya 2010)

I had the pleasure of illustrating my friend Sofia Gonzalez's story. We played with the idea of the ways in which we imagine the world works when we're children. In this case, our protagonist believes electricity is produced by an underground army of hamsters, until he reaches adulthood and starts going a little bit nuts.

Sofia and I favoured the idea of a triptych, for both the text and the illustration.

This was my process:

 Sofia: ... is that a hamster hugging a mattress wearing a diaper?
Tati: ... yes. And that is the one and only time you will ever ask that question in your life.


  After three years of playing around with every imaginable medium, I'm starting to settle down with this graphite/colour pencil and acrylic/gouache/ink technique. First you set the values down with graphite and then add the colour in with any of the aforementioned mediums. I prefer gouache because of the lift-off but in this case I used acrylic and ink since it's what I had available in CR. This picture only shows the two ends because the middle was... let's say freestyle (because it's not improvised if I had already planned what was gonna go there, yes?)


This was a quick picture I took. I wasn't quite done by this point, but all I did after that was make the colours MUCH more vivid.

(Click to view larger.)

All images ©Tatiana Dengo 2010 unless otherwise stated.
Story text seen in the pictures ©Sofia Gonzalez 2010.