Thursday, June 3, 2010

It all started at the circus when...

This piece was the second project I did during my spring semester this past year. It was done using thinned down gouache and ink on cold press with some wipe off technique. Personally I love the versatility gouache gives you. You can paint opaquely with it similar to acrylic and oil but you can also thin it down and use it as a watercolor. Or you can mix both methods together.
To be perfectly honest I wasn't really much of a painter before this past year at school. I never enjoyed it as much and as embarrassing as it is to admit I didn't really think I needed to learn how since I primarily wanted to do comics and figured I'd use Photoshop for color. But after spending all of sophomore year doing paintings it has really grown on me and I quite enjoy it.

Now normally I need to do a bit of thinking to come up with a good idea for a project, but the second i got the prompt of "It all started at the circus when..." I immediately wanted to do the origin of Robin (Dick Grayson). The only other perimiter was that the piece had to fit in a circular format. So I started thumbing and getting a few ideas of how to go about it. I eventually decided i wanted to depict the story in a sequential manner, but after a few tries I realized that having rectangular panels in a circle flattened the piece and made it look a lot like a logo. So I decided to curve the panels and make them fit more naturally inside the circle. My teacher suggested that I overlap different elements accross the borders to increase the visual flow, such as the rope and his moms head on his shoulder. I'm quite happy with this over all and I also learned a valuable inking lesson. It is much easier for me to ink after painting. I find I am less temped to add unneeded value or crosshatching which can occur if I ink before painting. This was a tip I picked up from reading about the process of an artist named Dustin Nugyen. If you haven't already, check out his work because he's an absolutely fantastic illustrator.

Just in case you are unfamiliar with the character, Dick Grayson (the original Robin) belonged to a family of trapeze artists named the Flying Graysons, who one night had their trapeze line cut. Dick then watched as his parents fell to their deaths unable to do anything.

I should also say, even though it's obvious, that Robin/Dick Grayson is a character owned by DC comics and not by me.

-Jason

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