Thursday, 10 April 2014

Cull in the void

So today I have something very special to share. My very first professional job. I received this job through email after the lovely Lulu Rae saw my Loop profile. Let this be a lesson to all that you should keep free portfolio websites up to date, they are just important as the ones you pay money for.

I was stoked! I couldn't believe someone actually wanted me to do work for them! I was to illustrate a band for Happy, which is a NSW based blog and web-zine that promotes local indie music acts.

The band in question was Cull, a NSW band that classify their style as friendrock/dreamgaze. These are not genres I'm at all familiar with, so I would suggest you have a listen here. You can also check out their website. I'm going to be honest and say that I hadn't heard of them before I started this work.

"Wow, let me just say first! Amazing illustration!!
We all love it. Thank you so much.

After a few back and forth emails about the requirements for the image, I set myself into research mode, which is always the first thing I do. This involved going on the bands Facebook page, website and Youtube channel. The later was for drawing (Pun!) inspiration from the visuals in their videos and the music itself. I concluded the music made me think about the unknown, particularly the great unknown expanse of the galaxy and universe itself. I considered the emptiness and excitement of space exploration, the final frontier as Star Trek calls it (big fan by the way). This was also helped by the clip to their newest single 'The Sacred Burial Urn' which features footage from a 1960's era science fiction. So I did some research into retro sci-fi and spacesuits, since being a portrait I need would something for the band to wear. Research done.

So into my sketchbook I went, though the entire process of the final artwork was digital, I still find it easier to sketch on paper first. This took about 4 hours or so, which is pretty quick for me. The whole time I was listening to Cull's Youtube channel on repeat to really get in the mood.
"You're so lovely!
I'm so glad you're as happy with everything as we are.
We are stoked!
When it came to the band's faces, I ran into some difficulty. I don't often base the faces I draw on real people, and the only times I do is in life-drawing. What made it more difficult, was the lack of good photo-reference on the net. To get more I looked up previous bands the members had been in...I felt like a stalker!

The next step was to use my sketches to work up the line work in Photoshop. I usually start quite rough and slowly develop the drawing as I go. You might ask why the line art in red rather than the traditional black (which is what I usually do)? I knew that the background would be space, which is black (no, really?), so I thought black lines would mostly be lost in the background. Next time I do an artwork I'll be sure to take some screen-grabs so I can show my process in pictures. Until then, you must wait.

Most of the rest of the process is fairly self-explanatory, but I'll go into more detail when I have pictures to support what I'm saying. After being happy with the figures I moved on to the background. Now originally I decided to have a space shuttle flying through behind the band, but after finishing the figures I realised it might make the picture look a bit busy (not to mention the size the image would appear on the website would probably render the the shuttle too small to make out properly) and instead opted for a planet (with bonus moon).

So I finished the final image after about a week of fairly continuous work and emailed it to Lulu. What happened next was something I did not expect...

Now I will admit that on a personal level I thought this artwork as one of my best to date. However I didn't expect the fantastic response I received. I've interspersed this post with a few choice quotes by Lulu from our emails (used with permission of course).
"Thank YOU so much Reiko, people like you make it
easy and such a pleasure for us.
Truly, I was awed by her words. I was not expecting such high praise! I've really felt a boost to my confidence as an artist: I never imagined my first job would go so well. But it got even better! I also received a lovely message on Facebook from Alex Sol Watts, one of the members of the band. To get a positive comment from the band as well left me ecstatic.

I hope every job I do from now on turns out as well as this one did. It was such a joy to do. ^_^

Until next time...

1 comment:

  1. Hey Rieko!
    Really nice work. Glad to see your style is coming along great. Sounds like the band was really happy with it. Stay in touch with them as they might be working on a new album one day.
    Robin C