I’m currently teaching an illustration class to kids/teens in the homeschooling community. For one recent activity, I had a bowl containing papers with words like “cat,” “dog,” “bear,” “child,” “teenager,” etc. written on them. Another bowl contained characteristics or occupations like “chef,” “super hero,” “cowboy/girl,” “bratty,” etc. Everyone closed their eyes and pulled a paper out of each bowl – that was the character they were to invent.
I decided to do this activity myself (on my own time). I pulled out the words “child” and “artist.”
I love the creative process. Preliminary sketches – some that work and some that don’t – lead to a shape, gesture, or an expression that catches my eye. “What can I do with that?” I wonder. Then, the ideas start streaming – perhaps this, perhaps that. The image begins to build itself and the story begins to unfold in unpredictable ways. I’m just as surprised as any at the result sometimes.
Next, I might photocopy the sketch to play around with color ideas. In this case, I used many types of media. The character is painting the setting around him, so I used loosely-brushed acrylic paint for the background. The character himself was painted with gouache and then detailed with color pencil.
Then, the staring begins. I tape it up on the wall so I can look at it frequently as I go about my day. “Issues” often jump out at me on first glance after I’ve stepped away from it for a while and then walk back into the room. So, tweaking happens in bits and pieces over a couple of days. That’s how I roll…
Finally, VOILA! It’s done.