Site Meter Chris Seddon :: Illustrator :: Blog: August 2009

Sunday, August 30, 2009


Whenever someone says, "that scared the bejesus out of me," I always picture something like this.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Illustration Process - BeeJesus pt. 2

So we last left off in the illustration process just before the refined sketch. Keep in mind, though I call it refined, the emphasis should be on sketch. Usually this sketch(es) is done to clarify the concept, color and composition in my own mind. This is usually a 15 minute effort.

You can see the concept sketch of BeeJesus here. This sketch took about 10 minutes once I had the previous steps completed. Rather than flesh out details I just indicate them. For example the hexagonal eye texture is only hinted at in this sketch.

Since this was a self-initiated project, I am my own client. Notes, explanations or discussions were not needed and I could very quickly move through the draft illustration process directly to the final illustration. When dealing with a client communication is vital to a successful outcome.
Here is my final illustration.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Illustration Process - BeeJesus pt.1

My illustration process usually works something like this:
  • Concept - Whether through brainstorming, serendipity or the guidance of an art director, I will begin with the concept for the illustration.
  • Initial sketch(es) - I will play with the concept and do some rough sketches or thumbnails without reference, often playing with details.
  • Gathering references - I will seek out images of details to be included in the drawing. These can include images from the Internet, magazines, client provided materials or photos I take myself.
  • Refined sketch(es) - Still just rough sketches I will incorporate details from my references, establish the overall composition, and determine the color palette. If the client was fairly confident of the direction they wanted to go I might just create one sketch. In other cases, I may have 2-3 different drawings playing with color, composition or concept. These refined sketches are generally for my own purposes, but I may share them with a client if I have a question about color, composition or concept.
  • Draft illustration(s) - Now I'll prepare a draft illustration(s). These works, though perhaps lacking complex textures or intricate detail work, should look ready for publication in my estimation. I will make sure to clearly note any missing detail(s) with the client.
  • Incorporating feedback - I will listen and write down what the client has said and incorporate the desired changes into the illustration(s). If the changes are significant, draft illustration(s) will be resubmitted to gather feedback. Otherwise, it is on to the final illustration.
  • Final illustration - I will prepare the final illustration and send it to my client. Even though I think it is final, I always ask for feedback and, if the client wishes, make any necessary changes. It is not truly the final illustration until the client signs off on it.
In this particular instance the project was self initiated. The concept arose serendipitously while attending a meeting. Someone used the word "Bejesus". I always thought it was a funny word. I like the way it sounds and I chuckle inwardly whenever I here it. I was taking notes and, as I am prone to do in longer meetings, doodling . So my inner chuckle was expressed as the initial sketch you see here, which I filed away for a possible future illustration.

Today I began the next step in that process, gathering references. The references pictured were found on the Internet and I will incorporate some of details into my refined sketch. My plan for the refined sketch will be a portrait, 3/4 view, facing left, from the shoulders up with just a glimpse of robe, I will alter the eye shape and antennae to more closely resemble the bee references. The color palette will be black and yellow.

Since, in this case, I am both client and illustrator and can provide my own immediate feedback, I will have a refined sketch and a final illustration ready next time.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Abusing Your Facebook Friends

In the past I had gotten a couple of accidental but quite good design critiques on work I posted to Facebook. This gave me an idea. What if I tried posting some work there which I intentionally left unrefined and solicited feedback.
Could I create a design process where I harnessed the hive mind of my Facebook friends so that I could mow the lawn, work on my kitchen remodel project and spend time with my family while still refining my design? The answer is yes.
In my previous post I described the beginning of my design process for creating a logo for the "Design Lab" where I work. I had created a pencil sketch where the word "LAB" had the letter "A" replaced by an erlenmeyer flask with a computer mouse inside. If I had followed my normal process I would have then moved on to the treatment of "Design" and continued refining the design on my own through various iterations and lots of thinking. This time, I let Facebook do some of the thinking for me.
The process worked something like this.
  1. Post a draft of the design to Facebook.
  2. Let it bake for an hour or two.
  3. Check back and see the comments.
  4. Respond with my own comments.
  5. Wait an hour or two.
  6. Check the comments again.
  7. Refine the design.
  8. Repeat as needed.
The results are shown. Your results may vary. I happen to have very talented and articulate Facebook friends.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Using Downtime Creatively

Have you ever been stuck somewhere unexpectedly? The airport, the train, a long meeting? Well, I found myself in just such a situation this past Friday.
Usually during times like these I find myself doodling. I even came up with an illustration idea I will unveil later in the week. However, this time after some idle doodling, I decided to focus on rebranding the computer lab where I work.
The lab has recently changed its name from the "Mac CAD Lab" to the "Design Lab" so I wrote down the words and started brainstorming. I jotted down some words and drew some quick sketches that evoked "lab" "tech" and "design". I drew a variety of keyboards, monitors, test tubes, beakers and mice.
I settled on the concept of a mouse to represent both "tech" and "design". It was more simple graphically than many of the other objects and better represents the creative connection to the computer than other peripherals.
To signify "lab" I thought of a variety of chemistry glassware, but an erlenmeyer flask seemed the most interesting graphically.
The concept of a mouse in the flask seemed like a natural way to combine the two elements. I further refined the concept with some additional sketches, eventually settling on a somewhat stylized mouse silhouetted in a dark flask.
After a short while playing with that concept I noticed the flask could make an ideal "A" in the word "LAB" and sketched out some very rough treatments.
At this point my "downtime" ended. It was time to move on and get back to work. So I tucked my work away and headed back to my office to do other things.
Tomorrow, I'll share the complete design, and how I used Facebook to get design critiques and generally save time in refining the final product.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Homepage Complete

I have finished the revisions to my portfolio site and will resume regular postings on Monday. The mission of the site has changed. Initially this site was intended for my own amusement. Now I will be saying a little bit more about myself as an illustrator and discussing my creative process. The posted illustrations, while many may still be for my own amusement, will usually be more fleshed out than the quick sketches that were frequently posted before.

Thanks for hanging around.

Friday, August 7, 2009

I'm Working On My Portfolio Site... I won't be posting for the next few days.