Recently, I was featured in Work Life 3: the Uppercase directory of illustration. When the call for submissions came, I figured that, other than some potential ego bruising, I had nothing to lose.
And, what if….they said yes?
My feet didn’t touch the ground for days.
Based on their work and an interview for the publication, each selected artist received a different assignment for their featured illustration. Here are a few of my favorites:
“Take your comment, “illustration is my never-ending playground” as the starting point for your illustration. Show yourself keeping busy and having fun in the creative environment.” – assigned to Cecilie Ellefsen
“Using images and handlettering, illuminate your statement: “I’m still explaining what I do for a living.” -assigned to Katy Dockrill
” Envision your own folklore or fairy tale and make a self-portrait in which elements of you (ie your hair, limbs, clothes, and/or body) depict the story.” -assigned to Katie Skau
And my assignment, based on my answer to the question How and why did you become an illustrator or an artist?:
“Draw a portrait illustrating this: “I get this buzz…an electric current of excitement that lights me up from head to toe. I am an illustrator because it makes my soul sparkle.”
I knew I wanted to show my character in the air, with pure joy exploding from her head. So I started with some rough pencil sketches.
From here, I moved onto the computer and created several digital sketches. I often work in grayscale while I am figuring out the composition of an illustration because I get too sidetracked by the power of color.
This is still very rough, but my “character” is beginning to take shape. I wanted to convey enthusiasm, joy, and the process of ideas incubating and hatching.
Drawing in my sketchpad or sitting in front of my laptop, I am usually working alone. This can be incredibly isolating. For this piece especially, I needed some feedback so I showed my sketches to a few trusted souls, including Janine. We decided that I needed to flesh the idea out a bit more, add more of “me” and my process as an illustrator.
As a side note, while creating this piece I found out I was pregnant with my second child. This was incredibly exciting but, as those of you familiar with the first trimester of pregnancy know, this is also when you are most likely to be sick. I will spare you the gory details, but for 3-4 months after I finished this illustration, it made me feel sick to even look at it because I felt so terrible while putting it together. Now in the third trimester my nausea has, for the most part, abated. And I can reflect on this project without feeling like I am going to lose my lunch.
Incorporating the aforementioned art direction, I turned the eggs into light bulbs, and added my laptop, a sketchpad, and my collection of paintbrushes, pens and pencils. I also started to play with color–which is often my favorite step.
I came up with two different color palettes. Looking at them now, I am still torn between which one I like better, though I chose the option on the left.
The final step was to take the whole thing into Photoshop to add texture and shading.
True to the design aesthetic we have all come to expect from Uppercase, this publication is clearly a labor of love. The level of talent is both impressive and inspiring– and I am truly humbled to have been included.