Happy New Year, Tumblr friends! 2014 was an awesome year, and Iâm looking forward to sharing new work in 2015. But for now, I wanted to look back on a recent assignment and share an account of its creation with you.Â
Other than the occasional Instagram or tweet of a near-completedÂ piece,Â I donât often share much about my process. I think it would be nice to start sharing more about how I make pieces, especially ones where I learn something new or approach an idea in a way I may not have before.
For the Newsweek cover I worked on with Robert Priest & Grace Lee, I had a finite idea to work with: do an illustration of the three bullets mentioned in the cover storyâs investigation of the assassination of JFK. I was prompted to place emphasis on the shadows created by the bullets in a strongly lit environment, and to convey a sense of drama and menace in the illustration with limited visual elements.Â
I was excited to play with the direction of the bullets shadows and to make the cover of the magazine a surface. I wanted to push this further and attempt a trompe lâÅil effect, where the bullets would rest over the text as well, and feel as if they were sitting on top of the magazine.
I also wanted the surface of the illustration to seem a like dirty concrete floor. To create this appearance, I took a piece of watercolor paper to my backyard, rubbed dirt and rocks around it, and stomped the dirt into the paper. I dragged the paper along the concrete with my shoes to tear into it, and add as much texture as possible. A photograph of the finished texture is above.
I created fake bullets out of pen caps and metal sheaths I found at the hardware store. I lit them over the textured paper, and referenced them in both my sketches and in the final. I sent four or five sketches to Robert and Grace, each in different mediums and with varying degrees of texture, contrast, and detail. The final would become a middle ground of the two different sketches above.
The final was painted in sumi ink washes, with details and line done with pen. After scanning the painting in, I added the color and texture in Photoshop, and sent the final on its way.
I love working on assignments like these, where Iâm asked to do something new, or something completely different than the work in my portfolio. Itâs refreshing, and it keeps me on my toes! It was also such a collaborative piece as well, and it was great getting to work closely with Robert and Grace on it.
See full post here: MICHAEL HOEWELER2015-01-05.