Here I am again with an update of my work and life as a children’s book illustrator. I have been busy lately trying to get the best out of photography to show my work in its best light. Believe me I have tried countless times to achieve the best quality photos, I have tried taking my own pictures outside and in, in different lighting conditions, at different times of the day etc. with both my mobile phone and a new camera , which at the point of purchase I was promised it was the best thing since sliced bread, (I know they would say that) anyway I thought I would give it a go. The results are better than my i phone, but only by a small margin. It doesn’t over expose to the extent of the phone but lacks in other areas instead. Anyway, after lots of trial and error I finally decided to have my work photographed professionally to see if they could do any better.Now i told all the photographers concerned that i wanted the best they could do as the images were intended for not just my website, but eventually they would be used for sending out postcards etc to publishers /agents etc, i was expecting high results. First I tried a local wedding photographer who swore they could capture anything extremely well. In short, they didn’t, I was very disappointed. suffice it to say it ruined my work. and so, I left with the guys voice proclaiming ‘well you will never get a true representation of reality with a camera’ ringing in my ears. I tried again thinking it was just my bad luck, with another local photographer. Now I will say that they both had premises and 20 years experience, so I was expecting something half decent. The next lady this time was very sweet ‘yes i will have them with you in 3 days, I was so looking forward , and…pow! unbelievable! again work ruined, believe me it was bad, terrible in fact. Now I’m not one for giving up, I thought I am going about this all wrong, I need to find a commercial photographer. I tried the Bark website. pretty handy for finding someone for your project. I looked up commercial photographers and within a few hours I had a phone call from a photographer, based in Chester he was extremely professional and talked at length about the technicalities of achieving the best results, I was hooked, and after considering hard the hefty price tag/hike I thought this is it. He picked the work up and promised the images in a few days.This guys work was amazing he had 15 years experience, was a Getty photographer and specialised in commercial still life subjects for packaging/advertising etc. I was exited at the prospect of brilliant photography….A few days later he sent them via an email link, before he would return with my originals later in the day…Oh my god!! They were awful , absolutely terrible, what had I done to deserve this I thought 3 separate photographers all promising they could do a great job… all rubbish!, my own attempts were better, far better, with no specialist camera or lighting equipment. I was and still am perplexed , I did receive my work back and had a nice word with the photographer.He was adamant they were great , and even came in to where I live to view them on my computer along with my own attempts, he still didn’t see it!He sent me his invoice, then there were a few email returns until he said that he would try again with the ones he had taken to make them good, I’m still waiting, and I am not at all convinced of any improvement. now oi know what your thinking 3 different photographers , your thinking it must be me, I must be wrong or I’m the one who is not looking at them right. believe me they were that bad I was going to put some of them here to illustrate but they are so bad that I thought it not the best idea. I am an artist/ illustrator, I create my own reality I stage the scene and design the set, I conduct all the lighting depth of field, tonality etc etc, I must have some insight into what is good and what is not good surely. One of the reasons I am not fond of wholly digital work is because apart from it all looking the same, it doesn’t allow for finite nuances , I don’t care what the moguls say. If photography is not what it is made out to be, and that in its revolution of art and how it has forced artists to partake in all things digital, then I am not convinced. I know everything eventually becomes a digital representation in the end, but if its not like reality and doesn’t reflect reality in the truest sense then there is some injustice going on , how many images seen on line are not a true representation, it brings into question the validity of what we are given to view. Anyway that’s my rant over. To be quite honest I thought it would be quite straight forward to photograph my work. My work in the flesh so to speak is a good distance away from the photographic reality I am achieving presently. The depth of tone and colour is far more pronounced, and the light is far more finite and underrepresented in the current photographs. Until I can find the best way to reproduce it to its best, all I can do is post what I have until hopefully I am ready to publish my website with the best photographic examples. If anyone has any advice please feel free to post in the comments below, I would be eternally grateful.
Someone asked me via social media recently who my influences are. I have many, indeed along the road of development and style change, my hero’s of illustration altered, however, some of the main illustrators, i have admired have never changed they include Ralph Steadman, Ronald Searle, and Quentin Blake. As my style emerged, and knowledge grew, I found others that would inspire me and the direction my work would take, two in particular are Chris Riddell,(Uk) children’s laureate and Jim Harris (American) both are expert draughtsman in the traditional sense, both work mainly with traditional media, both work within naturalistic, and anapromorphic paradigms, and to me are what true illustrators are, you wont find any wholly digital working illustrators in my hero list. I have recently finished my seventeenth work of the twenty I am aiming to complete before I re launch my website. I had a plan to start with single figures and small groups then the latter ones would be more complex in design with a multitude of characters, and more akin to full or double page layout illustrations.The next three will continue to develop more complex designs. The first below, is a work inspired by my postman who said he had been chased by a dog one day. I took this idea and as I wanted to make some monster pictures I decided to place a monster instead of a dog, that the postman was running away from:
Charlie the friendly monster meets the postman.
Its raining cats and Frogs. (How many cats and frogs can you find)
The above image and the one below are designed to show that a image can be produced with an area left without any image for the text to be placed. The above work was inspired by those picture books that offer some kind of interaction from the children, in this case counting is advocated. as you can see with these two designs I have placed the characters centrally with differing frontal elevation perspectives.. Again this work is self initiated for my portfolio. The way I have produced the illustrations is to illustrate how my style can be manipulated, within a page. If the work was a real commission then there would be more finite requirements, that would need to be adhered to, such as working within a specific page size framework and allowing the correct bleed of the artwork to fit within the printing parameters. By the way If you would like to follow my progress as I go then My Instagram page is where I post work as I complete it, along with Work in progress drawings, and other drawings that I complete: https://www.instagram.com/johnhoganchildrensillustrator/
The price monster family visit the Zoo