Every year I create a poster for our local Humane Society that promotes their most important fundraising event, The Walk For The Animals. For 2013 they asked me if I would design an image that could be screen-printed onto T-Shirts. I jumped at the opportunity. Then I learned that I could only use the limited colors from the logo, no gradients, and no special effects. I love a challenge.
Also, I love the graphic black and white work of Rockwell Kent. With such a limited palette, he like many of his contemporaries defined form via silhouette shadows and then gave the illusion of 3-D with fine lines and zigzag shapes along the transitional edges between white and black.
Using Rockwell Kentâ€™s style as my inspiration, I developed a process in Adobe Illustrator that uses flat opaque color but along transitional edges I applied a zigzag pattern. From normal viewing distance, the zigzag â€œsoftensâ€ the stark change from dark to light as our human eyes close in the gaps. Close up the zigzags add an almost woodcut feel.
How was this done?
- The black lines were created with the Pen Tool and then I adjusted their weights using the Variable Width Tool.
- The shadows and highlights were drawn on separate Layers (without zigzags).
- I built about four different pattern brushes from triangles.
- I applied a pattern brush to a portion of a shadowâ€™s edge (only the portion transitioning from dark to light).
- I adjusted the pattern brush with the Variable Width Tool.
- I repeated steps 4 and 5 for all the shadow and highlight shapes. When all the shadows and highlights had zigzags and variable widths, I used Expand Appearance to make them permanent.
- I used either Unite or Merge from Pathfinder, to finalize the shapes with zigzag edges.
- Lastly I recolored the shapes.
When done the final image has moved past Rockwell Kentâ€™s style into a new derivative. I think that is how it should be. Digital art learns from the past and builds upon it, making imagery that exceeds boundaries.
See full post here: Diane Sammet2015-01-30.