ZigZag Style

WFTA 2013 blue

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 Kent’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 “softens†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?

  1. The black lines were created with the Pen Tool and then I adjusted their weights using the Variable Width Tool.
  2. The shadows and highlights were drawn on separate Layers (without zigzags).
  3. I built about four different pattern brushes from triangles.
  4. I applied a pattern brush to a portion of a shadow’s edge (only the portion transitioning from dark to light).
  5. I adjusted the pattern brush with the Variable Width Tool.
  6. 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.
  7. I used either Unite or Merge from Pathfinder, to finalize the shapes with zigzag edges.
  8. Lastly I recolored the shapes.

When done the final image has moved past Rockwell Kent’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.

Close up2 Close up 3

See full post here: Diane Sammet2015-01-30.