Now that I'm a full-time freelancer, I'm starting to present my illustration stuff more. I took a look at the Oldies But Goodies files and decided to re-purpose 2 of them:
RED QUEEN (Before)
Back in 2004, I was commissioned to create chracter designs for this top secret project. I was pretty happy with what I came up with then, but looking at it now, overall, I feel like the whole piece looks flat and faded, so I went in and just did some re-adjusting and light retouching. It's amazing what a little lighting can do to really punch up an illustration. Also, I think my design skills are in a different place right now as well.
RED QUEEN (After)
As I was sifting through my archives, I found this. In 2005, I did an illustration for a small trade pub. Actually, I've always kinda hated it. My style was so undeveloped at the time, that it ended up looking really amateur and generic, rather than the stylized art I intended it to be. And I'm just realizing how stiff my figure work used to be. Now that I'm getting more gigs for the youth market, I decided that this was one of the pieces that had a potential that didn't quite match the execution:
FAMILY CLINIC (2005)
FAMILY CLINIC (2009)
I think the things that didn't work for me on the original were:
1. Style: I was trying to go in the stylized direction originally, but totally didn't achieve it. I didn't know how to push the figure shapes to show variety in structures. I'm currently practicing my charicature skillz, so that's why I went in the direction I did. My creative influences are drawn from a lot of comics and cartoons, some being Anime and Disney, and I think that's pretty evident in my art style. Although since it's doesn't look fully Disney or Anime, I feel like my stuff ends up looking derivative, but I didn't understand the fundamentals enough to accurately draw in those styles. My figures were stuck in the structures I got from those cartoons, and I wasn't pushing it far enough to be counted as a successful illustration. For the new one, I really wanted to play with shapes, so that's why I came up with the new solutions I did.
Same principle goes for the fonts I used for "Clinic". Could I have picked a more boring font? I'm not a trype artist, nore am I a background artist, but I've learned that every element used in a composition should be treated with as much care as the objects you really want to draw. I usually put a lot of work in the detail of my character design, I should apply some character to the backgrounds as well.
2. Space & Composition: In the original piece, everything looks like it all falls on the same plane. In the new version, I can better separate what's on the foreground, and what's in background. As for the actual clinic, I wanted to convey better that it was, in fact, a building structure in the background, and now that I have a better understanding on how to draw functional architecture, and the fact that I now use references, I don't have to fake my buildings as much.
3. Color: What was I thinking??? A dark green gradient as the solution for the Clinic building? That's just laziness and bad design. Honestly, I arbitrarily picked that color and settled on it. Not a lot of thought process went into it, and I think it shows.
Needless to say, I am 100% more happy with it. It's finally got the style and focus I've always envisioned for it. This is not normally my drawing style. Or maybe it's becoming my style. I dunno. I've just been doing a lot more studying lately, and now I can bring my mind to visualize differently, and get my hand to draw it like this. And I didn't even have to use any references. :)