Jumbla Workshop: Illustration

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Every so often, the creatives at Jumbla get round a table and share some wisdom of an area of their expertise. This seemed like a perfect thing to share with you! This week we will have a look into the area of illustration:

So to start things off simply, what is illustration?

Illustration is the art of creating images from an idea. Illustration can be used to explain, clarify, represent or simply decorate. “Illustrations are pictures to read, words to look at.” -Pierre LeTan, illustrator.

So now we have a slightly better idea of what this is all about, but how do you determine what to create? This comes from a little thing called style: created through the infinite combination of line, form, colour and composition.

Many things can influence ones style, from cultural references, to era specific styles and references styles. But let’s dig a little deeper into each one of those:

Cultural references are those where the illustration is culturally informed and shaped by country that produces it. Era specific styles are often informed by cultural design trends of a specific time period. It can also be influenced by the available technologies. While referencing styles relates to taking cultural, stylistic or era specific aesthetics in order to invoke different moods and themes into a piece of illustration. Everything from your choice of colour, form, line can be utilised to push a desired semiotic association.

Fuelling creativity is an incredibly important part of any creative experience and it can often be quite a challenge. There are loads of places to take inspiration from, start with the obvious ones: Pinterest, Behance, Dribble and Vimeo. But don’t just stop there, you can draw inspiration from everywhere. Don’t just look at disciplines that are relevant to you either. By doing this, you will build up your mental library and will be able to easily look back on your references when starting new projects.

Don’t forget to challenge yourself! It’s important to challenge yourself and explore different illustration styles, it will allow you to step out of your comfort zone, it keeps things fun, and you will grow your skill base!

A great way to start things off is to thumbnail your projects. It involves creating thumbnail sketches in order to get a lot of ideas out on the page in a short amount of time. It creates a great starting point for brainstorming ideas, it lets you explore different aspects of a subject, you are able to get raw ideas out on paper with no restrictions, it saves time and provides direction for the final result.

Character expression can be quite a difficult part of illustration, and there are many ways to express emotion in a character. The most obvious of course is facial expression. A characters face is one of the things that our eye is immediately drawn to. and the first thing we recognise is their expression. In order to create effective and clear facial expressions its really important to study expressions. Use a mirror and make expressions and look at the individual parts of the face and exactly what they are doing. Exaggerate expressions, this will help people clearly identify the mood and it will help to convey the characters personality. And finally, complement facial expressions with body language, it is a very important part when conveying mood.

So there you have it, some tips direct from the Jumbla creatives on how to improve your illustration skills! Now go, and practice those drawings!



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