Weaknesses, photo reliance, too much detail, forgetting the purpose of practise, the problematic limitations of portraiture
This entry is a self-reflective analysis of my own working practice. I will be discussing the artefacts created as a result of client work previously undertaken.
As previously discussed in the last entry I expressed the ‘filtration’ of ideas processed by the illustrator, and the inherent influence the capability (or autonomy) has on a given project. ‘Transmission loss’ describes the resulting variation of output in relation to the initial plan, sketch or idea open for expression.
In this post, I will apply the same methodology of thought inwards, and discuss my won weaknesses in practice.
In this project, the key objective expressed by the client was to portray likeness and carry the style consistently throughout both playing cards.
I feel I achieved both goals, however in retrospect the extent to which I considered likeness and style and the holistic nature of the brief shows many traits of weakness as discussed in the contextual research of my proposal U22978.
Images where supplied by the creative director, as was the brief. I must confess the opportunity to do this work arose from an emergency – because of a shortage of illustrators or complication of time management, I was selected. I had been working for Little White Leis magazine an affiliated company of Huck.
Because of this I was producing work to sit alongside a roster of much more experienced, better qualified artists. The loosely composed brief is symptomatic of higher end creative projects – the illustrator is usually trusted to adopt fully the context and calibre of work expected. There is less ‘hand holding’ so to speak.
Forgetting the physical artefact, its size and printing medium.
At just 2.25” x 3.5”, the working canvas is very small. I had not fully considered the final outcome, doing so I had created a high detail image which when scaled to the correct size loses impact. The pressure of failure encouraged me to use as much detail (in the time given of 48 hours), as possible in effort to portray likeness.
In conjunction with an over reliance of photographic reference provided, the overall competed artefact adds no more beneficial visual information in comparison to the photograph and is merely an ‘illustrated photo’. Worse, because of the scaling from A5 to the playing card format, the audience cannot connect with the illustration as intended. You cannot see evidence of physical interaction (e.g. pencil sketch lines, ink pens etc.). The outline stoke thickness is lowered and the lighting effects mostly add non-essential elements of ‘likeness’.
The use of film grain in not effective here. The final product is too small for the effect to look natural. The DPI of the printer was not considered – this is problematic due to the potential of phase interference. Phase interference is an artefact present in modern print preproduction. The size of the grain dots added in the software may not align with the DPI of the printer, if this is true then a new style texture is created - unplanned (this is a key example of transmission loss).
When breaking down the portrait image there are missteps which lead to the final having less likeness than wanted. Aside from texture, detail, and lighting – there are more potential illustrative techniques to portray likeness.
Instead of using the photo for direct reference, it would have been more appropriate consider the descriptive aspects on offer from both cards.
- The two lateral lacerations on cheek
- The tattoos
- (the tattoos are quite literally one of the most expressive visual element of the character, it also serves as an important plot device in the movie)
- Teddy – the glasses
- The moustache.
- Of course now, it is quite clear how this project could be approached again with a more considered agency.
- -The minimum stoke value is locked to around 1.2 mm, which emphasises clarity when scaled to a smaller format.
- There are only three colours used, including the outlines.
- There are now no tonal gradients. This is created in reference to traditional playing cards.
- Subtle use of triangular halftone pattern. This is a stylistic texture that again referees to traditional playing cards.
- There are now no intrusive unnatural film grain texture.
- The tattoos are rendered as vectors, composed and then rasterised at the same DPI and bit depth as the rest of the canvas. (this will mitigate digital printing artefacts.). once rasterised, I then warped them unto the torso, paying attention to perspective and realism, but not to the detriment of legibility.
- The image features the shirt half removed, this is a direct reference to a pivotal scene in the movie.