Wednesday, May 7, 2008

I don't know where they come from

People sometimes ask me how I get my ideas. I guess that is the most frequent question for most writers and visual artists. The answer seems evasive ("It depends.") but it is honest. You might as well ask how the human mind works. But I can tell you what I do with the idea once it is in my head. I refine it. And if I have time, I refine the refinement. Here is a piece I did recently for a magazine article about the mortgage mess. There are now lawsuits springing up against the "predatory" mortgage lenders who may have misled their customers. In this case, the idea came pretty much instantly from the word "predatory."

Here is the series of drawings that show the process the idea went through from "aha" to final artwork. This first one shows the idea being put on paper just to have a record of it.
The problem with this drawing is that it could be a housecat just passing by. I thought it would look better to have the predator really stalking its prey, and also changed to a higher point of view.
This sketch was good enough to add some quick color and submit to the client for approval. But I still wanted to make the predator more graceful and low to the ground. So I did a third sketch just for me.
I based the final art on this sketch. I still changed some things, like making the leading paw more enlarged, when I drew the final art. 

All the lines you see in the final art were done by scratching black and white lines on scratchboard. I then used Photosphop to turn them other colors. But that can be discussed another time.