Sunday, March 28, 2010

Color in London

When I started this project, I knew I had to make my final product in color. I have a great fondness for pen and ink, and I think black and white work can be really beautiful if done well (take, for example, Maus by Art Spiegelman and Blankets by Craig Thompson), but I knew that I wouldn't be happy with pure black and white for my final product. There is so much beautiful color in places like London and Istanbul-- I thought I'd be cheating these places of some of their life if I only used black and white.

In this way, a lack of color can emphasize the feeling of missing such beauty. For one of my more recent spreads, I decided to experiment with color vs. black and white to get my point across. In this spread, my boyfriend comes to visit me in London, and I am eager to show him everything I have come to love. Throughout my time abroad, I was always so excited about everything I was experiencing, but there was always this pang of homesickness for the people I left in the U.S.-- a lot of times, that was my boyfriend. I wanted him to be a part of everything I was seeing and doing. And, for four days in March, he actually got to be. So I did have this feeling of the landscape of London getting extra meaning, or extra "life," from the two of us being there together. (Corny, I know-- what can I say, I'm a lovesick puppy sometimes.) So for this spread, I demonstrated how him being in London made everything that much more alive and colorful to me.

I started with a light grey wash over what I wanted to be black and white.

This is a close-up of that first panel: me waiting for him outside his hotel, in black and white because he's not with me yet.

Close-up on the first of three middle panels that sweep across both pages. This is an exaggerated field of flowers in St. James Park near Buckingham Palace. I really loved the visual of having these dull grey flowers suddenly blooming bright yellow as we walked by.

The final product for the first half of the spread. Here, you can see the color appears when we hug, and the three locations (St. James Park, the Millennium Bridge, and the Royal Festival Hall) all fade from black and white to color depending on where he and I are walking.

The second page of the spread works much the same way as the first, with color signifying where we are together. When we are hugging goodbye, the color is still there, but after we say goodbye the color disappears. In the last panel (shown directly above) everything goes back to being black and white, but there is a little hint of my new perspective on things: a bright yellow flower popping up out of the crack in the sidewalk.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Takin' Care of Business

Hey all! I know it's been a while. Thanks to a combination of midterm projects, spring break, and a computer meltdown (my laptop needed a new logic board), my updating abilities were temporarily stunted. My apologies. But even though I haven't been updating, I have been working diligently.

No work to show this time around (process pictures and sketches from my time abroad will definitely be coming up very soon) but I thought I'd update about the general process as it is going right now:

After some editing, I only have six more pages to paint of actual artwork (so crazy to think I've only got six more to go!), then I will design the covers and the informational pages (which include things like "Author's Note," "About the Author," etc.) Then it will be sent to a printer in Syracuse through the very helpful people at SU Printing Services, and about two weeks after that I will have fifty copies of my own book to give to whoever wants a copy! (So let me know if you want one... or fifty. Haha.) I will be giving my files to SU Printing Services by April 13th, so all of this is happening very fast. I can't believe it's already almost done!

So keep an eye out for more updates in the coming weeks about progress. I leave you with this photograph that my roommate took of me working on one of my Paris spreads, and the caption to go along with it:
"This is a female Brianna in her natural habitat."

Monday, March 1, 2010

Happy March!

Wow, I can't believe it's March already! Time flies when you're working hard, I guess.

Thanks to a freak snow storm that got us some cancelled classes, I was able to complete more than my weekly amount of pages. Now I'm up to 40 completed pages!

As most of my recent entries have been process photos from pages I've been painting, I thought I'd do something different to mark the beginning of the new month: As of the beginning of this semester, I was studying abroad a year ago, which gives me the interesting opportunity to look back at my sketchbooks and see what I was up to a year ago today.

A year ago today, I was preparing for my upcoming trip to Istanbul by attending the exhibit Byzantium at the Royal Academy. There were no artifacts from Turkey specifically, but the kids going on the trip got free tickets there so we could learn about the history behind the Byzantine Empire, which encompassed modern-day Turkey. Here are a couple sketches from what I saw there:

As you can see from the caption, the bust of Emperor Constantine, made in 325 A.D.

You might not be able to read this caption, so I'll write it here: "Votive hand holding a cross. Syria-Palestine, 6th-8th centuries." I wrote my own commentary running up the side there vertically. That says, "Though other artifacts in the exhibit were much more ornate, this one really spoke to me. I think it's the simplicity, and the human element-- like I could see the faith in crafting it."

So, there you have it: one year ago today, I was doing something much cooler than sitting on my couch blogging. But I hope you appreciate the blogging now. I think this is something I'll do from now until the project is finished if I come across something of particular interest in my sketchbooks. I'll be back soon, so watch for updates.