After a long winter holiday break from this blog I am excited to share what’s been going on. Over the the last few weeks I spent a lot of time brainstorming what my illustration thesis is going to be. I did a bunch of research and reading, as well as desperately searching for a theme that would actually make me excited and happy to work on it for the next 3 months. As usual, inspiration came in at the 11th hour, the weekend before my first thesis meeting was to commence.
But this blog entry isn’t about thesis, exactly. (I will get into that in future posts). It’s more about my creative process and creative blocks, and being genuine to who I am as an illustrator. The thumbnail drawing above was for a class I took at CCA. The assignment was to illustrate an op-ed piece in the NY Times, about ISIS stealing antiquities and selling them in order to fund their activities. ( see http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/03/opinion/isis-antiquities-sideline.html). I had a few ideas:
but the fake hieroglyph was by far my favorite. I wanted do it in a relief style, kind of like this:
(but not using a crappy photoshop filter). It never came to pass, however, as my professor vetoed it. “Too funny,” he said. Ultimately, I ended up with this:
Yup, a grenade/vase. It wasn’t a bad solution. In fact, I received kudos for its concise simplicity and immediate symbolic readability–key features for a successful editorial illustration. But would I ever put this in my portfolio or want to be known for this kind of work? Nope.
I suppose I wouldn’t mind being known for this type of thinking. I actually love mashups. But there was something about this that smelled too much like work (instead of serious play) and it shows. Maybe I am not the right illustrator to do a story about ISIS, and that’s okay. At least this taught me more about the kind of artist I actually want to be. I may not be cut out to do every editorial out there, but I do have a unique vision of the world, and can editorialize in my own right.
Which brings me back to my thesis. Over the break, I actually found myself slipping back into this “I should do the kind of work people expect me do so I can get paid” mentality, brainstorming a few clunkers that would have never made me happy or bring out the best in me. Luckily, I snapped out that (hopefully for good) and decided on an idea that I think will be a lot of fun and serve as a strong personal statement. I will unveil it shortly so stay tuned!