April 16th, 2019
Welcome back lovely readers and fellow artists! Today's blog post goes into the wonderful, strict, and challenging world of editorial illustrations. In continuation of my ART 389 illustration course with lovely, Professor Katie Ries of St. Norbert College, we focused on editorial illustrations and how they relate with articles. For this project, we were given the task of reading, ‘How Millennials Became the Burnout Generation’ by Anne Helen Peterson. Upon reading the article, I made notes of key attributes that Peterson laid out in her article. She used prime examples of how this cruel like nickname was accurate to individuals that ranged from their early twenties to their mid-thirties. After reading the article and sketching various ideas, I have realized how much these conclusions of Peterson’s article were extremely accurate. I have met several individuals close to my age and some that were older than me that have fit this mold of the common millennial. The statement that Peterson used in her article that stood out to me the most was: “Our capacity to burn out and keep working is our greatest value,” and I decided to focus on this statement for my editorial illustration.
Below in the next couple images, you will see some roughs that I drew on Adobe Illustrator Draw via my iPad. Once again, I wanted to focus on using my graphic design skills that I have learned via my major in order to create this illustration. However, due to the feedback on these illustrations, I decided to go with a different route.
I was kind of overwhelmed after reading the article by Peterson because there was a lot of information that could be used in many different ways. I debated how I wanted my illustration to read and how I wanted my audience to feel upon glancing at the headline image that would be shared on my class website and on my personal website. After drawing some rather simple images on my iPad, I decided that the images that were coming to me were way too simple and tried to tackle more of a challenge of something that felt truly natural after reading the article.
For my first image shown, I was thinking of an overused candle that I have at my townhouse. The glass jar is massive and the remaining of the wax is towards the bottom. If one wanted to let the candle, they couldn’t just reach and light it normal but they would have to let something else, say a long spaghetti noodle, to then light the remainder of the wick. For this quick rough sketch, I drew it in a comfortable but relaxed style by never picking up my Apple Pencil from my iPad to form one continuous line. I liked how the final image looks, but it didn’t speak enough to me about how the article resonated with me.
Beginning stages of roughs for the project.
For the next image, I wanted to focus on candles still because that was what I was stuck on. This image focuses more on how the candle is older and has been burned several times but not for a long time. Drips of wax on the actual candle from former lightings and variations of thickness of lines were the main focus on how to draw this image. I also included a long trail of smoke from the candle after it was blown out. I liked the simplicity of this illustration, but it still didn’t do justice for the article.
For my final rough sketch that is shared, I wanted to do something more funny since millennials are known to be jokesters and lovers of funny images, also known as memes. For this illustration, I just did a quick sketch on my iPad to create the famous dog meme where it’s sitting around a fire saying, “It’s fine.” I thought this illustration could be an option for the article, however, I didn’t find it serious enough based off what my notes had said about the article.
I have always been drawn to and inspired by collage. I am a big fan of Hannah Hoch and her beginning works of photomontage. Hoch uses a lot of images and cuts them out to create whimsical new illustrations and works of art with items and images that she found around her. However, for this illustration, I actually didn’t create a rough sketch on my iPad. I played more around on my computer with Adobe Illustrator and how I could play around with shapes and vector images and collage. My only inspiration for this article was thinking about Greek mythology and this man Sisyphus who was punished to push a large boulder up a steep hill for eternity after he had died. Upon looking at some ancient Greek images for inspiration, I found this rather charming and funny image of this woman, probably from the 1950s, recreating the image by having ropes around her while pushing a fake large boulder behind her.
Upon appreciating the image, I decided to work with it. I wanted to play with comedic factor of the image and changed the large boulder into an anatomically correct image of the human brain. I played around with the scaling of the brain and finally came up with this image below. I added some words on top of the brain to focus on the stress that many face with their daily lives and also played around with the idea of the brain being on fire. After putting together the collage aspect of the brain and the woman, I realized the illustration was missing something.
Next, I focused on the background behind the woman and the mountain. I added words and red lines to the yellowish mountain to represent notebook paper and the days of the week. For the days of the week, I made them out of various vintage newspaper headlines from historical events with a variation of text, color, and size. Then I added a background of clouds out of a pattern that I created on Adobe Illustrator with a gray stroke. After adding that to the illustration, I added some raindrops that dripped just on the woman to focus more on a ‘bad day’ aesthetic.
After receiving some general feedback in one of our class meetings, I decided to go with the feedback on my illustration on removing the clouds and raindrops, the words on the brain, and to possibly focus on removing the flames on the brain. After making some edits, these next two images were the roughs that I was finalizing. Although general consensus, said not to go with the flames around the brain, I decided to do because I felt that it brought the image to an end and tied it together.
The final step was to edit some InDesign files that were shared with the class of various links to the article from different websites that featured our final editorial illustration. I very much enjoyed this project and would say that it is my favorite so far from the class. This project challenged myself to push my thinking and analysis of the article rather than just drawing something that I already knew or was thinking about before actually reading the article. I also really enjoyed this project because I was able to incorporate one of my favorite art styles into the project. After completing this project, I would very much accept this project in a job setting and re-do the same project but for a different client/purpose/article.
The final images are the InDesign files created to look like the headlines of the article shared on various social media platforms with my final image of my illustration.
Below are my mockup images for the social media posts and my final illustration.
Thanks again for reading and look out for my next post!
Social media post mockups with my illustration used on various platforms.
Pictured are mockups for Buzzfeed, Twitter, and Facebook.