This week’s Illustration topic is “New”. Holding true to *old* habits, I’ve procrastinated until the eleventh hour before completing the job.
The difficulty with a topic like this, is that it’s nearly impossible to depict “newness” without falling into one or another cliche.
- Something overtly New Year’s-related. Not the direction I wanted to take.
- Contrasting something old with something new. The possibilities are endless, and endlessly predictable.
- Some pun on the word “new” Too cutesy.
- Actually using the word “new” in the drawing. A college illustration professor absolutely *forbade* his class from using text in a drawing. It was seen as a crutch.
- Something with “shiny” lines emanating from it. Double-crutch.
- Newborn. This seems somehow different thematically from just “new” so avoided it.
A wikipedia search on the term helped a little, though the path was circuitous. I looked up “new” which led to a disambiguation page that included the term “Nu”. Apparently this is the male ‘aspect’ of an ancient Egyptian deity that represented the mysterious void. The female aspect of the god was named Nanuet. She was sometimes depicted as a woman with a snake head. This conjured serpentine imagery: first the snake consuming its own tale… but that’s more related to infinity than newness. Then, a snake molting. Now I was onto something.
I wasn’t too thrilled by the shapes that would be involved in drawing a snake. I wanted something more angular. Then it hit me: cicada!
I started the drawing rapidly, using a couple of images online for reference. I was careful not to had the photo on my computer screen at the same time as my drawing, to avoid the temptation to copy it closely.
Once the structure of the drawing and the anatomy of the bugs looked right, I quickly jotted in some colors: a mustard brown for the old skin, a fresh green for the emerging insect, and a brick red for the stone. I had already put down a lilac pink background.
Next, I added some color details to the two creatures. Then, I used the dodge and burn tools in Photoshop to bring in some highlights and shadows. At this point, though, the lines were still flat black, and kind of dull. Using filter and some extra layers of color, the black was first replaced with some bright colors, and then toned down using some other tools. What resulted was a lively, but not too obnoxious colored line drawing.
After a few adjustments to get all the parts working together and a slight change to the background color, my “new” drawing was done.