New Skin

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.

  1. Something overtly New Year’s-related.  Not the direction I wanted to take.
  2. Contrasting something old with something new.  The possibilities are endless, and endlessly predictable.
  3. Some pun on the word “new” Too cutesy.
  4. 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.
  5. Something with “shiny” lines emanating from it.  Double-crutch.
  6. 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!

New Skin

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.

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This entry was published on January 3, 2013 at 9:04 pm. It’s filed under Bold Color, Digital Drawing, Illustration Friday and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

7 thoughts on “New Skin

  1. Pingback: Myths « Gabriel Garbow | Artworks

  2. I like the colours in this one, Gabriel… the darker green at the top and the lighter green / yellow as the insect is emerging from the old skin.

  3. Excellent excellent idea. I also really like hearing about your process, and the result is fabulous! I’m impressed!

    • Thank you for your encouragement. The aim is to demonstrate that artwork is the product of a process… it’s work, not magic! I hope it inspires some people who are intimidated by art, and gives other confident artists an idea or two along the way.

  4. Love the fresh green colors and the way you repeated the red of the stone in the eye color. Nice!

    • That repeated red was a fortunate accident. When I selected the color for the stone initially, I hadn’t realized how red it was. The eye came later. The color of the stone in the final version you see here was actually toned-down a little. It was very red.

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