Tuesday, June 14, 2011

African American History – Final Drawing

Final Drawing for African American History Illustration
Graphite on Paper
I played with a few ideas for African American history in the thumbnail stage, but when I hit upon the this descending root shape with many faces the impact of the composition made it clear to me that this was the direction to take the image.

After choosing that composition I knew that for this piece it was key to include likenesses of important figures in African American History, and find a way to meld them together with design interest.

A few thumbnails/comps of the root idea for my
African American History Illustration.
The Final Drawing
The process of selecting the right figures from African American history was tricky, and I am sure many people would not agree with all of my choices. I had to leave out so many important figures. I asked around and got other people's opinions, and I enjoyed researching the history, until I finally landed upon these 15 faces.

I added a couple of ambiguous faces towards the lower half of the root (further back in time) to represent figures in the further past to represent those whom we do not have a recorded likeness. A few of which I choose for both their actions and recognizable faces.

Early Comp/Thumbnail
It is sometimes amazing to me that famous people can have so many photos taken of them, but never quite in the position I need for my composition. Why am I imagining such unusual positions? Silly me. It just makes the challenge of capturing a likeness a bit more spicy. On several of the faces I used a few key images of the person and combined them to create the right angle and expression.

Lastly, I got to play around with the root shapes. Of course, I got reference for roots as well, but the fun part of adding in amorphous elements like roots is that I can play around with line and design the shapes with pretty much free reign.

I will soon be sharing the final illustration here. I finished this piece up with my usual mixed media approach. Lots of textures were employed. So, check back over the next month to see this image fleshed out.

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Thanks for your interest in my art. I'm very curious to hear your thoughts. Cheers!