Magazine Spread Illustration

My intention for this magazine spread is to create a crazy interpretation of the chef; Dan Lovell-Bray, and showing him through a Wacom drawing produced in Photoshop. I also intend to use scanned in textures, to create a more interesting piece. A lot of the magazine spreads I have looked at for research show a use of a range of materials, such s watercolour paint, which combined with digital work, make the magazine spreads stand out particularly well. I therefore feel that this gives me the incentive to use more than one type of material in my design work.

Photo development for my illustration work

Below is the image I am going to use to represent the chef. I am going to adapt the picture to give it ‘crazy’ qualities, by incorporating different elements of food onto his face, representing the idea that he is a chef, and connected with food. Once I have adapted this photograph roughly as to how I want it, I will draw my illustration using a Wacom tablet.

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To develop this picture, I have started to use a red colour, which I have drawn around the persons eyes. I drew this red with the brush tool, set to a low opacity. I then changed the layer style to ‘overlay’ s this allows the skin tones to still come through in the piece, making the red appear s though it was actually on his face. I started by making this layer quite lights, and then changed it to  brighter colour using the ‘photo filter tool’. Whilst also making the colour more vibrant, this tool allowed me to experiment with different red tones choosing the one that I felt would be best suited.

The reason for using red for this part was to link into a tomato, a vegetable I intend to use in my further design work, to bring out this idea of craziness with both the food and chef.

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The below image is a  free photograph from google images, which is of tomato seeds. I am going to draw these out roughly, and place them on the chef’s face. By doing this, I will show an element of craziness as he chef has food on their face. I am only planning to draw these seeds out roughly with the pen tool, as I will be drawing them out in more detail later when producing my illustration.

Screen Shot 2017-05-17 at 17.58.35Below is a screenshot of one of the seeds I have roughly drawn. I am going to duplicate this and use it further in this design.
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Here I have placed the seeds around the chefs eyes.

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In this screenshot below, I have slightly adapted the colour of the chefs lips, pushing them to be more similar to the colour of a tomato. I feel that this will help my overall design have that sense of craziness which was required for this project in the brief. Zooming out to take an overall look at the appearance of the chef now has allowed me to get a good look at how the changes are looking on my photograph. So far, I am happy with how it looks, and feel that producing an illustration based on this image will be quite effective. Something I am less happy about with this photograph, is the face that it is slightly blurred showing it to have lost some quality, reducing the professional appearance I was aiming for. Despite this, I feel I will be able to regain some quality when drawing the image, but feel it could be quite tricky.

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Now I have added tomato seeds to the lips of the chef. I have additionally made the centre part of his lips slightly whiter, which I did to make more like the tomato image I have. I did this by using a low opacity white brush, and drawing subtle hints of white over his lips. However, I do not like the appearance of this, and believe it looks quite strange. As I am undecided as to whether I should include these seeds or not, I am going to leave them there and then when it comes to drawing my illustration, decide then whether to use them or not.

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This is an image of  sliced tomato I took, in order to inspire my design. I am also going to use the tomato for a main part of my image, to show the strong connection between the chef and food.

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In the images below, I have cut around the edges of the tomato using the rubber tool, and then placed it covering the chefs eye. After doing this, I used a low opacity brush, and with a dark red, I started to add in shaded areas to the tomato and the face of the chef. Cutting round the tomato was something which I found tricky to do, as I had to keep a steady hand using the Wacom tablet. I originally tried cutting it out using the lasso tool, which I found harder, so reverted back to the rubber.

A further development can be seen in the last image, as I have used a black brush tool to outline the chefs face, and block out the grey background of the photo. Based on my research, I found that a black background was something which made the image very effective, and therefore applied this to my own work.

This magazine spread featured below is the main inspiration for the imagery of my magazine spread. It is by’Simply Sabba’ and part of a series of illustrations called ‘iAMART’. I chose to look at this digital illustration as part of my research as I feel that the illustration itself is particularly strong, and is something I am quite drawn to. Believing that this piece was done in Photoshop using a Wacom tablet is something which partly inspired me to produce my own illustration this way. Additionally, covering one eye of the person adds a sense of intrigue when looking at the illustration, as their total identity is not revealed, and therefore I feel that this is a quality which could work well with the article title that the briefs magazine spread has of; ‘Who is Dan Lovell-Bray?.’

However, a part of this illustration I am less fond of is the articles layout, which I feel does not include the typography within the design, but makes them seem quite distant from each other. This is something I will not be taking from the design when using it as inspiration for my work.

Designing my Illustration

To start my illustration, I am focusing on the single eye in the picture, and am hoping to work my way out from this. As only one eye is pictured in my adapted photograph, I believe that this is an incredibly important point to get as accurate as possible.

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I started off my illustration by using the bush tool to draw in key shapes of colours, and gradually beginning to blend them together using the colour mixer tool. The colour mixer tool is something which allows me to blend the colours together smoothly, and create gradient-like effects with the colours. This is quite a time consuming process, as I am aiming to get the colours and shading as accurate as possible, and therefore means I have to be very precise with my work. At this early stage, I am not happy with the appearance of the eye I have produced, as it appears very ‘cartoonish’ and unrealistic. This may be due to the lack of detail within it so far.
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As I continue to blend the colours around the eye, I feel that the eye is continuing to become less realistic, and the quality of the design is not that strong. However, to get over this, I feel that the best way is to continue working over the eye and build up more tones in the face of the person. Once the majority of the facial colours are blended, I feel I am going to have to work over it, highlighting the areas of lesser smooth skin, and adding in things such as small freckles, to make the face more realistic. I am not particularly finding this design too challenging, but am still not happy with how it is progressing.

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The next step was to continue developing the face and so I have started to fill in areas of block colour around the head of the chef. Despite the precise nature of the eyedropper tool, I found it very hard to get the precise colours to use, as once I began to blend them, the colours were no longer the same and therefore meant I had to continue layering them up. Once I had zoomed out to look at the overall image, I decided I was still unsatisfied with how my illustration was turning out as it still strongly resembled an animated figure. This I believe is strongly brought on by the smooth surface of the chef’s forehead, and due to being so frustrated with how it looks, I moved onto a different area of the face to work on.

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I started off working on the nose by aiming to use the brush tool, and less of the colour mixer tool, in order reduce the smoothness of the colours, and to see if this would work better than the method I had been using so far, of smoothing everything down with the colour mixer tool. I began by adding shades of colour by scribbling them down using the brush tool. After doing this, I blended them slightly using the colour mixer tool. This initially gave me that smoothed down effect I was trying to avoid. To get over this, I then selected a low opacity (of around 10 or 11) and began using a stippled effect to place uneven dots, and lines over the top of the smooth colours I had originally created. I continued this process throughout the next through stages of my illustration process.

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By continuously placing small dots and then smoothing various areas with the colour mixer tool, and then repeating this process, I feel that the nose is beginning to come along nicely. I am therefore beginning to see a bit of hope for my illustration, as I hope to use this process further in my work as it seems to be quite effective for the nose of the chef. I believe that whilst finishing the areas around the nose, I need to continue to work on the chef’s forehead as this is beginning to restrict the potential of the design. I additionally feel that I should begin to add in the lips as this may make my design progress faster as I can begin to see all the features and how they work together.

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In the next few stages I have began to add, and fill in the lips mostly using the brush tool on a low opacity, and the colour mixer tool to blend the colours in together. I additionally have continued to work on the skin tones by roughly filling in different places on the chefs face and then blending them together with the colour mixer tool. I am incredibly happy with how the lips have turned out so far as I feel that they are quite close to the original picture. Overall, as my design is still just a face, I feel it is not fitting the brief that well. However, I feel as my illustration progresses, I can add in some elements of food which will begin to show this person is a chef.

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As I continue to add in colour and blend each area together, I am beginning to feel happy with my illustration. I feel through the blending of the tones within the face, my illustration is showing a strong connection to ‘Simply Sabba’s’ work. In her illustration, she blended the colours wishin the face of the person she was drawing using quite a smooth effect. This is something I have continuously done throughout my illustration, but am hoping to additionally add areas that are slightly more detailed in order to give my design more of a realistic appearance.

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Here is where I encountered the biggest problem when producing this illustration so far. As I went to use the mixer brush tool, this message popped up saying that there was not enough memory to use it. I clicked OK, and immediately tried using the mixer brush tool again, only to find this message to come straight back. This message is something I have never encountered when using Photoshop, and therefore had no idea what to do. I went on google to see if I could find a solution to this problem, and found a few solutions, each of which I was unsure how to do. So, I went back to Photoshop, and continued to try and work out how to find a solution to the problem. Once again, I pressed OK and tried using the mixer brush tool. As I went to use the brush, I noticed that the size of it seemed extremely large, and just as I pressed it down, this message popped back up. Realizing the brush setting seemed slightly larger than I had wanted it, I went to change to change it and noticed it was on the largest setting it could be at, and I must’ve set it to this accidentally. This is why the computer did not want me to use this tool, and therefore didn’t have enough memory for its use anyway.

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After overcoming the memory issue that kept popping up on my screen I continued to use the mixer brush tool to blend in the tones, and get them as accurate as I could.Screen Shot 2017-05-19 at 11.58.59

After blending in further tones, I went on to start adding more detailed areas to the chef’s face, by using different brush tools to give the skin less of a smooth look. I added in areas of dots with a dotted effect and this helped to make the skin seem a bit more realistic.

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As I continued adding in these dotted areas, I then zoomed out to see how the chef’s face was looking. Looking at my illustration like this I feel helps me to reflect on which areas of my design need to be worked on further. At the moment, I feel these dotted areas have really helped with the development of the persons face, and I am incredibly happy with how it is turning out. I feel it is finally beginning to look how I had wanted it to.

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As I feel that working on the small details of the face were working well for my illustration, I continued to work on small areas, such as the eyes. Here I have compared the eye illustration I have produced to the actual photograph, and using the brush tool, have added in small details to make it look closer to the photograph. I found that in the photograph, there was a darker area beneath the persons eye, so to add this in further, I added small dots beneath the persons eye to make this area seem darker. The reason for adding dots instead of block colour was to help give the face a textures appearance, and prevent it being completely smooth, as I found this quite unrealistic.

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Despite not finishing the illustration yet, I have set out my illustration in a magazine spread style, to see how it would work in a magazine. Looking at my illustration like this makes me feel quite happy with the way I have approached the drawing of the chef, as I feel it has worked quite well.

The composition of this magazine spread I based around the National Geographic magazine spread I looked at for research, titled “the man who wasn’t Darwin”. I chose to look at this for research as I liked the realistic details within the bird and felt that the composition of the magazine spread was incredibly different to those I had looked at previously. Placing the main illustration is something I felt worked quite well for the magazine spread, as I feel that your eyes naturally scan from left to right and therefore this have a different perspective, making the second page seem of high importance. Therefore, I placed my illustration on the right side of my page, in hope to achieve this same effect.

Something else which I found particularly interesting about the magazine spread was the negative space around the whole design, and the text. This was different from the jam-packed appearance of the rest of the magazine spreads I had seen, and therefore feel it made the design stand out. Yet despite this, I feel it is something which additionally gave the design flaws, as in some cases could be viewed as boring. Despite the conflicting views on whether this negative space worked, I decided to use negative space in order to see how it would work for my design.

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Something I felt was not going to work on my design is the tomato, as the image I had taken and placed over the chef’s eye is something which I felt was off too much of a bad quality to try and reproduce through a Wacom drawing. Due to this, I felt that I needed to make a new one.

Here I have painted two tomatoes in watercolour paint, which could be adapted and used in my illustration work. I produced two tomatoes, in order to give myself a wider range to work with and allowing me to decide which one would be the strongest to use as a key part of my design. I am not that happy with these tomato as I found that it was a lot harder to produce a watercolour tomato than I had thought it would be. However, I am still hoping to use these in my design, but will adapt them in photoshop using things such as the contrast and photo filter tools.

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In the image below I have used the rubber tool and brightened up the tomato with the contrast tool and then placed it over the top of the chefs eye. Now it is on the design I am incredibly happy with how it looks, as I feel it completely brightens up the magazine spread. Something I felt difficult when placing this tomato into the illustration was using the rubber tool to cut around the edges of it, removing it from the white background. I started off by using a rubber with a harsh edge, making the effect of the tomato seem quite flat. Using the undo button, I decided to start again as I wasn’t happy with the outcome. Then using a a rubber tool with a softer edge, I repeated this process, and felt a lot happier with the outcome as the tomato didn’t seem as flat as it had done before.

As I felt the tomato was a success, I experimented with different ways of placing it by duplicating the layer and changing its opacity along with the layer style. I experimented with the layer on ‘multiply’ and felt the effect was quite interesting as made the tomato slightly see-through. However, it turned the bright colour cute dull and so I therefore continued experimenting until I found the ‘overlay’ selection. This made my tomato remain bright and colourful, and remained with this translucent effect. I then placed the tomato onto the chefs clothing, which brightened up his outfit, and gave quite a crazy appearance- something I was happy with as I feel it fits the brief well.

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Being so pleased with the watercolour tomato, I produced some splashes of watercolour paint which I then scanned in and placed over the eye of the chef, and am hoping to place further on his clothing. I believe that these add to the craziness of the chef, as they add a splash of colour and energy to the illustration.

At this stage in my design process, I feel that the illustration is fairly strong, but appears quite lonely and boring with the negative space around it (a bit like the National Geographic’s bird magazine spread did) Therefore, I am planning on continuing the splash of watercolours by putting them around the negative space near the chef. Also, by looking at a magazine spread titled ‘Lang Lit De revolute’; advertising Jamie Oliver’s world food day, I have seen an example of how filling the page with illustration can have quite a nice appearance. In this magazine spread, illustration fills the space around the text, making it seem quite energetic and fun. Therefore, I am planning to add in some further tomato to my design to brighten up the illustration further and remove the areas of native space, creating a more interesting design.

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Below is the outcome of duplicating the tomato (inspired by the full effect in Lang Lit De Revolute) and using further watercolour splashes around the page. I changed the colour of the watercolour splashes by changing the layer style, and I felt these almost luminous blues and greens created a particularly interesting look and therefore felt they worked well as part of my design.

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As I continued to work on my magazine spread I noticed something which was a huge flaw, and as I was so focused on the illustration side of things, I noticed I had forgotten about a key part in the design process. I have got a bright blue line down the middle of my magazine spread (provided by photoshop) to mark the centre of the page, something which the text in my magazine spread is running over. This meant, when the design were to be folded like an actual magazine, the text would be unreadable as it would run into the centre of the magazine and disappear down the middle.

I immediately fixed this by aligning my text into columns to make it more like a magazine spread. I then started working on the font of the title, to see which would suit my design most. The title featured below uses a text I downloaded off of the internet, after finding it appealing. However, now it is on my magazine spread, I feel it is not as effective as I had hoped it would be.

Another thing I did to develop my design was changing the composition of the chef, by pulling him further to the right hand side of the page so he does not overlap the centre, and then moving the tomato around him to fit with the rest of the design. I additionally added a yellow scribble to the bottom left hand side of the page, inspired by the scribbles that overlap the persons face in Simply Sabba’s illustration. This added further creativity, and craziness to the magazine spread, which I felt works well, and fits the brief.

Overall, I am incredibly happy with my design and feel it is almost done.

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Despite previously feeling my design was practically finished, I noticed another vital part which needed adapting. The title still ran over the centre of the page. This however was an easy fix, as I simply deleted the original title, and added in a new one; additionally using a different font as I still didn’t like the one I had found on google.

After this I added a few final touches, through adding another yellow brush stroke, and a few random splatters of red paint.

I am not happy that my design is finished, and that despite it being a long process of figuring out what would work and what wouldn’t, my magazine spread has turned out quite successfully.

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