I got an interesting project recently, just this week actually. I am drawing anatomical illustrations for a book, referencing the spine. I guess you can call them infographics too, because they have text and pointer lines detailing the scientific names of each area on a single vertebrae.
This stuff is very interesting and I like it because it is "useful". Sometimes after spending too much time drawing sci-fi, fantasy, or fiction in general - it starts to feel weird. Like I am wasting some time doing something not-so-productive. That doesn't mean it's bad to draw fiction and fantasy, drawing anything is great, but too much of a good thing... as the saying goes.
So this inspired me to look at my gallery and think about what else I might do to add to my collection, because it would be nice to continue to do work like this. I like the idea of my illustrations showing up in textbooks too.
Since animals seem to be popping up a lot in my drawing these days, I thought about doing some more animals, but that seems to be a tired topic somehow. Then I thought while I'm on the course of being practical and useful, while also enjoying the feeling of infographics, how about a series on BIOLOGY!
Bingo! Yes! That's it. This gives me a ton of freedom to jump around the universe, learning along the way, and I can detail the illustrations with any type of scientific info I like.
But why write all this down? Am I afraid I'll forget? Well actually it gets more complicated...
I was looking back on my gallery while thinking about this and I realized another problem with this year's illustrations. I always struggled getting the right mood, the right angle, some interesting perspective. The reason for this is because I am always trying to encompass so much into the scene at once. So recently I was looking at movie posters such as Star Wars, where you can see all the characters but they are not "in a scene" but just sort of "collaged" in there. This is an awesome way of getting more info into an illustration while keeping the meaning of everything. And I also thought that a lot of scientific illustrations also take advantage of this method. You can display things from many angles on a single page and analyze it like that, or zoom into certain areas for a detailed view.
So imagine if I used that way of composition for one of the illustrations in my mythology series. That would help a LOT to get more emotion and detail into the scene. Perhaps the overall scene could be put up higher and in the background, with the foreground giving close-ups of the characters faces. That seems a lot more fun, and you can also add a lot of action to the scene this way. Which is another problem with single-scene illustrations. If you try to squeeze all of the actual action into the scene it looks staged. For example, you wouldn't often see two guys going to strike each other with weapons at the same exact time, it would usually be more of a timed dance with a combination of strike and defense.
So I'm loving the collage idea. Why didn't I think of that sooner? Oh yeah, I was busy making full-page, full-color illustrations Which was also a process I had to go through to get here. One step at a time.
Now mix all of the above together, and you can see where I am going. The following might be an example for my first in the Biology Series.
"Draw an ant in a natural environment next to something like a leaf to show the scale, push this drawing to the left of the page a bit, and draw some close up views and point out scientific names. Leave room somewhere for a one/two paragraph blurb. Title the page with the scientific name of the species."
Oh yeah, and I have to finish the Greek Mythology Series first. 5 more to go!!!