Tuesday, March 31, 2009

translating mosquitoes

The environmental design studio I am team-teaching this semester began with a project entitled "Found in Translation". One of the goals of the project was to have students read a story (in their case, a Grimm's fairytale) and "translate" it into both two-dimensional graphics and three-dimensional artifacts and spaces.

Serendipitously, this project mirrored what I was doing outside the classroom: working on an illustration for UNCG's Alumni Magazine, reading and drawing from/on Mosquitoes, a beautiful short story of Elizabeth Hudson.

Like my students, I created a series of thumbnail sketches exploring a variety of ideas before deciding on a final design. These sketches represent my initial ideas as I read the story for the first time. Elizabeth's story is chocked full of vivid imagery, which made this step really easy.
mosquitoes beginning ideas
After receiving feedback from the art director and reading the story a few more times I went on to create more developed thumbnails exploring color. In all, it was important to me that I capture the intensity of summer heat.
mosquitoes thumbnail 1
mosquitoes thumbnail 2
mosquitoes thumbnail 3
mosquitoes thumbnail 4
mosquitoes thumbnail 5
The end result, while based primarily off one thumbnail, combines ideas explored in all. I would never have been able to get to this result without the process that led to it.

mosquitoes final illustration
I'm going to go ahead and say it...this work makes me happy. I hope you enjoy it too. Visit this link to read the wonderful story that inspired it.

15 comments:

Screwed Up Texan said...

Beautiful illistrations. I am one of those lucky ones that mosquitoes dont bother. I may get bit 3 times this summer and my husband a hundred. I'm off to read the story now.

ingrid said...

how wonderful. thank you for sharing this. :)

cindy : quaint said...

i love seeing your process! you make me want to dig my watercolors out. i'm going to read the story.

Nina Johansson said...

What a wonderful post, thanks for taking the time to share your process in this. Very interesting, and beautiful images.

aimee said...

what i wouldn't give to take one of your classes - your work has inspired me to learn how to sketch for real. i think it's time to get past my 'pushing around a line and hoping it looks like something when i'm finished' approach. i've bought a few beginning drawing books - well, it's a start, right?

Sheila said...

Wow!!!! You need to do this more often! It's like the flood gates of creativity, joy, color and have opened. I can actually see the bliss and happiness beaming from these wonderful pieces!

Shirley said...

Fascinating process. Thanks for sharing.

Omi said...

Wonderful, very inspiring!

sleepybird said...

aaa the colors are beautiful..

no way said...

Gorgeous and full of energy.

Meili said...

Wow. Wow. Wow.

cathy said...

Oh wow! Thanks for sharing the process! It's fascinating - and the coloured thumbnails are stunning!

that's just it said...

AWESOME!

pve design said...

happy,
out of control happy

rocketRefund said...

All of these are great, and the final is magnificent! I like the bare feet and legs with clothes on the floor thumbnail the best, of the thumbnails, but the final has so much color and motion. It's superb!