Inspiration for Portrait Project

As I have now reached an advanced stage in this project, here is my record on the illustrations that have been crucial to inspiring the development of the designs I had initially come up with. I would have preferred to have a more fluid process here and show where I gained inspiration on this project throughout rather than in one post, but various factors stopped this from happening this time. I will be showing images here as long as I believe that to be suitable, as they are for educational analysis only, there are not my own, and I’ll be crediting the people responsible.

One of the first initial ideas I had was to show a tunnel running from the eye through to the brain, the thought being to visually highlight the power our brain has over our emotions, but as it is a hidden force, it is often ignored. This photo, titled Twisted Stare’ created by Gerrel Saunders is beautifully created and is similar in concept to my idea but features a staircase instead of a tunnel. The reason I have shown this is that it gives me many ideas as to how I could make my idea work, more than just using a tunnel perhaps. Although this is a photograph and I am doing an illustration, I can see how this idea could be transferred, especially as it a monochrome design, there would be a lot of potential for me to experiment with lighting and tone. Something that is so interesting is how at first glance it looks like a conventional eye, and then the more you look at it, the deeper you are drawn into it, until you are transfixed on where the staircase leads to. This is aided by the way the focus works, with the focus being greater the nearer to the centre you go.

Another design by the same designer was an illustration of lips, part of the Goldie series of illustrations. This design caught my attention in a couple of ways, firstly I would say it was the strength of colour, as well as the reflections that made it exceptionally glossy and most interesting. I also think setting it against a dark grey background works very well to allow the lustrous gold colour to shine more, it would not have the same effect on a white background. The final piece worth noting is that there are only lips on the page. Perhaps such a feature could be looked into for my designs so that only the eye appears on the page and take all the attention. This is something I’ll look into for my next post, where I take my strongest ideas and further them to create a set of proposals.

Being a motorsport fan, I am not surprised to find these portraits of Ayrton Senna, the famous Formula 1 driver inspiring to me. The designer is Cristiano Siqueria and the portrait on the left was produced for Mobil Mag in Brazil. The first portrait on the left is interesting because it shows him, with two items that can be associated with him, his crash helmet, and a racing car. The colours are also important as own their own, the connotations link back to Senna. The right portrait will strike a chord with anyone who knew about Senna, and his almost trance-like stare when he was sat in the car before going out on track, in order to be in the right frame of mind, which can be explained in this quote. By having Senna not staring towards the audience, and gazing into the distance instead, it shows the intensity of his gaze and gives the audience the power to look into the portrait. What I have learnt from these portraits is how much more powerful and relevant they are when the person is portrayed in their expected surroundings as such as it adds meaning. Using a vector style adds to the dynamic nature of these portraits, as it lends a vibrancy that I feel other techniques would not achieve.

Another illustration that was very inspiring was created by jun-pierre shiozawa that can be found by clicking on the title of the illustration, ‘Iguana’. Unfortunately I could not use the image in my blog. What I felt was interesting was the lighting, despite being a conceptual illustration, it looked very realistic, especially in the manner that the light bounced onto and away from the floor. The illustrator takes care to mention how they were inspired by the mosaic tiles. The way they have been illustrated makes it look three-dimensional at first to me. It took time for my eyes to focus and see it as two-dimensional. I think this is mainly down to the tiles not lining up together perfectly, which unless they were like that in reality, is an oversight I feel.

Another inspiring design that fitted in with my thought process expressed in the idea I took to the interim crit, was using an eye, but with the iris changed to a colour wheel. This design by Daren Newman is very interesting to me as I was planning for a solid colour wheel but I am finding the ‘strands’ of colour that make up the umbrella to be visually of a greater interest as I feel it may be more in keeping with the pencil sketch I plan to create where my digital editing can go on top. This would give more texture to the design.

This design by Denis Carrier, is an interesting idea that not only looks into the simplicity of faces that I have learnt appear to be ingrained into us from birth, but also how this has been created in a typographic format. The thing I felt was that they do provoke a reaction, I felt much happier when looking at the ‘Good’ side. It is interesting how the monochrome design makes use of the connotations between white and black and uses it to show the white as the pure, happy side with the black as the miserable, sad, ‘Bad’ side. One of my ideas was looking into how simple the face could be made, and this is an example of what I found in practice.

Henry Obasi is the designer behind this ‘Moon’ poster, and although it is not a portrait, the reason I found it was inspiring was how powerful the overall design is. The design is kept very simple, and there is an interesting contrast between the two sides of the Moon. Because we cannot see much other than the astronaut and the moon, I get the feeling of isolation which I am sure was the intended feeling. This is supported by the astronaut being lonesome, and I feel especially after reading the ‘sell’ of the poster, it is a very thought provoking design that I am sure will make some of the audience stop and think like I did. What I will be taking from this is the general atmosphere this design creates, and I wonder if the caption for my design could be the equivalent to the sell here so the audience look at the illustration, then the caption, then it makes them think about the piece in greater detail. In this case the caption would be better written by a copywriter.

“With these few words he went on tracking, and Piglet,
after watching him for a minute or two, ran after him…”

The resource I got this work from can be found here on BibliOdyssey’s blog, which contains many more of these original drawings from Winnie The Pooh by EH Shepard and are available on Flickr under a Creative Commons license from the user peacay. What inspired me was the simplicity of the line drawings, yet how much emotion is conveyed to the reader. I believe this is because it was the redundant elements that were cut out as much as possible, leaving the key elements and the positioning of the characters along with the expressions and gestures they show, speak a thousand words, which is why I feel illustrations are so popular in books like these, as the audience can interpret the words in a visual format and have extra meaning applied to them.

An interesting tutorial I read through about a designer who created one of their cartoons in a traditional style, which can be read here. It has inspired me to look into the potential of using Photoshop in the style where I create a hand-drawn sketch and then digitally edit it, maybe to clean it up if needed, but mainly to add in the extra detail to the iris for example if I went for that idea.

I had been looking into the universe idea to represent my eye ever since I drew the comparison of the pupil being like a black hole. From the article on the Mail Online regarding the latest stage of the dying of the Helix Nebula that someone very kindly linked me to, I could not have found a better photograph to describe what I meant. The similarity to an eye is just amazing, which has given me an idea as to whether I could replace the eye in a sketch with this.

Another idea I have had which I got from watching an art program,  looks at the colour of International Klein Blue. Yves Klein was an artist who had a fascination with the colour blue, which came from his love of the sky. As an artist he wanted a particular shade of blue, that was unadulterated by the oil normally used to turn blue pigment into paint. This was achieved, and from there on this was on the colour used in his work. Where it is links into my project was that Klein wanted nothing more than to escape this world and voyage to the one above, the sky. So the idea formed in my head building on his psychological instability  and using this colour in a idea could be an example with an attached case study of where psychology can be a very fragile area. It could be that a portrait of Yves Klein in the International Klein Blue could be a striking design and the caption could explain it.

As I was looking into vector illustration in my last post and in my initial ideas, but was concerned about the lack of emotion that could be conveyed, I did some quick research into vector portraits and came across this portrait of Emma Watson by AryaInk on deviantArt which I felt carried some emotion with it, while clearly being a vector illustration. The other thing to note is that there is a contrast within the illustration between some parts of the face like the eyes and hair look far more ‘realistic’ like the portraits from Cristiano Sequeria, but then the skin tones were loosely applied, making it clear to see the way that the face had been constructed, which I found interesting as I personally feel it is a more open illustration to the audience than one that had been so polished, you had no idea how it was created.

When trying to think of how I could make a face appear very simply in a visual manner and whether that conveyed the psychology aspect of this brief, it reminded me of the Bauhaus exhibition I went to over the summer, where I saw these building blocks that had a very functional aesthetic running through them. So as discussed in my ideas, this is how I could create a face out of these blocky shapes.

Something that inspired me to create a couple of ideas to do with the brain came from an image of a cutaway image of the brain as well as a translucent, ghosted view of the brain. I wanted to focus on the brain because I feel it is so important to psychology, but is a hidden factor that I really wanted to show. These two images that you can find here and here give an idea as to what could be possible. I haven’t placed these images on my blog because I believe them to be stock photography.

I had the idea of wanting to view the face from different angles at once, to draw on the fact faces are not symmetrical and to see if multiple views could help determine the psychological state of someone better than one view. I was inspired by something I had seen in a Grand Prix Legends catalogue in 2001, a wall mounted mirror display case for a model car. This idea appears to be extremely technical and I think it would take a lot of time to get the proportions right, then of course there is the issue of how to make it large enough to fit onto the page so that the audience can see it properly.

Finally, but not least, I was obviously inspired by the colour wheel for this project. There are many colour wheel images on the Internet but I chose this as I felt it showed a range of colour with a palette around the outside. I felt showing just one emotion might not capture the true meaning of psychology, and drawing on the thought that colour was such an important way of stating psychology, more of which can be read about here, I wondered if this could be expressed through the face, and I eventually settled on the iris to convey this as I felt it was generally the most colourful element of the face. The question is though, do I just leave it as a colour wheel, leaving the iris blank in my sketch, or do I include some transparency and overlay it over an iris I have sketched for added texture?

Another piece of design that surprised me as to quite how similar it looked to what I was planning was a Creative Review cover I found at college from 1998! I really think the way the eye is larger than in real life allows for an eye-catching design with a very strong focal point. There is quite a lot of space over the top of the eye that works well for Creative Review because that is where the title can be placed, but for my design this will not work.





A discussion with one of the tutors after the interim crit was very interesting and one point raised was about the album covers for Jean Michel Jarre, which can be read here. I have to say I find the Magnetic Fields and Oxygene album covers to be fantastic designs that really capture the face and facial structure well. The links for the images are here, here and here.

Well, now that I have finally recorded the elements that have inspired my ideas to be what they are, I will move on to picking out the best ideas and turning them into proposals to assess before creating the design needed to meet the brief. On a final note, I should add that my ideas came first, then I looked around to see what I could do potentially to improve my ideas and make them into a piece of design, rather than just finding other designs, copying some features and twisting them to fit my project.