I’m going to create an image about…
"The aspects that contribute towards Jenny Jones' opinion on Japan being the greatest country for snowboarding."
Jenny Jones – British professional snowboarder. She became the first Briton to win an olympic medal in a snow-sport event. Winning bronze in Slopestyle at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, 2014; she now speaks of why Japan is the ‘greatest country for snowboarding’.
Link below to my chosen editorial from The Telegraph newspaper:
The highlighted words that I selected, I have listed below due to the fact my editorial is an online document.
- Standing on a mountain peak with the world at my feet.
- Stopping in a forest glade to listen to the silence as the snow falls around.
- Pushing limits.
- Facing down fear.
- Most inspired when the spiritual and physical merge.
- Fresh powder.
- Nowhere satisfies the craving for fresh powder.
- Deep, deep snow and fun, user-friendly terrain.
- Hokkaido – undisputed powder capital of the world.
雪が降ると沈黙に耳を傾けます。(When the snow falls, I listen to the silence.) – Japanese. – Include this in final illustration.
The key words I then narrowed down from the list above to help me engage with this piece are:
Firstly, I developed a number of ideas roughly in my sketchbook.
Below are my ideas and my thoughts towards each of these:
Image of a mountain with colours splashed around (white, blue, grey, green) – acrylic paint – to represent different aspects of my title – Too abstract and potentially too bleak – would it convey the message that I am trying to portray? (I like the idea of the acrylic – different material use is good)
Images of selection from my ‘key word’ list – mountain, peak, snow, forest, snowboard, etc – how can I connect these to make this illustration work?
Colour palette – testing variety of mixes with acrylic paint – creates texture and adds a slight abstract feel. – need to select colours – blue, white, grey etc.
Snowboarder -in air? -mid air? -in movement?
My next step was to transform my ideas and decide on what style of illustration to adopt. I find this stage a little tricky as I have all my ideas fresh at the front of my mind, waiting to jump out, but the decision on what style and materials to use, always holds me back. My main queries/questions were – should I use graphics? or do I keep it fairly contemporary and modern? – should I retain a sense of abstractness?
After some time, I decided to draw a rough pencil sketch – using pencil as it is easily manipulated. I used social media and the internet to observe and study several pro snowboarders, so I could gage an idea of style and how they look in mid air, or in motion. A few examples of who I looked at, besides Jenny Jones were: Shaun White, Mark McMorris, Hannah Teter, Torah Bright and Travis Rice. I also sourced clips on youtube from the ‘X Games’, ‘Winter Olympics’ and I also watched clips from freestyle parks. This really expanded my ideas and thoughts. My rough pencil sketch included mountains and a snowboarder in motion. The image was not entirely successful, although it is clear what the image is of. However, I do now realise that it is not always essential for a sketch, or illustration to be completely accurate, so I left it for now and will develop from this and add different aspects to it.
I also did some rough sketches of a blank snowboard and similarly to most snowboards having some design on them – I decided to write ‘JAPAN’ in bubble writing, including the Japanese flag. I also picked out a quote from Jenny Jones within my chosen article and translated it into Japanese: “雪が降ると沈黙に耳を傾けます” – “When the snow falls, I listen to the silence”. The Japanese symbols, in which they use for their language and writing are very difficult to master, I will admit. However, when I managed to get this skill down, I was so impressed and inspired by their language and was keen to incorporate this into my final illustration. I began debating with myself again as to how I could master keeping this illustration engaging, as well as simple, but not too plain and not too cluttered. I also decided that I did want to maintain an abstract feel, and looking back at my previous developmental images, I loved the way I curated the acrylic on the paper and the feel that it gave.
“I’m going to create an image about the aspects that contribute towards Jenny Jones’ opinion on Japan being the greatest country for snowboarding.”
Here it is… my final illustration! I thoroughly enjoyed this exercise, despite the steps along the way that tested my patience, or the parts that were a little tricky at times. I think the message I have portrayed through my illustration clearly justifies my title. I also think the illustration would fit suitably and represent the article sensationally.
I am pleased that I practiced with a colour palette beforehand as I feel I have mastered the colour choice within my final illustration. I used acrylic paints and palette knives to administer the colours onto the page, and the gentle smear gives my final product the desired affect I was looking for. I am not 100% confident with the snowboard outline presenting ‘JAPAN’ and the Japanese flag as I feel slightly disappointed with its end outcome. My thoughts on this are that I did not get the desired shape for the snowboard accurate enough in my opinion and it appears to ‘blocked’ if that makes sense? The rest of my illustration confines to one style and I feel it stands out a little too much.
I am keen and motivated to explore what I can learn and achieve through my illustrations with the use of digital media and alterations, especially having spent some time with this in the past. However, I do not have any of the creative suite at the moment, so this is something I will be purchasing soon.
I have spent some time observing various materials such as newspapers, magazines, books and online content and have seen, especially of recent, how some artists have turned sketch-style images into graphic/digital forms. I would like to try this in the future as I feel it would add another dimension to my work, and my impression of this method on my current final illustration is that it would work exquisitely.
What I would like to work on and my learning points:
- I want to improve my techniques with a variety of materials as well as continue working on my drawing skills in a different variety of styles.
- I would like to practice trying to understand how to respond to the questions quicker and not spend so much time deliberating in my own mind about decisions to make, to save some time later on in the process.
- As mentioned prior, I want to purchase the creative suite, to see what I can master with Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator – and see if this adds a new and improved dimension to my work.
- I want to continue developing my colour palettes and learn more about the colour spectrum to improve my knowledge.