Monday, October 20, 2008

Zeit 1 + Concepts

Zeit 1

Several weeks ago I was commissioned by Art Director Andreas Wellnitz at Zeit Magazine (a German publication) to illustrate a feature for a short story written by esteemed fictionist Daniel Kehlmann.

The story was essentially about a writer doing an interview feature for a big literary magazine.

I've generally had great experiences with European magazines in the past because they tend to give big assignments and really let me run with them.

I was given an image of the author and asked to illustrate my version of the character from the story in the same position, with which it would be juxtaposed in the magazine. This would be the introduction to the feature. >>Dramatization<<

The character described in the story was essentially a single, mid-40's, successful writer living in Berlin. For me, designing this man's surroundings was sort of a chance to draw what I could imagine to be the surroundings of other successful artists I know, people who make a living from their creativity, and their work environments, living in a big city. I guess the thing I was going for was more a creative person's workspace rather than the usually imaginary super swank famous big city artist experience.

I used my friend and fellow illustrator Doug Cowan as the model for the character. I pushed his hairline back and tried to age him up a bit with gray hair. In reality, he's much more handsome than was appropriate for the story, but Doug can pull off a good angst-ridden artist look, which I thought fit the character's personality well.

Also, they requested that the illustrations feel similar to this piece I did a while back for NYU Magazine.

I will be posting more images from this series in the coming weeks.

Conceptsby Jillian Tamaki

Fellow illustrator and kindrid spirit Jillian Tamaki just wrote this fantastic article about how she comes up with ideas for her illustration assignments. If you don't know her already, you must not be clicking on the links I post on here. Jillian is a Society of Illustrators Gold Medal winner, Ignatz comic award-winner, phenomenal draughtsman and all-around good person. Respect!

Thanks for reading,



seajay said...

i'm loving the amount of insight you've been providing. very fun to witness your process. i. am. a. fan.

Michael said...

Fantastic work, Frank.

It's always great to find inspiration in the way other artist's think and create.

Question. I've always been a little confused of "flats" in illustrations (I see James Jean always mentioning them). What is the purpose of them and how do they help?


Frank said...

Thanks seajay, thanks Michael.

"Flatting" is a technique that originated with digital coloring for comic books.

To save time, a colorist will have an assistant select out the different elements of a drawing to be colored, so that color choices and shadows/highlights can be chosen and adjusted quickly.

It's just a technique that speeds up the process a bit. You can look up some good tutorials online.


M said...

There's always such character to your people. I also like the little details, like the half open drawer and papers stuffed between other things - is this something you add consciously or it just happens?

Thanks for all the informative posts lately!

looka said...

Hey, thanks for writing!

Ms Tamaki's drawings land one-two punches in a very subtle way. It's always a wonder to see what she is doing!

I sometimes go to the international bookstores to look if they have some magazines with the work of you or hers. I found a "Runners world" with a set by you. It was good seeing it on paper.

ILANA KOHN said...

yep, that's doug!

Tobias Schwarz said...

I was just reading that article in the Zeit Magazine. great illustrations!

Frank said...

M - The details sort of put themselves into the pieces. For example, the stuff between things... it's all based on my real surroundings I guess. Makes it more interesting for me that way. See the ref. photos.

looka - I'd hate Jillian for drawing so well if she wasn't so cool also. Which Runner's World did you see by me? Was it the German version?

Ilana - yes, it's Doug as this fictional character.

Tobias - I'm jealous, I am yet to see the magazine. I don't plan on posting all 5.


Alex said...

Your work is beautiful. What's your inking strategy? Do you like to do it on paper with pen or brush? Or does it depend on the situation. Also, do you do it directly on your pencils, or do you trace over a light table? Do you ever ink in photoshop?