Thursday, September 24, 2009


JAMES - Another oversize illustration, this one originated almost exactly two years ago. At the time I was keeping a personal mini-sketchbook, a real free-form experimental type of book, and every once in awhile, I wound up with a good idea or two that have translated into future illustrations (one of them became my Henry Rollins poster).
Anyway, this particular one always stuck in my mind, and I finally took the opportunity to bring it to life.
Similar to The Pill, this one is 22" x 30". I really like working this large, cuz it's more of my whole arm moving across the paper, as opposed to just my wrist and fingers controlling my strokes.

original ink drawing

I started with taking some photos for reference and then made this sketch, done with marker on 8.5" x 5.5" copy paper. I scanned it, and blew it up to the size I would need it, then printed it out onto 12 sheets of paper. I assembled those to make one large blueprint of the artwork to use for the final piece.

color study

Then I did a little color study on a little piece of 5" x 7" paper, just to get a handle on the colors and layers before I attacked the actual illustration.

process photos

This time I used Somerset paper, which is very similar to Rives BFK, and was great to work with. I started with a light pencil outline, and went layer-by-layer with my colors - almost approaching it like a screenprint. All the colors are acrylic, and the outline is an ink wash. After the main color and outline, I covered the entire painting in a layer of translucent metallic gold acrylic, which I kept messing with to warp the coverage. Finally, I added the lettering, which took awhile to keep my hand really steady for it all.

finished detail shot

I had a specific reason for using the metallic gold, even though it is kind of subtle in the end. I feel like most of the art I make is all done with the idea of it being reproduced faithfully in different ways: screenprint, photocopy, digital jpegs, etc etc. But metallic colors are really hard to reproduce, which gives the original piece of artwork greater importance and uniqueness. The only way to get the full effect of the illustration is to see it in person - and in contrast to my usual work, that just seems like a cool idea to me.
Anyway, I had a good time with this, and I'm planning on doing a bunch more like this. One thing, though, is that I think it would be better to use an easel - I'll have to look into that.


thomas pitilli said...

wow- that's pretty intense man. This one and "the pill" would look really nice together in a series. I really like the overlap of the type. I actually really like the original ink drawing, it's real graphic and nice. I kinda wonder what the black and white one would look like with the colored letters over it? That might make a cool silkscreen in the future. Nice process shots too. Awesome job!

james flames said...

thanks man. good suggestion, i wouldn't have thought of that, but if i ever do wind up screening these, i might use that idea.
and yeah, i guess this is meant to be a part of a series with The Pill, and a couple others i have soon as i find more hours in the day, i'll get started on those.
thanks dude.

H. Stewart said...

ha, very clever!