Thursday, March 5, 2009

Process Work for A Float of Crocodiles

Earlier this year I was part of a group exhibition called 'A Murder of Crows'.  It was a show based on collective animal nouns and, as promised, this is the process work for my image.  

The first image isn't much, but usually it never is.  

I researched into various animal nouns and the one that struck me the most was 'a float of crocodiles'.  I had a wonderful image of crocodiles that had camouflaged themselves as pool toys.  So I did a small sketch and moved on from there to get images of crocodiles and children that would fit into my rough composition.
After finding a few resource images I made a rough composition and continued to refine it until I was happy.  Since it was a very complex image I did the first few sketches by hand but then surrendered to photoshop.  I am very particular about composition so this was probably the longest-or at least the hardest-part of the process.
Usually I know what 'style' or 'look' I am going for, and the composition follows this knowledge.  But this time I didn't know if I wanted to go for a fairly realistic image or follow a style more derivative of children's illustrations.  I did want a particularly happy perky image to off-set the horrible fact that children were obliviously swimming with crocodiles.
 So I looked up various advertisements and played around with watercolours till I was happy.  
(the kid below on the right looks like the cover boy of Mad Magazine!)
I decided on the kid on the bottom right hand corner, watercolours with a pencil outline.  I had originally wanted to screen print the image, but as the composition got more complicated and the costs started to count off in my head I decided to go with a more familiar medium.  But with the strong pencil outline and the big washes of colour I felt like this style was close to my earlier idea.   

I tested a few images with this style and felt the water was looking crap.  So in the end to get the right 'flatness' similiar to screen printing I used acrylics; and when that didn't work I used the computer.  I showed the above image to the rest of the 'murderous crow' crowd and got some lovely feedback.  Everyone felt it would work better if the crocodiles were less visible on first glance.  (To get more of a 'Where's Wally' sort of effect)  And I agreed with them completely.  So after making my crocodiles much more green I did the final image.     

and Ta Dah! the final image!
Don't you want to buy yourself a Crocodile float? 


  1. Wow, the thought process makes it even more amazing! You should have included the math! Did it sell?

  2. Nope!
    not at all, and I still haven't picked it up yet! (yikes)
    I should be getting off my ass and getting into the car to put my ass down again so I can fetch it.
    But recently the flatmates have taken the car on the weekends ... also my ass is very comfortable where it is.

    I'm glad that you liked the progress tho, I was worried it was way too much and that people wouldn't be bothered to scroll all that way!

    luv-jessb ( I am exploding with happiness = from you reading my blog)