Hey everyone, time for a progress report! Today, we'll look at a project I've been working on for the past few weeks, an illustration for an art challenge held amongst the artists at my office. The theme for this month's challenge is "Intelligent Plant." With nothing other than that to go on, I decided to illustrate the most obvious idea: tree versus lumberjack.
As you can see, the first rendition of the illustration was heavy on the mortal combat, light on subtlety. The next attempt was better, made everything more whimsical: the lumberjack is now just confused as to where his axe is, and the tree as a sentient being (emphasis on "ent." You're welcome) who uses his abilities in a sneaky, rather than violent, fashion. But I thought the face of the tree could've been more... tree-y. Branch for a nose, moss for eyebrows, yes, now we're getting somewheres.
Now for the composition. I had the basic idea of what I wanted the tree to look like, and the layout (vertically oriented, to get the branches into the scene), but there was still a ways to go. I decided that there's no reason a mythical, magical tree-being shouldn't be as comfortable in the stereotypical fairy tale past as in the modern day, so I swapped out the lumberjack's axe for a chainsaw, updated his clothing, and dropped them in the middle of a future housing development. Around this time, I realized the top part of the image would go to waste if I only had branches up there, so I added some birds and squirrels up there on the branches, all peeved the lumberjack is trying to destroy their home to make room for new homes. Both the idea and the image were evolving, but I couldn't help but think it could all be better still. So I took one more crack at the tree design and composition:
Nailed it! Now the tree looks way more like a tree and less like a human; a creepy and otherworldly tree, sure, but a tree nonetheless. I also moved the chainsaw up a bit so it could be circled in the branches and create a line of focus between it and the lumberjack, a line of focus that just happens to pass over the face of the tree. Now get get some reference images for the various aspects of and execute a full-sized sketch of the final illustration.
And that's where it currently stands. What do you guys think?
Also, what do you guys think of this progress report business? Interesting? Boring? Stupid and boring and for losers and I'm a loser? Lemme know!