The second weeks assignment was much more difficult than the first both because of the subject matter and the format (plates!) I couldn’t find a way of drawing Staffordshire pottery figurines in my style in a way that I liked. They are super cute in a derpy kind of way and I can see a lot of artists styles would be a perfect fit for the subject matter, but when I was half way through my first plate having finished the mini with some serious doubts, I was so frustrated I decided to scrap it and start over.
I decided to go a little broader and see if I could find something I was better suited for that was still within the realm of the subject matter. Soon I was looking at antique plates from the same era and I decided to study antique plates in general. I liked the monochromatic designs with very ornate detail and imagery which stayed within that pastoral, english country life theme.
I brainstormed ideas for things to draw and made thumbnails for how I might want to compose the designs. In my first attempt I had done my usual method of drawing lots of icons and then trying to fiddle around with them in photoshop, but I couldnt shake the feeling that it just looked like art slapped on a plate and not art actually made for a plate and so I was determined to take a more thoughtful approach this time.
I had never designed on a circle before and its a lot harder to plan for scale. So I went super basic and actually took a plate and traced it out on two pieces of paper taped together (I wanted to be able to fit the art easily into the scanner later). I draw the whole plate design in pencil directly on the circle, only drawing the quails separately. I used this method for two of the plates and on the last plate with the central image I drew a quarter of a circle on the corner of the page and did border that I could complete in photoshop and drew the central image on a different sheet of paper.
Deciding the colors took awhile, but I really wanted to stick with the idea of referencing those old antique plates so I still wanted most of the line work to be monocromatic in blue and white. In the end I decided to pop in some soft yellow to add a bit of contrast but without taking away from the idea too much.
It was hard to find a way to compose the presentation image because most of the detail was on the edges. Im still not sure if it pops enough as a smaller thumnail image, but I like the artwork and think it would look really cute on melamine plates for a summer time picnic or something.
I’m proud of myself that I took the time to do the whole border and not try to take digital shortcuts because I think it made the finished piece more successful (the stippling in the border took me foooooreeever). I’m pleased that I’m learning to draw birds in a less representational way and work on stylizing them in my own way. Sometimes I worry that my artwork is too cute and not adult enough or cool enough but I absolutely adored drawing those quails and pheasants and the other country birds and I hope my concept comes across.