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Art in Pandemic Times: Design Process for Illustration

There is no way to survive the new reality but adapting to it. That is what is happening now with people around the world adjusting to life in the new conditions of pandemic and virus protection.

The process of creating an illustration for a particular product or project is not only about visual expression. There’s much more behind it, as in any type of design process: apart from the illustrator’s knowledge, effort, and practical skills, it also includes research, analysis, idea and composition search, working out the best color solution, and many other aspects leading to a needed outcome. In the case of creating a consistent set of illustrations, the process gets even deeper and more extended to reach the systematic design approach.

Whatever is your artistic manner and workstyle, the major advice from our illustrator is like that: never stop where you are. Only the constant learning process can allow you to achieve creative development and not to get stuck on the sidelines of the information field.

Check this design process to catch the general style of the illustration more accurately and understand:

Stage 1: Color Palette

At this case, the artist proceeded from a style that was based on imitation of manual printing graphics. So, she chose 3 primary colors, the overlay of which would give her the entire necessary palette and conveys the spirit of screen printing. To reach that effect, she selected a brush in Procreate that creates the necessary texture. A more time-consuming but also more effective method is creating your own brushes using textures from real materials.

Stage 2: Theme

The artist was looking for an abstract theme that could have a logical sequence of illustrations and at the same time encourage her to search for new expressive techniques and compositions.

As a result, the choice was focused on the theme called Process, so the illustrations aimed at reflecting various stages of research and creation process. Also, this series had a mascot character: the curious and clever Cat.

The illustrator took the basic and crucial stages of the creative process as themes for the illustrations in the set:

  • statement of a question
  • research
  • data systematization
  • analysis of the received data
  • hypotheses
  • solution

Stage 3: Process

It’s easy to see that the creative process starts much before the first line or word gets down on paper, canvas, or artboard. So, the set of artworks about the Curious Cat reflects will help us to define, describe, and illustrate the design flow for a series of digital illustrations.  If you project this list of points onto the creative process for illustration, then it might flow in the following way.

  • Statement of the question
  • What goals do I set for myself?
  • What do I want to achieve?
  • Which illustrators do I like?
  • What is in their work that caught my attention?
  • What my work is missing?
  • What skills would I like to upgrade?
  • How can I reveal the topic?

It doesn’t mean to ask these questions all together at once, it’s enough to concentrate on a couple of aspects that are of interest at the moment since the tasks change and the entire analysis process needs to be done anew each time.

Stage 4: Research

This stage includes collecting references, selecting works of illustrators whose work inspires you, reading articles on the topic under study (in this case, about different kinds and approaches to the creative process), or perhaps even not this topic directly but the one that will really motivate you to work (for example, biographies of famous creative people you like), and creating a library or mood board of photo fragments you like.

Hopefully, these stages described above will motivate you to try such a systematic approach in your illustration experience.

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