Hey! How’s your weeks been? I’ve been very busy recently updating my online shop – featuring greetings cards to art prints, and creating new illustrations, including these new illustrations that I’m sharing with you today!
If you’re unfamiliar with myself and my work, I’m a freelance illustrator and designer, specialising in editorial, publishing and advertising illustration. I have a portfolio of work on my website if you want to check out more of my work.
Within this article you will discover my brand new illustrations for my ‘Social Media / Phone Reality’ series. I’ll be sharing detail shots, development images (that you can’t see anywhere else but here!), the final illustrations and sharing my thoughts behind each illustration. So with that in mind, let me give you a bit of background.
The Motivation Behind These Illustrations
I’ve wanted to create this body of work for a while now, and create something more conceptual than some of the other illustrations which I’ve been working on recently (like portraits for example). It’s a topic which is quite hot right now, as the amount of time we all (myself included), spend on social media / our phones is crazy. I wanted to create some illustrations that comment on this.
I’m conscious that these illustrations reveal the ‘negative’ or ‘realities’ of social media, so hopefully in the future I can create some illustrations that positively comment on this subject (even though I don’t know what yet)!
The motivation behind these pieces is that I (and most of us) have always been surrounded by social media and the impact it has on our lives.
First Illustration – Social Media Reality
With all of these illustrations I wanted to show the reality of social media / phones. When we scroll through social media, it’s a constant barrage of the unreal – most things are filtered, changed, distorted – making us to look perfect.
We all know this cannot be true all of the time, which hopefully this illustration communicates.
With the first illustration below, the illustration shows a happy emoji mask attached to a figure’s head. Regardless of what emotion the real person is feeling in this illustration, it’s completely different to what we reveal online.
We often show a completely different aspect to our lives online than what we’re actually thinking and feeling.
Like all of my personal and commissioned illustrations, I start off with a series of initial thumbnails in my sketchbook. This is my chance to keep all options open and explore ideas. After working out an idea as openly as possible, I work with composition, ideas, and tone, trying to figure out what is the best way to convey my idea through the power of illustration. If you’re unfamiliar with producing thumbnails in your sketchbook as a a way of working (which I highly recommend to anyone), I recommend you check this helpful blog post out.
At first I did show a crying and unhappy face beneath the mask (image below), but I decided to not include this in the final version, as I didn’t think it was necessary. I wanted the viewer to work it out for themselves, and make the image a bit more ambiguous.
I’m very happy with how this illustration came out, and in particular the colour I used too. If you want to learn how to improve the colour in your art, check out this article.
Second Illustration – Missing Those Crucial Moments
I’ve lost count the number of times when I’ve walked past a restaurant and seen a couple both looking at their phones.
Is the art of conversation dead? Have they absolutely nothing to talk about anymore (that maybe indicates a poor relationship)?
With this illustration I wanted to comment on how many crucial and important moments in our lifes we could be losing by looking at our phones – and what more important moment to miss than a wedding day.
Hopefully the idea is quite obvious with this illustration, but this illustration shows the bride and groom, the guests and even the vicar not paying attention to what’s going on.
Below you can see my colour tryouts that I produced before committing to the final illustration. This is the ideal time for me to tryout different colour combinations and what atmosphere I want to convey. These colour sketches are often rough and quick, with emphasis solely on colour.
I don’t usually reveal this on my website, but I thought this would be the ideal opportunity to show you just how much I edit my illustrations digitally. You can see this image below (before any editing). You can see just how much I change, edit mistakes and improve my illustrations. This is a crucial tool to take my illustrations to the next level.
Third Illustration – Is Social Media Really True?
The final illustration in this series showcases an often true but sad reality of social media.
Similar to the first illustration in this series, we often show a hyper-real and filtered aspect of our lives for social media. However our true ‘self’ may be depressed, bored or even sad.
This illustration begins by showing a woman revealing her true-self, plants have died, pizza, coffee, make-up not done and pictures not straight. However this is all corrected for her ‘selfie and hyper-real’ moment, with new plants, straight and perfect pictures, no litter and make-up done. She’s looking happy and perfect, before going back to the ‘reality’ in the third image.
I wanted to be extreme and very tongue-and-cheek with this illustration to get across my idea. I’m happy to have painted an illustration sequence too, something which I’m inspired by and haven’t done in a while.
The Child Genius
Leading on from ‘Missing Those Crucial Moments’ illustration, this is a similar artwork that looks at how members of a family (in this case the Mother and Father), miss their child discover an incredible calculation at a very tender age. Instead, they are too concerned with their electronic devices. I wanted the illustration to have an essence of classic Dutch art (like Johannes Vermeer for example), where an everyday scene is shown to reveal the idea.
I focused on a limited colour palette for this one, focusing on blues, blues and a hint of yellow. This is my favourite way to illustrate and paint, as it pretty much guarantees strong colour palettes. I also bought in different textures whilst editing the piece – something which I’m really getting into!
I certainly want to produce a few positive technology / social media / phone illustrations, as I don’t want this whole series to be all doom and gloom. But showing more of a balanced reaction within the series.
I Hope You’ve Enjoyed These Illustrations!
I hope you enjoyed this insight into this illustration series guys! I’ve had a great deal of fun producing them, and I have much more to come in the future!
If you’ll like to find out more about this illustration project, do check it out on my portfolio. To discover more of my work, check out my illustration portfolio, have a browse through my design to fine art work, or hit up my contact page to hire me today!
Cheers guys and see you on the next article!
Many thanks for listening and visiting my news page today. You can follow what I’m up to on my Twitter, Facebook or Google + pages, I’ll really appreciate it if you do, and don’t be afraid to say hi to me! Many thanks again, and have a great day!