Sunday 20 September 2009


Back on track with an illustration post today. I've completed my Washington DC illustration and that has been approved by the clients, which is a great feeling after all the hard work that went into the image. I'm really looking forward to seeing pictures of it in year!

That's the nice thing about editorial illustration, the immediacy with which you get to see your work in context and obviously the work I do for the Independent is an extreme example of this. Today's image was a bit different in that I received the full article to work from, rather then just a direction. However, there was an overriding theme of 'how the liberals have given up on freedom' so I read the text with that in mind, looking for lines which provoked visual responses that were simple enough to work in the newspaper. It's important for me to remind myself not to over-complicate the image, as I am so used to working up multi-layered images (the Washington project was over 500 layers and a GigaByte in size!) that I have to distill my ideas into their purest form to make them work in this format. There are several reasons for that; the size of the final artwork, the quality of the paper it is printed on, the complexity of the ideas discussed in the column and the time I have to do the artwork in. All of these factors make it crucial to have one strong idea in an image, rather then numerous pockets of information and to this end when I do get to work from the article I have to break it down into single statements of inspiration.

So I created my roughs and the idea that was selected for artworking was inspired by the idea of taking away civil liberties from the people, in order to balance out the free reign given to bankers and other industries throughout Labour's terms. The exact paragraph is here:
"A party that should have intervened for social justice and greater equality instead allowed the markets to let rip. Having raised the white flag to the bankers, ministers instead sought to exert their power elsewhere, at the level of the citizen, seeking ever more ingenious ways of watching us, listening to us and telling us how to lead our lives. I am no Freudian psychoanalyst, but I can find no better example of displacement theory in modern politics."

I was visually interested in the notion of psychoanalysis and a sort of automatic response, which lead to the idea of scribbling. Combining the theme and the visual inspiration I worked towards the image shown below, a vision of people walking on an average street with their mouths closed up by red crosses. The idea being that even when going about our everyday lives personal liberties have been removed in an almost childlike, ill-considered manner. The colour usage is deliberately muted to add to this feeling of being repressed.

The full article is here

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