Monday, 11 May 2009

Art Monday: Migrations banner concepts

This is Part 1, Concepts.
Go to Part 2, Final Workflow.
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Collaboration can lead to wonderful places.
I've done a few blog banners for other bloggers before, (Retrospectacle, Of Two Minds, The Meming of Life) and I think it can be incredibly beautiful for a serious blogger to hire an artist to do some custom work. Look at Carel Brest Van Kempen's exemplary A Blog Around the Clock banner, or Jessica Palmer's own Bioephemera banner. This is serious art conveying information on the diverse moods and interests of the blogger. Perhaps a review of blog banners is in order some day.

Dan Rhoads is a molecular biologist and avid naturalist who moved from America to the island of Cyprus. His blog Migrations ranges in topics such as bird-watching, conservation, science in society and whatever else catches his keen eye. After a rocky patch of non-connecting emails ("What do you mean I am having trouble sending instantaneous messages halfway around the world?! Preposterous!" I spluttered), and with some help from Mike Haubrich, Dan and I got started.

Initial ideas that were tossed into the salad bowl of my brain:

-Fibonacci sequence. Archaeopteryx. Cyprus. Human migration out of Africa. Bird Migration, v-formations. Darwin's finches.
-Dan's personal migration to Cyprus.
-Looked up cellular migration, realized it's poorly understood.
-Read about
Dictyostelium discodeum, an amoeba useful in studying cellular migration, has a slug-form it adopts when moving. I like saying "dicty-disco" out loud.

Starting with these ideas, here are some of the images developed in the rough conceptual stage.

Archaeopteryx on a slab in the shape of Cyprus with a shadow of a modern bird, pencil:A spiral emanating from archaeopteryx's eye, birds following the path, human footprints, dictystelium amoebae tracing a path. Cool tones, digital painting:Same spiral, archaeopteryx. Warm tones in oil paint:Wedge-shaped concept, flight of birds in center, Cyprus on right, amoebae moving from left. Pencil:
Wedge concept simplified. Dan suggested amoebae in positions of Mediterranean islands, but I kept a wedge shape. Oil paint:

There were a few other pencils in similar vein. I worried the concepts were missing a human connection for the blog-reader.

On my walk to work one day, I stoppe
d in the park and scribbled out an idea. Take it right back to the human traveller. I touched up the pencils with india ink, scanned it and did a slapdash colouring job with digital painting in Photoshop. Included the image at the last minute in an email to Dan:

Bingo.

I'll conclude this "Making of the Migrations banner" in part 2 later this week! In the meantime, make sure to view the final in its proper home.


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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow under Creative Commons Licence.
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6 comments:

Mo said...

I have 5 beautiful rotating banners on my blog, 4 of which were done by Jess Palmer.

Glendon Mellow said...

And all of which are really gorgeous. Jess is extremely talented.

Anonymous said...

Completely different from much of your art, but still has that touch of "Glendon" in it. Incredibly beautiful, one of my favourite types of art, the kind that makes me physically try to look around the corner, even though I know it is a picture, but wanting to try.... just in case.

(for some reason I have to do this anonymously....)
-Lindsay

Mo said...

Oh...and the banner you did for Dan is awesome!

chris zenga said...

This is so AWESOME it hurts!

Later days,

Glendon Mellow said...

Thanks Violetlight-Anon! It is kind of different. My work isn't always in bright sunshine. That's one of the fun things about commissioned-work: you surprise yourself.

Thanks Mo! I appreciate that from someone with a keen eye for art. ;-)

I'm sorry it hurts, Chris! Nah - it's a good pain, work it through.

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