My starting point when thinking about designing a postcard that said something about who I was involved brainstorming a list of things that I love to do and the things that are important in my life. This included a range of people, things and activities.
I’ve been doing a lot of Spiderman sewing recently for my nephews and I think this is probably where I got the idea of a cape. I wanted the cape to be the focal point of the composition and to be rich in texture, pattern and colour. I decided to draw it hanging on a mannequin so that the rest of the image could be very simple. My brainstormed list was quite long and in order to convey the most complete picture of me I decided to try and create a patchwork effect on the cape incorporating a variety of elements including scanned images, photos, drawings created in Illustrator and well know logos.
As mentioned on the reverse of my postcard, the work of Sunny Gu was a real inspiration me. Sunny describes her work as,
an endless journey searching for beauty, value, truth and self
and it is her vibrant use of colour and rich detail that I like most about her illustrations.
This illustration had some similar elements to those which I was hoping create for my cape and it helped me to visualise my own designs as they began to form in my head.
I was met with several frustrations along with way, most notably that my skills in Illustrator and Photoshop did not match what I wanted to create. The cape itself was quite complex and although I had worked a little bit with clipping masks in Photoshop I wasn’t prepared for creating a image made up of many smaller sections. I decided to draw the cape in my sketchbook and scan it in so that I would have something to work with. This was my original sketch
I had gotten so carried away with my concept of the visual that I had overlooked the size of a postcard and after a short time adding in elements in Illustrator realised that I needed to simplify everything. My second attempt felt much more balanced…
Initially, in order to draw the masks I imported the image into illustrator and did an image trace of my sketch to pick up the different sections of the cape. This worked quite well but it created outlines between the different patches and I am not yet skilled enough with the pen tool and anchor points in Illustrator to make a good stab at manipulating the shapes.
My second attempt was in Photoshop and I began tracing over the different sections using my new Wacom tablet. This was quite an adventure and I was incredibly clumsy to begin with but after lots of practice I was able to draw lines and create shapes quite confidently.
After I had created masks for each section of the patchwork I imported various images into the document and the image really started to take form. It did, however, look a bit flat and I wanted to try and give the cape a bit more of a vintage look. I had just finished some blanket stitching on a sewing project and decided to see if I could create a stitching effect for the cape. I downloaded some sets of sewing stitch brushes in PS and experimented, again with the wacom.
Overall the whole design took far longer than I had planned and while I was very happy with the actual design throughout I felt that the process of creating it had been a bit ambitious. On reflection, for my first assignment, I might have been sensible to work on something more simple.