Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Autumn Beauty

I will probably still do some more work on this later, but I thought it would maybe be interesting to some to see how I start an illustration. After collecting a bunch of pictures for reference, looking at everything I've collected I try to visualize putting the images together and how they would fit nicely on the paper. Once I have a good idea of where I would like things to go, I do a very light pencil sketch of the contours, so light so that when I cover it with watercolor you can't see any pencil through the paint. If I don't do this and just jump in, I will end up making one part too big and not being able to fit the rest in, or I will tend to make things not in the right proportions to each other and watercolor is so unforgiving that things just have to be planned out. So, here is the beginning of Autumn Beauty Sunflower. It looks weird and dark because I messed with it so that you can actually see the pencil drawing. Just know that the pencil lines are much lighter in actuality and that the paper is one solid white color.

I didn't used to plan things out so much or even stick to any drawing that I started with. I was very bad at composing an image. I was more interested in making what I did get down look the most real, not caring about where it sat on the page, or how it interacted with the rest of the picture. But it's been a good challenge to try to change that. Things looks a bit less awkward in the end :)
And for some fun facts, here is a bit about heliotropism and sunflowers from wikipedia:
A common misconception is that sunflowers track the sun. In fact, mature flowerheads typically face east and do not move. The leaves and buds of young sunflowers do exhibit heliotropism (sun turning). Their orientation changes from east to west during the course of a day. The movements become a circadian response and when plants are rotated 180 degrees, the old response pattern is still followed for a few days, with leaf orientation changing from west to east instead. [I find this part particularly interesting. It is as if the leaves and buds have to learn where they are supposed go in this new situation.] The leaf and flowerhead bud phototropism occurs while the leaf petioles and stems are still actively growing, but once mature, the movements stop. These movements involve the petioles bending or twisting during the day then unbending or untwisting at night.

No comments: