After the very strange and unconventional ending to our last semester, I attempted to continue drawing and experimenting until the next semester began. Total social isolation should have proved to be a productive time for me, but the emotions of the year have put me in a strange place creatively. While I may not have been as productive as I had hoped, I did manage to complete a few personal, as well as professional, projects.
As classes wrapped up, I began my first professional assignment of the summer, a t-shirt design for United State of Indiana, an Indiana-themed t-shirt company. I had met the creator of the company while studying at Ball State and he reached out to commission this piece for their summer collection. The prompt was to recreate the Seal of the State of Indiana in a more modern and graphic style. This was a fun piece for me to work on, and a challenging one. I enjoyed sculpting each shape to be readable while limited to just two colors. After a challenging semester of assigning myself projects, it was refreshing to have a more linear prompt.
While working on this project, I also occasionally worked on some personal sketches and illustrations. While I started many illustrations, I only completed one "finished" illustration, a portrait of my family's dog, Bailey. In this piece, I was experimenting with an inking style, but also working to emulate the post-processing techniques of Bill Sienkiewicz and others. I wanted to utilize a coloring style that wasn't just a traditional "coloring book" style, I wanted to add color to the black ink itself. Personally, I find this to be a successful experiment, and a step in the right direction for the style of work I am wanting to create.
I occasionally worked in my sketchbook to experiment with styles and materials, something I plan on doing more frequently. These types of experiments help me find new things without feeling the pressure of making a portfolio piece.
After a brief week working in a t-shirt shop in Syracuse, I was handed a simple logo design job for someone starting a merch line. I got to stretch my graphic design skills a bit and make this relatively minimal logo system.
Finally, as the next semester was just around the corner, I received a family portrait commission that then sparked a flood of requests for similar drawings. As fairly simple, realistic, photo reference commissions, I was able to experiment a bit with pencil techniques. Each one has a slightly different style to it, and I was able to learn a few rendering styles I may use again in the future.
Again, while I may not have been as prolific as I had planned on being during my self-quarantine, I was still able to make several experiments toward finding my voice.