Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Sudden Revulsion Syndrome

asaf :: Philadelphia Magazine was looking for an illustration describing someone in a relationship who suddenly decides they have to breakup with their partner. the writer talks about how she finally meets her boyfriend's family and discovers how "middle-of-America" and boring they are, and realizing what he will turn into when he gets older.

my original idea was to create a composition around the young women that will somehow pressure her, so that a sense of urgency to escape will be expressed. the idea was to have the faces create a curve between the dad and the girl, going through the mom, the kid and the boyfriend.

at one point the AD changed the dimensions to a wider format, so I re-sketched everything with different characters, and houses in the background. they didn't like it, and I agreed it came out more stiff and lacked focus on the girl. I went back to the original sketch, while fighting my natural fear of the void, leaving empty spaces on both sides, hoping this sacrifice will help bring back the attention to the main character


  1. You occassionallly have a tendency draw these toothy generic ken doll faces (which is probably what your clients want for many of these assignments), but every once in a while an "Asaf" face will win out. LIke the expressive face of the dad in particular. This is a very "Asaf" face. (For other great "Asaf" faces, see the rapper in the "Lack of Love" piece, and the odd, and even slightly relief-like face in the lower left of "Alienation", oh, and the villian in "Cassidy").

    Though I like that you went for more cartoony expressionism in the kid, you lose a little dimension in his face--it flattens things out a little. Maybe if the light from the TV gave the figures another highlight, they'd "turn" a little more, and youd also get more of a sense of that artificial quality of the light--the weird glow of the TV, which would go along with the piece thematically.

    Also, sometimes I think you can stand to go a little more contrasty--a little darker, but without obliterating your line. While Tomer's line tends to be the foundation of what essentially are paintings, your drawings are definately line-based and you never seem to forget that, which is good, though in this instance, you could've gone just a notch darker on the shadows in the background. You'd lose background detail, but your figures wouldn't, and it would add more drama, like a candle lit in a dark room.

    Ok, this criticism was probably way too specific, and maybe a little too much, so I don't want you to get the wrong impression: I like the piece, don't get me wrong, but sometimes I ramble, and these are just random suggestions.

    Did you draw or grid the TV image to make it anamorphic? Or did you squash it somehow in the computer? I always find this kind of thing a challenge and wonder if you have a cheat for it, or maybe there aren't any cheats and it's just a skill I need to develop more. I, typically, am always looking for a short-cut, so maybe I should just sharpen my pencils and transfer that grid and stop looking for the easy way out.

    Great piece!

  2. Brad Reid3:27 PM

    Your fears of the void were unfounded. You've filled the empty spaces very well, and they're actually quite active. In fact, I think they might add to the expression of the piece, as a sort of metaphor. They express the emptiness that the girlfriend fears in the middle-american lifestyle.

    With regard to your fear of the void, I remember reading something of Moebius, the French cartoonist (whom I'm sure you're familiar with), that early in his career he liked to fill his illustrations with a lot of detail as a means of satisfying the viewer's interest. Then later, beginning with the first of his Aedena cycle of stories, he decided to scrap all the excess detail in favour of laying the stress on contour, as a means of trying his own skill, if nothing else.

    Still, accumulation of detail remains one means of satisfying the viewer and filling-out pictorial space. No doubt the whole problem has a lot more angles on it than I'm laying out here.

  3. jed, brad -
    thanks for your insightful, and extensive comments :)

  4. Glad you don't think I overdid it, but I'm still curious about how you manage the anamorphic squooshed image on the TV--The only way I know how to do this is to grid it out--is there a computer cheat, or some easier way?

  5. Man you covered the gamut here. You get that wall closing in feeling and the metaphor "blue" in blue collar seperating her and that yellow is just like a yield sign..."get me outta here" And where her hand is you'd hope there'd be a doorknob, but alas no!
    Great problem-solving.
    You makes some brave lighting choices that I don't think I could do.


  6. hey skinshark -thanks!

    jed - about the tv screen - the deformation was done digitally. it's a simple transform operation, it doesn't get any easier than this.

  7. Ok. That is disturbingly easy. Why didn't I know about that? I knew you could distort stuff, but I didn't know it would put it in PERSPECTIVE for you! I was just playing around with it, and it's a complete revelation. I truly hate perspective, (not so much that I'll completely wimp out and use a computer model) And outside of three-point, signage has always been a problem. I've always marvelled at how people did it.

    Inevitably, whenever I ask, "is there a trick for that", It's just wishful thinking, so I'm truly amazed that, yes, there is a trick for this. I have a personal project I've been working on, and this is absolutely applicable, and I was sort of hoping there was something I could do to lessen the pain.


    Thanks Asaf.