The starting point for this project was to choose a photograph from a selection. I don’t actually know anything about the photograph, but I’m going to try and find out at least who the photographer was. The think the reason I chose this image was because of the contrast of light and dark. I really got a sense of it being really quiet and still, like sometime during winter. I think its a really atmospheric photograph.
From this I created 40 rough sketches that were based from the photograph, but as if it was being viewed from different angles. I started off doing very simple black and white outline sketches, but I changed my approach after doing a few because I think they were just coming out looking quite bland. Like they were definitely rough sketches, but I think they were probably a bit too rough.
After this I started using very watery/inky based backgrounds. I created a space to work in with water and then dripped ink into it, and then worked with the shapes the ink made as inspiration for what I wanted to draw.
I liked this approach much better, because even though all the sketches were still very rough and a bit messy, I think giving a bigger range of light and dark tones gave the sketches more depth.
The next stage after this was to create a story using the photograph and the 40 sketches as a starting point. The idea was to draw out a series of images that happened a certain amount of time before/after the original photograph. For example 1 minute before/1 minute after. Mine spanned from 5 minutes before, to a year after.
I kept drawing this avenue of trees that was in the background of the original photograph when I was doing the sketches, I think because i generally prefer drawing organic things rather then man made stuff. I wanted to give the images a very cold feel. I stuck to using one particular shade of blue for the majority of these images. In this image I imagined the girl to be walking home from somewhere, like work or something and shes tired and its cold and dark and she’s probably not paying much attention, just walking home on autopilot. I had trouble drawing feet properly in this image so I decided to leave it in the end and just gave her points at the end of her legs.
What really annoys me about how I did this first image is that I did it on A4 because that seemed like a good idea at the time, and then when I went to do the rest of the story I ended up doing them on A3 because I wanted more panels on the same page and that gave me more room to work with so now the set of images really doesn’t flow together like I wish it would.
Here, the girl goes to cross the road, and she doesn’t see that there’s a car coming until its literally right in front of her, and she gets hit. I feel like it wasn’t completely her fault for not completely paying attention, because maybe the car suddenly came around the corner, and it was going way faster then it should have done because the driver was in a rush to get home and it didn’t see her until the last second because its dark.
It was fun trying to paint her as ghost, like making her slightly transparent.
After this page I had wanted to do a series of smaller images showing her adventures as a ghost, but I was running out of time I think, so I ended up not doing that. I think it would have given a better sense of home much time had passed between her dying and the final images in this set.
In this page, I wanted it to be a year after the incident, and the driver of the car that hit her comes back to where she was hit, as a sort of remembrance thing. She’s there with him, but she’s not angry or anything, I think she’s okay. Maybe she has ghosts friends and she’s happy with her life now.
I had quite a few different ideas for what I wanted to do for this, like because of the very watery way I had been painting all the sketches, I wanted to do a story that focused on it raining, like endlessly, until the whole world was flooded and it would have eventually ended up as something to do with mermaids. I scrapped that idea after the story I had for it kept getting longer and longer and I would have had enough time to do it properly, so I’m saving that idea for another day. I ended up with a lot of images where it was raining, and I kept focusing on the lamp posts for some reason.
I really enjoyed doing this, like projects where I can essentially make up the story I want to illustrate are always really fun. While I did like working with inks in the way I did, I want to refine the way I illustrate backgrounds a bit, to make them a bit more coherent. I enjoy working quite freely and expressively but sometimes I can’t work out whether that’s just me being lazy or not, so I’m going to work on that in future projects.