Back to School – Part 7 – Jewels

Posted by on Aug 28, 2014 in Illustration, S'Wicked Blog

For those of you following along with my journey through the MIID Summer School, you can view galleries of everyone’s work for all three “round 2” briefs, here.

Now, on to the third and final round of briefs, starting with the Beginner Track’s theme of “Jewels.”

I started off, as usual, by creating a Pinterest board for inspiration.

After I’d collected a bunch of images for inspiration, I started sketching. I knew I wanted to celebrate gems in a more raw form, so I started sketching crystal clusters, which have always appealed to me with their faceted surfaces and geometric sensibility. I threw in some cut-gem sketches, too, and found I liked the juxtaposition of the raw and the cut stones.

Sketching for the Beginner Track, Brief 3 theme of "Jewels" by Jessica Southwick

Sketching for the Beginner Track, Brief 3 theme of “Jewels”

For the first time in the summer school program, I decided to work with my own palette, instead of the optional palette provided by the folks at MIID. Here’s why: I knew I wanted to bring a hand-drawn element into this pattern. I felt I’d been relying too heavily on digital tools over the past two rounds of briefs, and my designs ended up feeling a little flat to me.

Recently, I was fortunate enough to be able to acquire some Copic Sketch Markers, and oh! how I love them. I knew I wanted to use them to create the luminosity and iridescence often found in jewels, gems, and crystals. Given that, and the fact that it’s much easier for me—just starting to figure out how to use these markers—to create that effect using lighter colors, I went with a bright sort of pastel palette, with a few darker shades thrown in for good measure. Here’s what I came up with:

Color wash for Jewels brief by Jessica Southwick

Color wash for Jewels brief

Once I had my color down, I scanned it in, and saved it as a digital file. Then, I got down to the nitty-gritty of creating a digital pattern. Again, I knew I wanted to play up the raw-form gems, so I made my primary elements the cut crystals, and used my color wash within those forms to convey the variety and beauty of natural minerals.

The pattern needed more, though, so I included some simple, subtle line drawings of cut stones to further highlight the raw crystal forms. Even then, I felt the whole thing was crying out for just a little extra “something” to tie it all together. As it was, it felt a little as if all the elements were randomly floating through a field of white, which made it feel a bit disjointed. So, I added a simple, irregular dot background to give one more layer of depth of field.

And, this is what I ended up with, and submitted:

Beginner Track, Brief 3, Final "Jewels" pattern by Jessica Southwick

Beginner Track, Brief 3, Final “Jewels” pattern

Later today, I’ll start work on the final Intermediate Track brief. Here’s a hint: I think you’ll be tickled by it. So, stay tuned for more….