Why Illustration still matters in the creative process… and in our lives

Drawing can really be a challenge sometimes.
Creativity strikes you everywhere, it is often very vague, strange like a painting covered with dust that we are not allowed to touch.

I like to let ideas come to me and put them on paper. So I can reorganize at my convenience the scenario unfolding in front of me.
I’m talking about scenario because, before touching pencils or opening drawing software, you have a story to tell! I always thought that creativity happen without you forcing/pushing it. When there’s force involved it’s counter productive.

For example, let’s work on this case study: crafting an ad for Toastmasters.
Toastmasters is a non profit organization that help individuals hone their skills in public speaking.
Goal: how to tell a story about the fear that every speaker get on stage ?

Problem: Serious topic, speaking is hard. It has been said that some people fear public speaking more than death-they obviously forgot about the taxes-. Corporate advertising always go with cliché like: people in an office, shaking hands, surrounded by more people sitting, waving, and smiling (Have you noticed? Everyone in the room is smiling) . Photography have boundaries. I don’t see people smile so warmly when they are about to hit the stage, it’s really quite the opposite!

Solution: A clown in a suit is still a clown, and that’s also true in the cartoon world. To break this corporate image of people in offices smiling and laughing, I take the opposite route, I choose to illustrate a facial expression that will point the real discomfort out.

Inspiration : At this very point, Disney comes down from Heaven to help us. In all Disney animations, the facial expressions -and how they are executed in such an elegant, simple way- always leave you speechless : it’s beautiful!

Where to find inspiration? Looney Toons, Comics , or your favorite shows, anything goes! One of my favorite shows -the greatest ever- is the Cosby Show. Watching Bill Cosby is witnessing the master in motion. He doesn’t give you a break, he always got you rolling.

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Bill, you are the greatest!! But have you heard about Calvin (the hero of the famous comics: Calvin & Hobbes)?  Another great choice. Watch him go:

calvin_hobbes

He’s awesome, isn’t he ? Again, if you read Calvin & Hobbes you’ll crack a laugh on the same page for hours.

Tools of the trade: Adobe Illustrator (vectors everywhere). BUT, I always suggest to start with sketchbook, pencil, scanner, ERASER!

Let’s go! I love blue -matter fact, many people like blue- it’s a soothing/stress free color.
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Now the suit: you draw it, scan it, and import it in Illustrator (building shapes with the Pen Tool). Remember, the design should be simple do not give too much thoughts on the details.

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Let’s not do a remake of Sleepy Hollow or Beetle Juice, ok? We’ll add the head to the suit

30-09-2013 00-09-27.A head, a neck, and a suit. Let’s move on.

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Why so seriousWhat are you hiding behind your back?
Mr Storyteller, you’re supposed to be on stage, there should be a microphone, lights… do not forget, you ARE the center of attention!

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That’s better! Wait a minute, a hole? What for?

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Ok I see, 

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Now copy time!

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That’s it!


I’ve found this on Tyrese’s instagram (the R&B singer), he ended it with a vibrant “Damn I miss you”

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I’ve used many sources of inspiration (comics, cartoons, shows..) it’s all childhood memories. The same memories that resonate in all of us.
Creativity should not be a sad process. It’s about love and passion, something that we miss so much we want to/have to get it out.
I think every artist must first create from their experiences (and when it comes from childhood it’s even better), we do not try to reinvent the wheel (it’s time waisting), it is just appropriate to grab snippets of what exists and add a personal touch.

What do you think about the use of illustration in visual marketing? How it can help businesses succeed?

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