Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Illustrator Nick Dewar

I have been corresponding with Nick Dewar he was quite happy to answer questions so long as they were not ones on his website. Most of what I wanted to ask is there, they are worth reading http://www.nickdewar.com/
I like his sense of humour as well as his illustrations.

This is an interesting question and answer, it makes you realise how quick you need to turn your ideas into illustrations.
Q: "What is your creative process, how do you create an illustration?"
Q: "How close are your final sketches to the final artwork?"
A: I thought the best way to answer these two questions is by showing you how I work. I took a random week and followed two jobs that I had on at that time from first contact to final artwork. One job is an editorial piece the second is an advertising job.
The first Job was done for the New York Times book review. Just to confuse matters the art director who commissioned me is the venerable Nicholas Blechmen. I have labeled our discourse as between Nick One and Nick Two. I should add that not only is Nick One a real gent and a talented artist in his own right, this is a textbook example of good art direction.
Nick One contacted me on Monday afternoon to ask if I would have time to do a small illustration. It would accompany the review of a book written about "the economy of sushi". I replied straight away and told him that I could do it. He sent through the article, the size, the fee, the due date and told me to have fun!

First thing Tuesday morning I read through the article once to get a feel for the piece and the tone of the writing. Then I sat down and reread the article more closely identifying the parts that already suggest imagery and identifying the articles most important point: that eating sushi is a "key indicator of modernization, a signifier of participation in the globalised economy".
Sometimes if I am stuck with a particularly dense or complicated piece of text I will try and boil the article down to a single word or phrase and illustrate that. Here are the ideas that I came up with...Roll over the images on the right to see larger versions of the sketches supplied to the client.
Nick One wrote back a very encouraging email:
"These all look great.
My favorites are:
Segments of globe as sashimi
Slice of sea on sushi block
World as tuna roll
(And I also kind of like fish skeleton as yen)
Which do you prefer?"
I sat down and looked over the ideas again and tried to evaluate them a little more objectively. Here is my reply:
"I like the globe sashimi, because it succinctly sums up the main idea behind the book. The world as a tuna roll I like for the same reason, but it is either a little more direct and or a bit too obvious (depending on your point of view). The trawler would be fun to draw but is a bit surreal and perhaps not readily apparent what the link to the story will be to a casual viewer (I don't know if this is an important point or not). The yen might be a stretch to make it look good as you have to squeeze a yen sign into a skeleton shape, also as I write this it occurs to me that it may be misinterpreted that the book is about the demise of the Japanese economy. I think the globe sashimi wins out? Let me know your thoughts."
His reply:
"Agreed, the sashimi is perfect.Look forward to the finish.Thanks."
I sent the sketch over to Nick One first thing Wednesday morning, asking if he had any colour preferences. He wrote back that he had no preferences on the colour but to bear in mind that their presses cannot hold more than a 250% combination of inks (in other words, no area should be so dark that the combination of cyan, magenta, yellow an black is above 250%). He also said that the sketch was looking good.
Now all I had to do is sit down and produce a more final sketch. I wanted to make the sushi resemble a Homolosine globe because it made more sense to me that if a globe were spread it out as sushi, it would look more like a Homolosine globe than an orange segment shaped globe. So I had to go away and find a good reference for that. Also I needed to get sushi references to make sure I got the Toro right.
The one artistic license is the band of seaweed wrapped around the sushi. You don’t usually do this with Tuna, but it worked so well as an equator line and it really helped identify the objects as sushi that I included it.

Now that I had his approval on the final rough I was free to go to final.I managed to get the art over to Nick One by Wednesday evening.