Illustration: Gypsy Circus

This illustration is based on an ongoing theme of mine: circus. The circus, as well as the gypsy has always been a source of wonder for me, as a subject and as a metaphor. The costumes and the characters, the magic, the nomad lifestyle...

The artwork for this illustration went through several cycles of experimentation and alterations before arriving at the point of the final image. This raises the question of when to stop on an illustration? How much is too much, or when is it not enough? The answer is never certain but I find my best work comes when I throw everything I have at the work, cheat, lie and bluff.

I'm reminded of Rembrandt, saying the artwork is finished when the artist says it is, in light of criticisms from contemporaries of his paintings being "unfinished". But when does the artist know when to stop? My philosophy is when you can't do anything more.

Gypsy Circus
Graphite with Digital Color (Painter and Photoshop), x cm @dpi

This is an alternative state of the illustration, very different from the finished illustration above. With this one I had a broad range of marks and strong colour contrasts. I was really inspired by "Mulholland Drive" and "A Bigger Grand Canyon" by David Hockney in these respects.

However, I wasn't getting the atmosphere I was after. Everything was too unfocused until I simplified my colour scheme to a basic red vs green, inspired by the unreal colours of Tomer Hanuka, as well as James Jean.

The original pencil drawing, which I later inked over digitally using Corel Painter:

A background drawing which I drew sepearetly and layered in Photoshop in the background. This background was a decision I made halfway through the process. Like the pencils, I inked it digitally.

{This illustration can be viewed on the Robobop website here}