Wednesday, 11 April 2007

The joys of a non-digital approach

Lately, I've been storyboarding ideas and generating concept visuals at an ad agency. Working mostly with markers and pen on paper, it's been really refreshing to get away from the computer screen.

Don't get me wrong - there are of course many benefits to working digitally (ctrl-z being the most crucial) but sometimes the infinite options available with Photoshop makes it hard to remain disciplined enough to commit to a single idea. Working to make that concept as strong as possible becomes secondary to creating variations and multiple spin-offs, which are so quick to churn out in a digital workflow.

So the stuff I've been doing lately has been 85% markers on paper. The rest is really just scanning, some cleanup and maybe one or two variations - like an alternative colour scheme, or re-ordering the frames in a storyboard. Nothing major.

I'll post examples once I'm allowed to (i.e. after the project is live and had it's run), so the above serves as a bit of a convoluted back-story to a doodling side-effect that occurred on my lunch break. With my layout pad, pens and markers all over my desk I couldn't help but start doodling while I ate and a few minutes later I ended up with this:


Now, there's nothing particularly special about it, a bit flat really, just a bit of fun with colour and not much thought behind it. Just a doodle. But when I lifted the page off, this is what the sheet beneath it looked like:

Toad Face (imprint)

I would never have got anything like this in the digital world, it's purely the result of a non-digital process. Marker ink on 50gsm layout paper leaving an imprint. Less detail, but surprisingly, the shapes have much more life to them. The side-effect of a throw-away doodle suddenly reminded me of the importance of negative space, contrasting masses in design, clarity in pose and a glimpse into an illustration style for me to explore. I mean, as drawings I know which one I prefer out of the two.

It even spawned a bunch of ideas for a short that I excitedly scribbled down in a notepad....but more on that later!

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