Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Painting Inside The Box

As an illustrator the demands of the commercial art client usually fall within a very strict format. Although art directors request originality and creativity, this request is usually couched within fairly rigid guidelines. The format of the illustration, placement of text and graphics, placement of gutters, as well as the demands of the art description combined with style guides and brand aesthetic, not to mention the personal taste of the art director, all challenge the artist to work within a fairly standardized creative box. Its what you do within this box that makes the difference.
So, where does personal expression and artistic individuality allow itself to be explored then? As an artist who was trained in the modernist school, I find my greatest creativity in composing abstract forms. Making interesting designs is one of the most expressive parts of my painting process, and never more than when I'm allowed to work outside the traditional rectangle of illustration. Below Ive included a few examples of my own where I was given a very demanding format in which to compose. Nothing helps me keep my creative juices flowing better than simply changing the shape of the box. It forces you to go back to abstract basics and just concentrate on composing forms. Try it yourself, and see what you come up with.

Be Well.


at top:
"Race to Minas Tirith"
20"x48" oil on panel
©2011 William O'Connor

©2007 Wizards of the Coast

"Flight over Candlekeep"
©2008 Wizards of the Coast

"Winter Elves"
©2009 William O'Connor

©2010 Wizards of the Coast

©2011 William O'Connor Studios

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