You may or may not know that I make art pieces inspired by those who have inspired me. Since I was a kid, one of my favorite formats of work is the portrait. There is something about portraying a person in your own unique way that is of great interest to me. I have moved through phases of being an artist who was trying to portray realistic images, only to have them look rather cartoony instead. Then after a point where I got better at my craft, my attempts at realistic drawings actually looked real! Now, I am at a point where I try to push things beyond that. For me, the fun part of being an artist is that you can do whatever you want; think of the term “poetic license” for example, or in this case, I guess it would be an “artistic license.” It’s when you deliberately deviate from the norm for the purpose of having a certain desired effect. So these days, when I draw people or images, they tend to be more stylized, playful, or caricature-like. A lot of it is really experimentation betweens tools and techniques.
This piece is an example of that. Recently, I was surveying some of my work, and I took notice that I tend to overwhelmingly draw more men than women. I really cannot explain this phenomenon, because I definitely have many many many “sheroes.” Thus, I made it a point to focus my next creative piece on a woman. My chosen subject this time, is the incomparable Earth Kitt. You may know her as catwoman from Batman in the 1960s. Either way, if you don’t know her, she is definitely one to learn about. She was a singer, performer, entertainer, activists, and more. Kitt was known to be outspoken, and was blacklisted in the U.S. after attending a white house luncheon and honestly speaking her mind on the topic of the effects of war on young people in America. She would later find herself out of work for speaking out and simply refusing to ignore important issues. She later went to Europe and had continued success, and would eventually return to the U.S to have later success again as an actress.
This piece was started with a rough sketch in done directly in photoshop using a photo as a reference. I took that sketch to Illustrator to work on my inking skills with my Wacom tablet, which resulted in a fully inked vector line drawing. From there I added color in Illustrator. Then I brought it back to Photoshop and played with the color (which ended up being totally different from the original colors) and added some type and texture. If you know me, you know I’m not a huge fan of the color pink, but I love it here. It just seems appropriate for the subject and the context in which I created it. It also seems that I have come full circle in my cycle of artistic phases coming back to the cartoon-like style that is the result of this piece. Feel free to comment and let me know what you think.