Case Study: Travelogue av Max Estes
I dag har vi vært så heldige at vi får vise Max Estes sitt prosjekt Travelogue som tidligere i år endte opp som en utstilling på Deichmanske bibliotek i Oslo. Max er en amerikaner som har forvillet seg til lille Norge, nærmere bestemt Oslo. Her jobber han fulltid som illustratør hovedsakelig med barnebøker for Cappelen Damm. I denne artikkelen gir han oss en liten innsikt i hvordan han jobber og hva som inspirerer han.
Hi Max and thanks for showing us your project. First off could you tell us a bit about yourself?
Hello! I’m an American illustrator and children’s author based in Oslo. In 2009 I found myself living in Norway, having just married a Norwegian gal. I love it here. Norway’s a great country to land in if you’re an illustrator, designer etc. – it’s a small country with a fabulously talented cache of creative folk. I’m a complete convert. Relocating to this side of the puddle really shook things up for me creatively speaking. …Maybe it’s all the boller and brunost.
How did the Travelogue project come together?
I’m big on traveling. I’ll travel to any destination you point me in with very few exceptions. And, as an illustrator who’s process always seems to start with color, I’m immediately drawn to destinations with distinct color palettes. A region’s color palette seems to say as much about a place as the people. … If not more. When I first moved to Oslo I immediately took to the vibrant Scandinavian color palette. The traditional colors were so bright and saturated for a region often cut off from the sun. … No doubt there’s a link here. And, In a country renowned for it’s reserved folk, the colorfully painted cabins, houses and rows of apartment buildings often “speak” far louder.
For the Travelogue series, I wanted to create portraits of place where regional color palettes were as evident as regional architecture and topography.
For the Travelogue series, I wanted to create portraits of place where regional color palettes were as evident as regional architecture and topography. The Majorelle Gardens in Marrakech punch you in the face with deep blues, purples and a million shades of green. … The streets of Firenze contain a dizzying array of orange, pink and granite. These colors stayed with me after I departed for home.
I can see you really like working with color palettes. The colors are really great. How did you start the drawing process?
My drawing process is very reliant on trial and error. My compositional sketches are often little more than chicken scratch, a few bare lines to establish weight, balance and emphasis. I try to let the composition “build itself” to some regard. For this series, I loosely worked from snapshots taken from my travels. I also referenced images online if ever I was missing a key vantage point etc. The final compositions are an amalgamation of my snapshots, web references, memory and imagination. I walk a lot when I travel, so these portraits are primarily pedestrian in vantage point.
My drawing process is very reliant on trial and error. My compositional sketches are often little more than chicken scratch, a few bare lines to establish weight, balance and emphasis.
Once I have the composition established in my head (and scribbled on a sticky note or the like), I head to Illustrator to piece together the final. For this series, heavy on architecture and odd perspectives and shadows, I created separate layers for the background, the middle ground and the foreground. In some cases individual buildings had their own layer if I needed to group many elements and shadows together. Once all of the primary elements were placed, I set about balancing the page- diverging from my reference photos if it served the composition. The last elements added were shadows and the titles. I love drawing cityscapes because of the endless possibilities concerning shade and shadow. … All the more opportunities to introduce more color.
Drawing vector illustrations can sometimes take forever. How much time did you usually spend on each illustration?
I spent anywhere from two to four days on each poster. Though, I think they look far more complex than they really are. Each poster can be broken down into three or four planes. The Amsterdam poster really only has two planes.
I’d first break each poster down into background, middle ground and foreground. I did make loose sketches, but I tend prefer to design as I go, find the balance as I’m working. I think that’s more exciting.
Working with the reference material to render the buildings and landmarks accurately took a fair amount of time. I think what took me the most time was adding all of the shading to window cills, balconies, shadows cast from other buildings, landmarks etc. I had a lot of fun designing all of the spaces in-between the buildings and landmarks. Those are details I don’t think you can plan ahead or define in a sketch, they just have to happen.
Thanks to Max Estes for showing us and telling about his project Travelogue. You can see more of his work from his website.
Stig Bratvold jobber som digital designer hos Uniform i Oslo. Han har en bachelor i kommunikasjonsdesign fra RMIT University i Australia. Hovedfokuset hans er digital design men han har blant annet jobbet som lærer ved KiR, og har vært med å starte Spetakkel. Du kan sjekke ut portfolien hans på behance.com eller følge han på Twitter