Learning Activites

Week 28 – Analysing the Use of Design Fundamentals

Choose any one of the illustrations from the lesson “Design Drawing” and answer the following questions (when submitting your feedback – also provide the illustration you chose):

My artwork of choice from this lesson is the following piece by Cyril Rolando.

1. What fundamentals are used successfully? Describe in detail what you think is the most successful aspect of the illustration (remember to focus on the fundamentals.)

Colour, lines and layout are by far the fundamentals I believe to be used the most effectively in this artwork. If I am to comment on the most successful aspect of the illustration, I would say the use of contrasts. The goldfish are standing out by their bright orange, a complementary colour to the overall blue tones of the picture itself.

2. What style from the past is being used in a new way in this illustration? If no previous style is clearly apparent, does it use some form of pastiche? Why do you think this specific style or pastiche was used? Describe in detail whether you think it was used successfully or not.

I don’t think the artist draws upon one specific style from the past, to be honest. The style is somewhat realistic, there is a great attention to detail, the lines are soft, and the colours dull overall with the exception of the goldfish, so it may be connected a bit to realism, but then again, the overall feel of the artwork is dreamy and liquid, albeit conveying a heavy sense of being 10 feet under. And neither do I believe this to be a form of pastiche, as it seems from the artist’s platform these are all original works.

Despite the lack of a clear inspirational source, I do believe the artist’s style to be successful. Adding blue and “sad” tones to the artwork expressing negative emotions, specifically what I believe to be tiredness, stress, and the feeling of being overworked with no end in sight. The bright goldfish however, adds a nice touch. Maybe these are thoughts or dreams of the girl “sleeping” our of exhaustion? Personally I believe these small, bright fish create such a contrast and make us think about what the artwork is really about.

3. Read again what Mondrian said about the expression of beauty or self. Which do you think played the dominant role in the execution of this illustration? Explain your thoughts.

My opinion is divided on this, as it depends heavily on how you choose to interpret the illustration. Seeing it as an expression of beauty would be possible in the sense that I believe it to be describing the beauty of dreams and hope when times are rough, but I’d personally think the expression of self is more prevalent in this particular work. It might have been an artist slump, a feeling of being overwhelmed, never-ending work, which most of us can relate to despite the artist perhaps wanting to have an outlet for his own struggles with these feelings.

4. – 7. If you had to create this illustration, before starting the actual execution, what would your initial thoughts be on colour (what would your approach to colour be?), line (what would you like to portray with the use of line?) and composition (what would you wish to instil in the viewer by the use of composition alone?) be?

Honestly speaking, I have yet to have the skills to produce something like this, so it feels a bit weird for me to comment on this. I would definitely, as the original artist seems to have done as well, had gone with dull colours to enhance the overall feeling of the illustration. I would however have chosen a different colour for the goldfish, perhaps pink or purple, to make them more “unrealistic” if they are representing dreams. Or perhaps bright white with yellow undertones if they represent hope or soul.

I too would use soft lines, but perhaps also more blurred lines to further emphasise the feeling of being under-water. The books in the back of the illustration are already blurred out to a certain degree, but I believe a bit more blur would have created a bit more “chaos” in a sense.

Composition-wise I would have tried to make the “main character” of the picture buried under a book instead of sleeping on top of them to emphasise the feeling of being overworked. But I do believe the current illustration conveys this message well as well.

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