My history with graphic design has been long, if not exactly illustrious. I took my first official graphic design class in my sophomore year of high school at Clearfield High, and I absolutely loved it. The projects were interesting and engaging, and the teacher was knowledgeable and skilled. And then my dad got hired at Amazon. I was cruelly ripped from Clearfield High and dumped into Henry M. Jackson High School, where I took a grand total of two more graphic design classes and basically taught myself how to use Rhino and Adobe Illustrator. At the time, I wasn’t comfortable using the Pen tool, and the Curvature tool did not yet exist. So I used the Paint tool, outlined the stroke to create lineart, and then colored in the drawings on another layer.
This was one of my final projects for my Graphic Design 3 class, where we were asked to create portfolio pieces. I made this project using the aforementioned Paint Tool method during my junior year of high school, and my teacher shot it down after I presented it with no background. I grudgingly created a background and turned it in, and used it as an example of my work for years.
It is now my junior year of college, and I have to take an Intro to Graphic Design class as a requirement for my Web Design and Development BS. In an attempt to review my tips and tricks I use in Illustrator, I decided to revamp this particular illustration, and actually illustrate it using the skills I learned in my Vector Graphics class, as well as a few hints I picked up from my Intro to Graphic Design teacher.
I began by patterning Marie after a template I had been building for another character. The dress required quite a few edits to match the 1700’s historical style, rather than the 1890’s dress I had been using. But once I had the basic silhouette down, I was able to start creating the patterns for the lace, the jewelry, and the signature hairstyle.
The next step was to recreate the background. I wanted something subtle and simple that would let Marie stand out, so I tried to get the basic shapes down without worrying about the final color palette.
At this point, I had most of the large details finished. I still needed to fix her arms, as well as add more of the intricate details to finish off the dress. I was still using the bright palette, but after a lecture from my Intro to Graphic Design teacher on my tendency to use what he referred to as “nightclub colors”, I decided to tone it down.
The final draft uses muted colors and soft blues to portray the decadence of the Rococo era. If this was strictly historically accurate instead of stylized, the dress would be overloaded with ruffles, jewels, ribbons, and other decorative embellishments. Her hair would be piled high with feathers and jewels, and in some cases, birds or ships! But as a revamped illustration, I’m pleased with how far I’ve come and how far I will continue to go. Thanks again for following this blog and supporting my artistic journey!