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By Von Glitschka / Illustrator & Designer
Edition compiled and edited by AxleDust
Over the past several years the line of demarcation between illustration and fine art has been forever changed. Historically speaking illustration has always been viewed by the fine art snobs as a lesser form of artwork. This has to do with the commercial aspects of being an illustrator rather then merely creating art for art sake. Norman Rockwell had to deal with this type of elitism when he was a successful commercial illustrator. Much of the problem however has nothing to do with the art itself but rather it's individuals who tend to be jealous of others success and their failure to market themselves in a commercial sense. If an illustrator can be successful in both arenas it makes art snobs feel threatened so the best defense is to talk down illustration as if it cannot apply to the fine arts market. This has all changed now. An illustrator working digitally can repurpose their art easily to adapt to a fine art context. This tutorial will show you how I took my art and created some very nice fine art pieces for a gallery showing and for hanging in my home.
Digital Fine Art Illustration / Total Time: Approx. 4 hrs (Not including dry time etc.)
Final Art File Specs - RGB Jpeg or Tiff - Size: 8x8 Inches - Resolution: 300 dpi - Burn file onto CD for vendor Budget Break down - Large Format Print Out & Framing: Approx. $200 (48x48 Inches) - Custom Gallery Framing: Approx. $120 - Acrylic Gel and Sealer: Approx. $50 - 1 Package of Hercules Hooks: $9.95 Total production cost: Approx. $400 Mark up and sales price: $900 (Limited run of 30/30)
01_Final_Vector_Art, The digital art I am going to use for this fine art piece is one called "Temporal Infestation." I documented the creation of this art in another tutorial which you can download here: http://snipurl.com/2ghk2 I won't be going through how I created this art but I will cover the texturing part of it because that adds a rich depth of organic flair to your final piece and really improves the final product. It helps to move the art further away from being vector and more towards a hand done look of sorts. It also gives the art more character too.
The texture I'll be using is one called "Industrial Scar Tissue" it comes from my texture book "Crumble. Crackle. Burn" and you can see more about that and download a free set of sample textures at: http://snipurl.com/2ghnr
02_Industrial_Scar_Tissue, I took my vector art into Photoshop then experimented with various levels and blend modes to achieve the desired look I wanted. The other tutorial goes into this in more 4
detail BTW. Once my art is texturized I am ready to begin.
Once I have my art ready to go I just port it out based on the final art specs listed above and provide it to the print vendor on CD. I chose to run it out on a nice matte finish canvas substrate and allowed for an inch wide wrap around so the canvas could be stretched onto a wooden frame once it was printed out. Not all printers offer this but the one I use did and it was cheaper then taking my canvas to the frame shop and having them do it. I may be specifically wrong but I think this large format printer is an Epson Stylus Pro 9880? If not it's in the same line of printers. Either way it's not important for you the artist, just find a good large format service in your area and ask to see samples before you commit.
11_Spray_Clear_Coat2 When I first did this, I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the print out. I didn't realize they could get so precise and to see the final product and the nice canvas texturing showing through was awesome. The final canvas print had a nice continuous tone to it and the colors were spot on too. This shows the back of the print out and how it was stapled to a wooden frame. The print vendor as part of their service seals the final print out to prevent the ink colors from fading due to UV light. But to be safe I like to do my own coat of sealing on the artwork as well. I use an archival quality clear coat sealer. This will ensure the colors stay vibrant and will not fade over time. Fading is more of risk when displayed in an out door environment so in doors it shouldn't be a problem at all. Warning: Make sure to do this in a well ventilated room, and don't bring inside until the 13
sealer is completely dry either. Otherwise you'll get a bit loopy from the fumes which happened to me. I did my spraying in our garage on top of an old cardboard box I flattened out to avoid staining the floor.
17_Gel_Dries_Clear2 The only clear downside of creating fine art digitally is the lack of the painted surface texture from brush strokes when painting. The next few steps will show you how to add this to your art and get a nice authentic painted surface texture going. I use a product called Golden Gel Medium. Think of it as regular acrylic paint without any pigment in it. I like to use semi-gloss so as to avoid the glare you run into when you use high-gloss. The medium paints on white and you want to apply it liberally and don't think too much when you start pushing it around with the brush. It's OK to be a little sloppy and allow areas to clump up because that is what will give the final product it's authentic character. The acrylic gel dries clear and what you're left with is a natural looking painted surface texture to your artwork.
19_Another_Painting2 This shows another piece of artwork I had run out and how I painted the same acrylic gel on it as well to create my painted surface texture. After painting the first one in my studio my wife suggested I do that in the garage as well so as to avoid getting acrylic gel all over our wood floor. Oops.
My daughter Savannah holds the final with all the sealing and hand painted surface texture finished.
24_Frame_Backing I take the art to a local frame shop and start exploring possible frame choices for it. I end up selecting a nice minimal black frame which really makes the artwork come alive now. The frame shop gallery set the back of the art for me which makes for a nice clean presentation and protects the back side of the print out as well. It's now ready to hang!
One of the biggest inspirations for me in my own creative growth has been the work of Jim Flora a 1950's art director for RCA records. I loved his art when I was kid and my parents owned the LP's and I collect the LP cover art now. This shows three of my favorites in my collection and you can see how his work influenced my own style and approach. If you'd like to see more of Jim Floras art you can view it here: http://snipurl.com/2gji9
26_Hercule_Hooks OK I admit it I am a sucker for infomercials. I remember years ago seeing the "Juiceman Juicer" late one night and I ordered it. I think I only used that thing two times. My wife wasn't happy about that purchase. LOL Well the master pitch man Billy Mays suckered me in again and I ordered a package of "Hercules Hooks" and I have to say they work great and make hanging stuff easy. And
that is what I used to hang all the art seen in this tutorial.
27_Hanging_In_My_Studio This are is now hanging in two locations. Shown is the one hanging in my own art studio next to more art from my Jim Flora collection. The other copy is hanging in a local art gallery then once that ends it'll be shipped to my buddy in Phoenix to permanently hang in his design firm meeting room.
Descriptions for each of the three additional samples shown are below Other Art 1: I created this art originally for a Microsoft project. I retained the rights and used it for a gallery showing locally. Other Art 2: This was an illustration I did for my texture book. It also appeared in Communication Arts Illustration Annual, Society of Illustrators NY Book and Gallery Showing, American Illustration Book and several other awards. I was inspired by an Animal Planet episode on owls. Other Art 3: This was more art I created for the gallery showing locally. FYI: The textures used in all four pieces of artwork come from my book "Crumble. Crackle. Burn" and you can see more about that and download a free set of sample textures at: http://snipurl.com/2ghnr I hope this encourages you to pursue creating fine art from your illustration. It's about time we put the art snobs in their place and show the world that illustration is just as artsy as anything else you find in a gallery. Go forth and create! Note: These tutorials are meant to help you discover, enhance and facilitate your own creative growth and skills. So don't feel obligated to take my comments or examples as gospel. Use them as spring boards to explore, experiment and have fun developing your own creative process. That is how you'll benefit most from these downloads.