I was recently watching an episode of The Avengers on Netflix. In this episode, high ranking members of the English military were given a child’s ball which had a hallucinogenic effect on them. The sets of the playroom they saw while under the influence were graphic and colorful. I used to watch The Avengers with my dad, and clearly, when looking at my work, I can see the influence of colors from tv shows such as this and Batman, as well as others (Laugh In, anyone?).
But one of the most obvious influences on my choice of colors and occasional fantastic imagery is the wonderful Peter Max. His bold colorful images and detail filled work made my heart sing. Imagine my surprise when I read in the 10th Anniversary issue of Veg News that he had been approached to create the Yellow Submarine film, but had turned it down. The director hired another artist to work in Mr. Max’s style. That explained so much about that movie.
I went searching for images to share with you and found this wonderful cake , inspired by the movie. I think I know what I’m making for my birthday in April ;)
And now, some Yellow Submarine inspired artwork, from my work in a Moleskine Cahier notebook:
Pen and ink.
Collage from an old AAA travel guide, india ink, rubber stamp, acrylic and gouache.
View out the submarine’s porthole.
I decided to colorize this one. I used Inktense pencils by Derwent.
Here you can see the detail of the pencil lines from the coloring. I used to hate those, I wanted the image as smooth as possible, but as I’ve grown as an artist I can see the value in letting the process be seen in the lines. If I did want this image more smooth, I could take a wet watercolor brush into it and dissolve the colors. I may try that with a future iteration of this piece, drawn with a waterproof pen. (I used a Pilot V7 on this one, and they most definitely aren’t waterproof).
Then I imagined the submarine and the views from it as a necklace, with a sea urchin as a background.
Most of the time I freehand the drawings, but for this one I used a light pencil sketch first. You can see the faint lines if you look closely. If I were doing this for reproduction, I would use a non-photo blue pencil next time.
These are what I imagine the really deep sea submarines would look like. Or perhaps the fish have evolved to take on some of the characteristics of the submarines they see daily.
I had a lot of fun with the scales on this one. :)
What inspires you? Are there images or colors you can trace directly to an outside influence? Or is your inspiration more subtle? It’s always interesting to hear how other artists get their ideas. How do you work? Feel free to download the free worksheet from the sidebar and go wild!