Thursday, 4 February 2010


This image proved a challenge. Exploring the origin of ideas and which ones stand out as having greater potential over others. Started with the barest glimmer of a sketch as a very loose framework - all in the sprit of the subject being explored. After digging around for some appropriate reference I started to render my own version of an old NGK spark plug in quite tight detail but also exaggerating and simplifying elements as needed - hence the obvious choice of Adobe Illustrator for this as it offers an immediacy and directness I sometimes find lacking in photoshop, brilliant though it is.

Originally there were six versions of the image, narrowing down to these three 'finished' pieces. Two exploring the human link by using a figure base, as per the original sketch; the third taking it into another direction by putting the plug in a landscape with other 'dead' ideas. Taking it over into photoshop allowed some of the painted textures to be added and integrated with the plug. A similar green / brown pallet was used throughout. In the end I re-work the winged version, altering the tonal balance to make it a little warmer. A digital glaze perhaps? This is probably the most successful of the three, but I kind of like the slight ambiguity of the other two.

When working in this way its good not to have all the answers. Taking risks as I went along meant the old cliche of the 'happy' accident comes into play and allows for unexpected results. The unfortunate point being that you have to work through all of the poor variations to move forward. Just like when generating ideas, some creative happy accidents are worth embracing and can be used in future images, others go to the creative graveyard and become the ghosts failures past!

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