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Thread: IOW - Topic Suggestions

  1. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by QueenGwenevere View Post
    Not sure about a series, but it might be a cool challenge to try an occasional book cover. Take a classic book, and try to come up with one image that condenses the gestalt of it into a cover and makes people want to read it...

    (Maybe the brief contains a short synopsis of the book for those who haven't read it.)

    Actually, the first "Dune" book would be a good one for a book cover challenge...

    POW recently did Frankenstein, how about Dracula? Making a really fresh version of that would be tough.
    What about smaller series? Like Brent Weeks
    He did the Night Angel Trilogy and had some rather unique ideas to twist up how the magic and what creatures were there.

    Also loving the idea of a dune rehash.

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    I completely agree with MatejaPetkovic about the deadline and topics. You should keep in mind that in CHOW people were getting character descriptions and still managed to make illustrations out of them so any topic is possible.

    I'll throw in some suggestions for topic themes:

    Book Covers
    Short stories/fairy-tale illustrations
    A scene from a book/story
    A particular myth/legend
    Worded themes e.g: nightmare, guild hunter (even though this is a character the focus would be on the illustrations)
    Long briefs and descriptions - such as the briefs posted by wizard but our own versions http://artorder.ning.com/group/wizar...t-descriptions

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    Quote Originally Posted by MatejaPetkovic View Post
    I think any topic is just fine, like in chows, also i think one week per illustration is more then enough. I think that people need to practice to work faster, think faster and to deliver quality work within 7 days. This way you will make you future client very happy. And if someone gives you two weeks, imagine what you can do with that time

    M
    Fair point, though in CHOW all you really have to do to meet the requirements is one figure, no background or setting... Two weeks would give more scope for more complex multi-figure images, fully developed scenes, etc.

    (I admit that personally I'd prefer two weeks because for me "one week" usually equals "one weekend and a few spare hours" in reality, what with work and all...)

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    Quote Originally Posted by v-lkry View Post
    I actually really like FunnyFace's suggestion of switching up styles a little. It's a self discovery process, in my opinion, to kind of switch gears in terms of technique and design so it opens up new elements and whatnot. Like, paint in the subject of Rococo and take a spin off of there.

    But honestly, this is an illustration of the week, there shouldn't be like a set definition of what to illustrate. Anything can be illustrated, a word, phrase, song (I suggest a song illustration! How does one paint the Blue Rhapsody of my homeboy Gershwin?) and a lot of other things.

    You've got famous things like Christ (death, rebirth, passion, kiss of judas and the list goes on and on) and anything Greco-Roman myth-related (anything with the word Herakles in it)

    I really hope people like song illustration. I was thinking more along the lines of creating a duality between the music and its subject, either by genre (Impressionist music would be like, illustrate with the ideals of Impressionism), or subject matter (like the madrigal, Fair Phyllis, literally illustrate Fair Phyllis (sitting alone on top of the mountainside), or what you get out of the movement (like, what is Dvorak's 9th Symphony (New World Symphony), 4th mvt. about), or even illustrate the scene the music is from (like, illustrate the Flower Duet, which is from the opera, Lakme).
    Different people, different styles. I would just give topic, and every artist will do it in their own style.
    Music suggestion is great, also you can see latest Beauty and Nightmare challenge/thunderdome as well for reference.
    Also The Art Order has great challenges similar, if not same, to this.
    I am looking forward to this.
    Suggestion, maybe it will be cool to contact some well known illustrators, but not as judges, maybe to drop by and to leave few word about important things re illustration.

    M

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    MatejaP' hit on one important point in his first post that I think everyone should keep in mind...

    "Making your client happy."

    Illustration is communication through visual artifact to the general public. I would seriously think about mixing in imagery that is not "heroic scene" driven (for want of a better term). Illustration is a man having coffee, a kid walking a dog, and a nuclear attack on an island nation of 400 people. Everything can use an illustration to attract attention...not just movies, books, etc. Today's news requires an illustration, my medical/legal/social problem requires an illustration. Those who said that illustration is a huge field, or things to that effect, are correct. Make it so, or we won't learn and broaden our horizons.

    POW! will be posting various themes and ideas as well, so that people can make comments or ask for specific things. If you guys find something there that might help you as an illustration challenge, rip it off. It won't bother us...just make sure your peons here do it better than our peons there do if or when we use that same idea...heeheehee...

    Also--as a former "design illustrator" (a term not used much anymore), how open will the approach stylistically be?

    Last edited by Ilaekae; July 8th, 2011 at 06:15 PM.
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    I hope it'll be open to even this kind of interpretation (though it's another matter whether something like this would ever win the poll):

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    Along the same lines of people suggesting music, an audio daily double illo prompt from a radio drama could be fun. They're short enough for people to listen to, and great to listen to while you work, at that. There're different visual cues than for short stories, as there's not a whole lot of visual description for character and staging, and you're going mostly off the voices and sound effects. X Minus One has some awesome old pulpy sci-fi stories, often by really well-known authors. There're also some great noir ones and twilight-zone esque spooky stuff. (Totally weird topic suggestion, I know, but no harm in putting it out there.)

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    I think they're some really good suggestions, both on topics that could be used and the general format / structure. I like the audio suggestions, something I would never have thought of. I also like the different styles / mediums suggestion. Would be great to see some awesome digital artists forced to complete an ink illustration one week!

    My contribution would be an artist themed topic, where one week a particular painting is the subject and has to be reimagined, for example, Alexandre Cabanels the birth of venus but steampunk.

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    Excited to see this new activity!

    Seeing plenty of fun topics already. My suggestion would be to present the challenges as the type of brief a art director would provide. For example a description of a scene with some guidelines as to style or setting. Or add image dimensions when the topic is a book cover (front + back, size) or marketing image.
    I think presenting this as a professional assignment would help as an exercise!

    Looking forward to the first round when it comes up!


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    I'm definitely in favor of varied deadlines. It's nice to have some variety. One IOW can be one week long (to push yourself to finish deadlines in time), and another IOW can be two weeks long (2 weeks = more is expected out of the final piece vs a 1 week IOW)

    Either way, I'm super excited to see this.

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    Great, can't wait for this to start up!

    I'm in favour of doing a mix up of 1 to 2 week challenges, and the idea of getting some professional advice on what art directors are looking for would be super helpful.

    As for briefs i would like to see (as well as what's been mentioned)... short story covers; excerpts from novels; editorial 'spot' illustrations for articles either fiction or factual; album cover art, either inspired by a particular song or the bands ethos/style; childrens book illustration and maybe even doing instructional leaflets but making them creatively interesting so people are more likely to pick them up, say for instance a campaign to increase awareness in recycling?



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    I'd like to see things like:

    - Posters for theater productions
    - Editorial illustrations where you're given the topic of the article or story
    - CD Cover that includes logo and title - possibly as the cover to a single
    - Story illustration where we're given a line to illustrate, possibly with its surrounding paragraph. (Common in Dulac, Rackham, and Parrish illustrations for example.)

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    Varied deadline challenges would be really great I think.

    I'm not sure if it would be too difficult for admin - but if we are having 2 week or even longer challenges then it would be good to sometimes have 2 (or more) running consecutively and/or with overlap so that if someone doesn't want to join one that's going for 3 weeks, there's a shorter challenge running at the same time that they can jump in on.

    Or compete in both!

    This would also be more like 'real life' client work as you will often have to juggle more than one project at a time to completely different briefs.



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    Just an after thought here, theres been some mention about style and different techniques, which are all important for illustration, but something i think is even more important especially for illustration, is composition and layout. If there was some way to introduce some kind of points system into any kind of voting system that encourages good composition, that would be great.

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    Some of the tangents that the challenge can give itself to could be a lot of fun, like trying to do a vintage propaganda poster or classic fantasy illustration , an art nouveau styled image, a pulp comic book cover, B movie promos, etc. And use of graphic design could also be a part of the challenge and a consideration for voting.

    As for another idea, ehem, i think a manga/anime based topic could be hilarious
    Or just one with comic books in general, like creating a cover for a faux first issue on any genre you wish, all with logo and stuff

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    Thanks for the great feedback everyone!

    I'm currently stuck on an island in the north sea, with no internet access (At the moment I'm using my phone, which is expensive as schwoop). I'll be back on the mainland in about two weeks if the gods are kind. In the mean time I'll patch together a ruleset (you can leave some feedback here if you want) and get everything set up. When I get back we'll start this show with a blast!

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    I love the idea of doing something based on music. It would be awesome to have a brief(s?) to create an illustration based on a song or album with some strong imagery or story, like these for example:

    Neutral Milk Hotel - In the Aeroplane Over the Sea


    Mastodon - Blood Mountain


    The Decemberists - The Hazards of Love








    Or to make things really interesting, we could try to illustrate a wordless song...











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    It is so awesome to see a new competition specifically for illustrations!

    As for ideas:

    I also agree with the song illustration idea.

    Also- iconic scenes from (public domain or at least famous) stories?

    Or find writers who want to write short descriptions?

    What about specifying type/format of illustration? Maybe sometimes it's a cover, sometimes border art, chapter heading?

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    mes is offline will draw for food Level 2 Gladiator: Ordinarii
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    I lean towards loose, sometimes very loose, like just an emotion or circumstance and let the imagination do the rest

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    mes is offline will draw for food Level 2 Gladiator: Ordinarii
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    just a suggestion: I hope you all will consider an animation and/or motion graphics challenge of the week or month.

    there are other forums that have challenges but not on a consistent basis from what I can find

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    Well, it might be a bit odd but how about illustrating emotions. Like "person in love" or something to that effect. I think it would be interesting to see what comes out of that. Also, maybe a medical illustration challenge I guess.

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    I agree with switching between broader topics and things that are more specific, and switching of time lengths.

    However, I like to think of CA as a place for us all to practice and hone our skills with the purpose at getting better for our real world business - therefore i think the challenges should reflect that - 1 week deadlines for most (2 weeks given only to epic topics that demand large of amounts of stuff, such as a full scene illustration, not for something like a political piece for a mag), style outlined in the briefs during the 'specific' weeks, and a mixture of content that the broad field of illustrators regularly confront - so imo think topics could range from:

    1. Album Covers

    2. Politics & World Affairs (everything from Obama to Arab Spring - however this one could get people all hot and bothered) - perhaps even dictate the style or the tone of the piece - such as "Topic: 10% Unemployment, Wall Street Journal style, with such and such political bias", that way people are forced to think outside their own personal viewpoints.

    3. Songs as mentioned, but nothing too obscure imo. Perhaps take items from Rolling Stones and Hall of Fames, or the TOP 10 lists or something.

    4. Hot-Topics (such as celebs, movie reviews, fad diets, etc)

    5. Story Excerpts (by far the coolest imo)

    6. Science and Medical Illustrations (cells, anatomy, tectonics, birth of a cloud, viruses - how to illustrate an "H1N1 Apocalypse", or even AIDS, for example?)

    7. Poetry - ranging from William Blake, Robert Frost to V-Day gushiness - stuff you'd see in real magazines, like Cosmo (don't know if they poetry, but you get the drift)

    8. History - way too much awesomeness in there.

    9. myth & folktales - and not just typical European/Tolkien stuff - Mayan, Babylonian, Russian, etc. Perhaps picking entries from Carol Roses' encyclopedias would be good.
    Randomly chosen example from my "Spirits, Faries, Gnomes, and Goblins" by Carol Rose:
    Tcaridyi: In the folk beliefs of the Roman Gypsies, this is a female disease demon. This evil spirit was the result of the union between Ana and the king of the demons after Ana had been fed with crayfish. Tcaridyi become the wife of the demon Tculo. She is described as having the body of a worm covered in hairs. This evil spirit tries to enter the bodies of humans, and when she enters a man, she causes burning fevers. When she enters a woman, she lies in wait until she has the opportunity to cause puerperal fever in childbirth. In order to protect themselves, women would carry a talisman made of crayfish."

    10. Fashion

    11. One final idea - how about content written by our very own artists? Instead of taking an excerpt from someone else's story, how about the winner of last week's contest gets to write a story brief or something like that? Kind of like an additional prize to the winners in a way. But then comes the issue of quality control. :shrugs:

    Last edited by Pat Thompson; July 15th, 2011 at 10:56 AM.

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    I will vote for varied 1-2 weeks and varied descriptions.

    But I must say, I don't see the appeal of some of these ideas at all like the music. That is TOO much based on interpretation. This isn't fine art. You can't illustrate emotions because no one will know what the heck it is except you--not to mention that the song or emotion means something else to them entirely. That is for fine art in my opinion.

    And how will anyone know what to vote for if it is 90% interpretive? Half of the entries will be accused of not following the rules.

    I think a lot of these ideas are going too far. All this really needs to be is a step up from CHOW or COW which basically means it just needs a background and the character shouldn't be standing still for a photo. The idea for IOW came from people in CHOW wanting to tell some story. Lets not go overboard here. My humble opinion. In the end, it will be the mods job to try and appease the majority of us lol...I really wish them luck. I look forward to it in any case.

    One more thing--restricting style is just...not a good idea. We need to be focusing on improving our portfolios and practical skills. Why would I waste time doing ink if I never plan on using it, ever. If people want to branch out, then I encourage them to do so without rules telling them to.



    On the other hand, if I end up skipping one or two IOW because its not my cup of tea, that is certainly fine too. Maybe we all need to compromise some

    Thank you mods!

    EDIT: I like Pat's idea of winner-created briefs as a reward. If the mods are up to it, they can do some quality control of the brief ideas from the winners.

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    What I'm worried about with this competition is that illustration is not something you can judge well. It might end up being only - "Who makes the most realistic immersive scene possible". Ironically from book reader perspective the covers that I found as succesful or even more were usually against that direction. Sometimes even just mix of something ornamental with well thought graphic design (Good example is Ariel9 post with Harry Potter books). To me book cover shouldn't really reveal much detail beacause that might force something on the imagination. It only needs to hint the overall mood of the story while being elegant/simple at the same time. Just few examples:



    I'm not saying it is always the case or those are better type of illustration than others but from what I saw so far on CA, both competition topics and overall trends force very narrow range of styles.

    Last edited by Farvus; July 15th, 2011 at 10:02 PM.
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    Good points and suggestions presented by all, this looks promising. Some suggestions from me:

    Mythology month: everything mythological for 4 weeks, from Medusa being turned to stone, Hercules slicing up the Hydra, Odysseus vs Cyclops, King Arthur pulling the sword from the stone etc.

    I remember there used to be a random activity of the week, it's been years since I've seen it done before. For ex. 'robot monkey throws damsel off of a flying ship' Extremely random but broad and open to imaginative interpretation. Great exercise to work out your spontaneity muscles. (prepare for client's demands?)

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    Death from Above.
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    Please NO SONGS!

    I see many of you are suggesting illustrating music, but honestly, it'll most probably end up just as too wide for interpretation, no entry could be disqualified, you can draw and post anything. Ergo totally no challenge at all and boring to participate.

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    yeah I dont think being vague every time would be good, I know I'd run out of ideas without a fair amount of topical inspiration.

    But illustration can be so surreal at times, I think you have to let the imagination run wild once in a while and let the votes decide

    illustrating to music wouldn't work too well but an animation/motion graphics challenge to music would work great

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    Quote Originally Posted by Artfix View Post
    I will vote for varied 1-2 weeks and varied descriptions.

    But I must say, I don't see the appeal of some of these ideas at all like the music. That is TOO much based on interpretation. This isn't fine art. You can't illustrate emotions because no one will know what the heck it is except you--not to mention that the song or emotion means something else to them entirely. That is for fine art in my opinion.

    And how will anyone know what to vote for if it is 90% interpretive? Half of the entries will be accused of not following the rules.

    I think a lot of these ideas are going too far. All this really needs to be is a step up from CHOW or COW which basically means it just needs a background and the character shouldn't be standing still for a photo. The idea for IOW came from people in CHOW wanting to tell some story. Lets not go overboard here. My humble opinion. In the end, it will be the mods job to try and appease the majority of us lol...I really wish them luck. I look forward to it in any case.

    One more thing--restricting style is just...not a good idea. We need to be focusing on improving our portfolios and practical skills. Why would I waste time doing ink if I never plan on using it, ever. If people want to branch out, then I encourage them to do so without rules telling them to.



    On the other hand, if I end up skipping one or two IOW because its not my cup of tea, that is certainly fine too. Maybe we all need to compromise some

    Thank you mods!

    EDIT: I like Pat's idea of winner-created briefs as a reward. If the mods are up to it, they can do some quality control of the brief ideas from the winners.
    I agree about most of you guys are taking it too much to the "unjudgable" area of fine art because IOW was always a the dream of those how don't want to make only CHOW's but they also want too add some backgrounds, atmosphere and tell a story.
    You would never be able to judge correctly between something like Ariel or Farvus showed here and an illustration like this
    Luis Royo
    those are both illustrations but they seem to be so very far from each other on the art scale that it would be impossible to judge who got the best illustration, it's in the end will be a matter of personal taste.
    And if someone made a picture with 4 stick man who fight with stick swords it will have to be able to enter as the rest of the entries...and in my opinion it's just wrong.

    I propose to keep at as simple as possible you must not forget that although there are some pro's doing these from time to time most of us are not professional artists (including me), and you gotta challenge us but not make our life hard.
    I really think that if we won't make it simple and by simple i mean:
    a. character or a number of characters
    b. back ground
    c. atmosphere/sense of something - fight, love, anger and etc.

    We"ll end up judging and comparing "The Black Square" to Marc Silvestri's pencilled art and Manga styled pictures to "Luis Royo's illustrations.

    Think of it guys....



    Open for commissions......just PM me.
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  43. #60
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    I would suggest running a topic every week but giving two weeks to complete it. That way you are always judging the illustration of the week. Hopefully this would allow you to keep members coming back instead of falling away because they weren't into a topic or two. You could even make it a 4 week followed by a two week challenge. Your very first challenge would not go to vot until the 4th week but your second challenge would go to vote on the 3rd. After that, you would have a vote every week. This would give you the option of running an epic challenge every other week (ie, movie poster or magazine spread).

    I would also sugest pulling from ChOW and COW. Reason being, those topics are suppose to be concept art but they have become too narative (seems that ChOW is getting back on tract). Good concept art should be able to be handed over to a modeler or costume/creature designer and be executed in production format. Illustration of the Week would be the place to put those designs into a narative. A modeler can't work off a foreshortened figure doing ninja flips while being obscured by misty fog. But that could make a good pitch piece.

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