Surprisingly, I felt all week like that time I got the bright idea to sign up for a new-mom bellydancing class. Kids as young as infants were welcome, so I brought my 5 month old and 2 year old.
I was uncoordinated and uncomfortable during every class; didn't have a clue what I was doing. Plus, as I was trying to remember where to put that damn scarf so I didn't trip over it or slip on it, I had to keep a close an eye on my wild older child who would dash out the door and run free, screaming down the hall and outside if given the slightest opportunity.
That bromeliad assignment was really, really frustrating. Sadly, I didn't enjoy about half of it.
I started out studying bromeliads and drawing very detailed and realistic studies. They were nice, but I'm trying to loosen up. So then I did some fast sketchy drawings and used some different tools: dip pen & ink, and watercolor, drawing with the brush. I liked the drawings, but what to do with them???
One of my favorite looks is when sketches are combined with more finished illustrations and everything is done in a range of mediums. That's what I tried first: a cluster of multihued plants growing vertically, pen, pencil, watercolor, vector all on one plate. But I hated it. It was NOT working.
Then I tried a simpler, one color layout using just the sketches. That didn't work either.
Then I tried a simple multicolored border just on the edge of the plates. It was delicate and pretty but a little too Grandma. I definitely wasn't going for Grandma. I kinda felt like crying out of frustration.
Then I tried using the same sketches but changed the layout to more of a messy wreath / border type design around the edges of the plates, with the plants going every which way, and with a bird hidden in each design. It was better, but nothing like what I originally wanted. That's what I settled on, though. Maybe it'll grow on me.
The most frustrating thing was I couldn't figure out WHY the layouts weren't working. I still don't know. Maybe it's my inner struggle: traditional, realistic renderings vs. retro mod stylized sketches. Maybe it's my use of color. Maybe I should spend more time on my initial sketches, or on cleaning up the scanned-in drawings. Maybe I just need more practice designing something other than fabric and single diecut designs.
Anyway, plate week is all done. I'd like to revisit it someday because I do like that stuff... I just had no idea how difficult it was to do!
This week is Children's Book Illustration, which I feel much more comfortable with. Character design I can do in my sleep (evidenced by 2,129+ of these wacky little drawings)! I just *know* this week will be better.