Constanze Moll
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  • drew a thing. not sure if good, but it’s a thing. now to draw another thing.

    January 26 – 10 Notes
    #constanze moll
    #ravens
    #illustration
    #owes a debt to that s2 vikings teaser
    #you should probably watch vikings
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  • Hey is it possible for you to give us a tutorial on how you do your headshots?

    Sure, sorry it took a little while. I’ll include a few process snaps from the CA portrait of Stephen Gautier.

    So, first thing — around one week from deadline, sometimes a bit earlier, I get headshots to work from. One thing I’ve noticed is that good headshots can make for the worst reference photos — black and white, high contrast headshots look slick but can hide a lot of important detail. Intense shadows can also distort facial proportions visually and I usually have to take extra care to not end up with lopsided noses and the like.

    Depending on how soon after the headshots I receive the actual articles, I try to polish the portraits as much as I can right away to save time later on. I’ll often finalise the actual pencil drawing of the headshot before I’ve even read the article.

    Unedited, straight from the scanner, this is what the pencil drawing looks like:


    When I receive the articles I go into idea-finding mode. I take down key points of the article, paying special attention to anything that might work well visually. Some of the articles can be very theoretical, which is occasionally difficult from a visual communication standpoint — as I said on Twitter the other day, I’ve yet to find a working metaphor for the concept of “good design”. I try not to let my solutions get too trite or overused (i.e. lightbulb = “having an idea”) but I’ve sacrificed subtlety for the sake of getting the work done on time a few times.

    This is what an idea-finding page looks like, although I usually need more than one: (Sorry for the cruddy phone picture, too lazy to scan anything else tonight.)



    You’ll notice I’m a lot more verbal than visual, especially in the early stages of the idea-finding process, but it’s been useful for me to force myself into visual development earlier on — makes me come up with more varied solutions.

    Eventually I (hopefully) end up with two to three ideas for each article. I scan and print the portraits I’ve drawn, then draw on top of them to come up with my final roughs. I tend to get too detailed at that stage — that’s something I need to work on, as I’d really like to speed up that process a bit. Then those drawings get scanned again and I sloppily throw some color on them just to give a rough idea of where I’m going colour-wise.

    This stage looks something like this:


    At that point I send them off and bite my fingernails a lot hoping no one will think they’re terrible. I hear back about which one to finalise within a day or so — I usually have two days left ‘til deadline at that point.

    It’s fairly straightforward after that — I either draw the background right onto the original portrait drawing or (more frequently) on a separate sheet of paper. They’re about A5 to A4 sized and I scan them at 400 dpi because I like to work a bit bigger, then size down. Then I assemble the line art in Photoshop, clean it up a bit (I don’t ink, just do clean pencils and darken them), flat (fill with random colours) all the big areas so they’re easily selected later, and get to colouring. I started out working with only flat fills, but I’ve recently begun to start digitally painting into some areas in order to add some extra texture.

    I usually have all the portraits open at the same time and jump back and forth between them. This both helps with keeping them uniform enough and me from getting bored or frustrated. When I’m eventually satisfied with the way they look I flatten my layers and paste the images into an appropriately sized background, adjusting their size to fit. Then I send them off and hope for the best.

    And that’s how I make my CA portraits. I hope I managed to offer some insight without being too terribly tl;dr. If I left any questions unanswered, please feel free to use the ask box (again).

  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart for Total Guitar (UK) issue 221

    More specifically for tabs of his “Rondo alla Turca” — the brief asked for a shisha pipe and a slightly more jovial version of the man. Super fun for me, of course, seeing as how he’s a bit of a national treasure and I live to subvert.

    The composition took into account a header up top and a box of text over his arm and some of his shirt. Very short turnaround for this one, but turned out all right, I think.

    January 18 – 6 Notes
    #constanze moll
    #Illustration
    #total guitar
    #mozart
    #wolfgang amadeus mozart
    #shirtsleeves
    #wig
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  • 3/3 head shots for Computer Arts (UK) issue 194: Stephen Gautier on the differences between working on projects at uni vs. working in an agency environment — I focused on the issue of vastly different deadline timeframes

    January 18 – 2 Notes
    #constanze moll
    #Computer Arts
    #Illustration
    #portrait
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  • 2/3 head shots for Computer Arts (UK) issue 194: Paul Wyatt on image quality in photographs (and the nostalgia for grainy ’70s holiday snaps)

    January 18 – 1 Notes
    #constanze moll
    #Computer Arts
    #portrait
    #Illustration
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  • 1/3 head shots for Computer Arts (UK) issue 194: Bec Brown of Blanket mag on launching and managing an indie magazine

    (I’m roughly four months behind in posting these and a few other things. Oops. Making a start now, to be continued later.)

    January 18
    #constanze moll
    #portrait
    #Illustration
    #Computer Arts
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  • Found this today. Nature, you’re the prettiest.

    November 6 – 10 Notes
    #autumn
    #leaves
    #yellow
    #purple
    #fall
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  • 2/3 head shots for Computer Arts (UK) issue 193: Craig Ward’s opinion piece criticising the “Martha Stewart aesthetic” in current design

    October 15
    #constanze moll
    #computer arts
    #illustration
    #portrait
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  • 1/3 head shots for Computer Arts (UK) issue 193: Chris Brown’s opinion piece on living in a tent during a post-graduation placement in Wales

    October 15
    #constanze moll
    #computer arts
    #portrait
    #illustration
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  • 3/3 head shots for Computer Arts (UK) issue 192: Justin Harder’s opinion piece on his visual influences

    September 1 – 2 Notes
    #computer arts
    #constanze moll
    #illustration
    #portrait
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