Shrimp Spine

Please straighten your back when you’re drawing. And regularly hydrate yourself. This week was quite hectic, but I felt like it was the best way to practice working on editorial illustrations.

As an illustrator for the NPR Next Generation Radio project, we had such a short deadline. However, it definitely put me in a position where I had to balance the time for coming up with a witty visual and the time to physically create the work efficiently. Knowing myself, it’s quite easy to get bogged down by minor details or over focus on a section when I know it won’t be visible in the final piece. Having to self-regulate my pace in these few days gave me a better understanding of myself and my process as an artist.

I’ve realized that spending a bit more time to create a solid, simple sketch would ultimately save me more time in the full process, since I don’t have to worry about fixing the composition as I go. This is still an easier part of the process to me, as I enjoy experimenting with different compositions, but it’s always the step after creating a solid layout that puts me through the wringer: coloring.

My red/green colorblindness, has always made this step a challenge for me, but with a lot of helpful resources from Emily Whang, I’ve made a process for myself where I can take a palette and overlay a hue layer on top. This creates an even more limited palette so I can put my focus on the colors’ values to complete a piece, rather than focusing on all the three elements of color: hue, value, and chroma.

Other than the actual process of working on an illustration, I felt like another important aspect of this project was the opportunity to go back and forth with journalists and try to create an illustration that everyone was happy with. I’ve realized that talking to non-artists about art is quite different than talking to artists about art, so it was a good way for me to understand the struggled that come with collaborative works.

I think if I was given this opportunity again, I would try to be more vocal about certain concerns and be more assertive about receiving timely feedback. Overall, it was a rich experience that has definitely helped me understand myself as an artist, and an artists’ place in the editorial world.

By Eejoon Choi

Eejoon is a rising senior at the University of Southern California, where she majoring in Fine Arts while double minoring in Animation and Cinematic Arts. As a female artist with red-green colorblindness, her goal is to help make a space for artists with visual disabilities by pushing the limitations of art in this digital era. When she’s not working as a Lab Tech at her school’s Photography Lab, you can find her visiting art galleries or people watching in downtown Los Angeles.

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