Artwork Feature #1: James White - Robot Rock
This is part of our new weekly series of posts. Here we feature a selected piece of art and have a little chat with the designer who made it. They give us a bit of background information and details about how the work was conceptualized and created.So I finally started publishing this new series. I was browsing through some designs I found on Deviantart and started thinking about the details. I wanted to know what tools the designer used to create them. And I wondered why so few artists decribe their developing process. This thought inspired me to create this new series of posts. Hope you all enjoy them. You can suggest artwork for the following week in the comments.
James White about "Robot Rock":
I was very late getting into Daft Punk's music, the first full album I heard was Alive 2007 so I missed the boat by about 10 years. When I discover something that really appeals to me, I tend to listen to it full tilt for a week or so and naturally this influenced my artwork. I wanted to do something in the cosmic style I had been experimenting with at the time, but also wanted to keep the essence of Daft Punk intact, namely their live show. The result was my Robot Rock piece which used subtle elements from the Alive 2007 cover.
Since this was a personal project, I was my own critic. I wanted something that combined the series I had been working on, as well as something that (hypothetically) would fit into the design and branding that surrounds Daft Punk. They obviously have a very sharp eye for the materials that represent the group and I wanted a piece of art that would feel at home with their existing brand.
I always start out sketching some general compositions of how I would like the elements to sit (grids, logos, effects, etc). I sometimes sketch up to 40 thumbnails before I land on something I think might work. I then move to Illustrator where I create some general color and composition layouts using simple vectors. This helps me see very quickly if my sketch will work as a digital piece. I then construct my real vector elements in Illustrator, then construct everything in Photoshop where I add lighting, texture, effects, etc.
The only real problems I encounter with my works are how overlayed elements react with what is beneath. I tend to spend hours adjusting opacities, blending modes, color treatments, levels, etc to get things working the way I want. Every little adjustment throws all elements into flux, so I have to be very patient as I tweak things in Photoshop.
I treated this design the same way I treat all my designs: if I wake up the next day and I still like it, then it must be finished. The Robot Rock piece took around 2 and a half days to complete because, as I said, it wasn't sitting right with me the next day :) But eventually everything snapped into place the way I had originally intended. - James White