3 styles of crocodile by ciro correia

I've always enjoyed working across different styles. From photo-realistic work to very stylised work. There are so many levels of stylisation you can break things down into, here I've worked on character designs done in varying degrees of stylisation creating different illustrative styles. 

These sketches were done in Photoshop- depending on their end purpose I'll either take the sketches into Illustrator and work on them there in a kind of 'flat' character design or I'll reiterate them in Photoshop until I'm happy with the results. 

Photoshop versions

Illustrator version

Stranger Things fan art by ciro correia

This is the first fan art I've ever done (apart from before age 11 when I used to draw smurfs, Asterix and obelix, Tintin, things from 'The Lord of the Rings' and countless superheroes- strange mix) :) Like many others I absolutely loved 'Stranger Things' - everything about it from the storyline, the characters, the cinematic atmosphere and great homage to 80's movies and Stephen King. So I finally gave in to the itch to do something themed around Stranger Things - here's a quick sketch of "Eleven".

Preparatory sketches for political illustration by ciro correia

Hey, thanks for clicking through and visiting my blog. If you're a returning visitor - wow, thanks for your continued interest. Alternatively if it's your first time here feel free to hang around or connect with me on the various social media platforms I'm on. If you're looking for an illustrator, concept artist or designer then contact me for a chat about your project.

One of the things I've been working on is an editorial type illustration, politically themed. The two images I've posted below are part of my preparation - one of them is from my moleskin, I doodle think, thumb-sketch and brainstorm drawing in different ideas to develop. I spiral through iterations adding to my roughs until I'm happy with the composition.

The other image is a more developed colour sketch of Putin as I examine the structure of his face and experiment with what I want to accentuate or not. I'm also thinking about how far I want to go with stylisation. At this stage things are getting pretty clear and nailed down. I have to reign myself back sometimes - I want to add references to all sorts of things in the final, like for example a reference to 'Pussy Riot' but I have to remain focused and serve the final goal.

Colour sketch and study for Putin illustration, arguably a finished piece in itself.

Colour sketch and study for Putin illustration, arguably a finished piece in itself.

My initial exploration through rough sketches and doodle thinking ;)

My initial exploration through rough sketches and doodle thinking ;)

Once again thank you for visiting. 

Master study, John Singer Sargent's 'El Jaleo' by ciro correia

Welcome to my new blog - 'Sketched'. I should probably have said this in my last post since that was the first blog entry on my new system, but hey this still works. I don't know why I resisted updating my website and streamlining all my net dealings before. I suspect that it had to do with the time needed to consistently update a website - somehow I've managed it without any loss to my other vital areas. So welcome to and 'Sketched'. I'm hoping to post updates on my illustration, design and art. I'll be posting concerning building skills, design principles and other educational matters to do with illustration and design. I'm also hoping to get some posts from contributors, other artists and designers and their ideas. I won't always be posting my best and polished work here so don't judge me by the images I choose to post, this blog is very much about the processes of building skills or shaping concepts. It's also about sharing my work, love and interests.

This month's master study is 'El Jaleo' by John Singer Sargent. Sargent's work is hugely influential to many artists, illustrators and designers - myself included. My aim in doing a master study is almost never to finish the piece. I'm not trying to reproduce the work but by painting the piece I enter into what I can only describe as a dialogue with the work and the artist's techniques. It's weird, I know but I find that I enter into a meditative space where I learn from the artist's work.

El Jaleo is a dramatic painting, Sargent captures the mood and atmosphere in the scene by his use of light, palette and tension created by his brush strokes and how he has posed the subjects. The room feels like a stage, the floor and space gives us this impression. The light is dramatic to heighten the scene. Movement is captured by the tension Sargent creates - the light comes from below and at an angle, the shadows cast against the wall are as much a subject as the dancer and those sitting against the walls either playing instruments or clapping in adoration. 

Speed paint master study: Most of the picture has been roughed in, I go in afterwards and paint over the basic shapes to refine the image. The only area where I chose to work in some detail is the dancer's head and her right arm. Sargent's brush strokes are very loose and yet he manage's to capture incredible detail and nuance.

Learning from painting El Jaleo: Dramatic light, using contrastive and dramatic values to highlight and create tension. The palette is uncomplicated - browns, reds, orange, black and white. The greys are largely warm. Brush strokes are loose and I think worked over each other with fluid movements - finding larger shapes and breaking down these into smaller visual elements. Detail is kept to key areas to heighten the drama.

The main area of my study - the dancer's head and right arm - zoomed in. You can find a photo of the original painting here:

Note: This painting was used as a basis by Paul-Emile Becat, a French Graphic artist known for his erotic illustrations, for an illustration for 'La Femme et Le Pantin'  a novel by Pierre Louys  (1898) (please note, Paul-Emile Becat's work is not meant for those with weak constitutions and will more than likely offend many). 'La Femme et Le Pantin' (The woman and the puppet) was made into a silent film in 1920. Marlene Dietrich's 'The Devil is a Woman' (1935) was based on 'La Femme et Le Pantin'. Other films based on the novel are 'That Obscure Object of Desire' and 'The Female'. I find it interesting that in 'That Obscure Object of Desire' the female lead's character is a Flamenco dancer from Seville. It comes all back to this painting somehow or at least Becat's version of it. Becat's illustration



Moleskin, Cosmonaut sketch. by ciro correia

I was not part of the generation which watched the first manned space rockets soar into space. Those gigantic missiles aimed into the inky blackness beyond our blue skies. How starry eyed dreamers must have followed their ascent as they thundered upwards and pushed past the forces that keep our feet firmly on the ground.  I was not part of the generation that witnessed man's first walk on the moon. I came afterwards, into a world already changed by incredible acts of courage. I'm not American so I guess I don't have any sense of patriotism when I think of these spacemen. I don't think of them as American or Soviet. I think of them as human, like me. That's how I saw them as a child, they represented what I too could achieve. They ignited my belief in myself. The thing is, even though the astronauts achieved far greater things than their Soviet counterparts it was the Soviets who got the whole thing going back in 1957. Visually the cosmonauts somehow standout more vividly in my memories. Why is it that? Is it the strange design of their space crafts, spacesuits and satellites that captures the imagination more? There's something different and special in some Soviet designs that stand out as unique, original. 

The British Science Museum in London is currently hosting an exhibition called the 'Cosmonauts'. It's a cool visit if you have the chance. We went there a few weeks back and it is one of the best Museum type places I've been to.

Here's a sketch from my moleskin inspired by the cosmonauts.

Moleskin, Cosmonaut Sketch - Copic Marker, pencil, pen and ink.