Show: Blinding. Deborah Ballinger.
Tell: “This piece is based on the words, and sounds, of Florence and The Machine’s song of the same title. As soon as I listened to her album I knew I wanted to do some illustrations for it, with images already in my head I had this kind of urgency to get it all down on paper. I also felt like it was the moment I had been waiting for to spur me on and push my drawing technique further.
“I have listened on and off to that album for about a year and I guess had some time to nurture how I interpreted the music and the words. Since I spend a lot of my time in front of my desk either doing digital work or sitting drawing I have to have music on in order to get in to that ‘zone’. It was kind of distracting listening to her stuff in a way because I had all these images in my mind that I needed to get on to paper and often I would procrastinate by doodling concepts.
“After drawing out these concepts I started making the image using collage – and this is what I drew from. A great sense of dysfunction, disembodiment and disorder comes from the collaging process into the physical act of drawing. I love that nothing comes out exact, and all the small mistakes and exaggerations of line can actually change an image from dull to lively.
“Above all I really wanted to get that macabre and slightly nightmarish undertone that Florence songs tend to have, expressed through the image. I knew my black and white pencil drawing would lend itself to it, so I wanted to really take it further and push it to the best it could be. I used a lot of found imagery of Victorian costume and photographs as inspiration – that feeling of overgrown Victorian gardens. Also the poses that they would hold in their photos is mirrored in the illustration through the stark face-on pose of the main crow character, and also the sleeping boy which is reminiscent of the Victorian ‘death photos’.
“Other than hitting ‘the wall’, a challenge in creating this image was that I was becoming careful with the application of line and shade. Sometimes I feel a bit cocky and just slap the dark tones on without any thought to how it might hinder the image, whereas with this because it was a full block illustration around the edge – and leaves, which are a personal nightmare to draw for me – I knew I had to be a bit more delicate and tentative. I guess the fear of the leaves really made me take my time!
“I love this piece because it was a challenge that I had set myself and that I had conquered. It helped me see that I could do more than draw in the centre of the page, and that not only could my illustration be that decorative but that I also could do it. I now set myself these small challenges to conquer, so I feel like everyday I’m getting that little bit better, and maybe that little bit more in tune with my illustrations.”
Info: Deborah Ballinger is a freelance illustrator living and working in Brighton under the alias of Love Raccoons Illustration. Since graduating from Norwich University College of the Arts, her work has been exhibited in London, Norwich and Nottingham and has been used on many surfaces – from t-shirts to cards.
Deborah has submitted Blinding to Out There, a website showcasing the stories and experiences of UK Art and Design graduates. At its core Out There is a collective of artists and designers sharing their stories through a series of projects and articles, with plans to showcase works from up and coming UK creatives
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