Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Life Book 2013 - Unstumpification

Week 8 Unstumpification

Greetings again!  Week 8 of Life Book 2013 is done with the marvelously talented Jane Davenport.  This is the most challenging lesson I have done to date, both emotionally and technically.  'Stumpification' occurs when you trace around a photo of person, typically the tracing results in a 'stumpy' version of that person.  By using the technique demonstrated we are taught how to 'unstumpify' the tracing.  The example Jane did took an ordinary photo and she created a very lithe and sexy fashion model, which is of little surprise as Jane has a background in the fashion industry.  The technique of 'unstumpification' is essentially using tracing and illustration to do on paper what magazines do in photoshop to make a woman 'more attractive'.

I choked.  With the average woman being a size 12, and with so many women on constant diets, so many women with eating disorders, so many women who hate their bodies and struggle with poor self esteem, I could not bring myself to be a part of that and call it art.  I know it's seemingly a small thing but we all have our lines I suppose and this one crossed mine.  Further, this lesson was about bravery, and I just couldn't reconcile what seemed to be two completely polar opposite ideals.

I did try the unstumpification technique using photographs of plus size models, but it was still elongating them, smoothing out their curves, essentially making them thinner.  In the end I used a plus size croquis, which is a line drawing used in the fashion illustration as a base for drawing clothing onto the human form.  The only unstumping I did was to create a slightly longer neckline to allow for the additional of all that hair.

I created the comic book cover in Publisher, printed it out on heavy weight paper and then transferred the croquis using wax transfer paper.  I decided to keep it monochrome and used a single shade of brown to keep with a sepia style look.  It took two frustrating weeks to create the final version and by the end I was so annoyed with my efforts that I gave up on doing hands and faces, so my comic book heroine is wearing a mask!  I am so glad this one is done.

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