This year, my resolution is to master — okay, maybe sort of master — the "big 3" Adobe applications, Photoshop, InDesign, and Illustrator. As somebody who's written extensively about design but never really ventured to the other side, it's a jungle out there. Which is to say, a little threatening and confusing, but mostly magical and exciting. I've completely fallen in LOVE with Illustrator.
And what better way of learning how to use it than by playing around? Hence, a project I've set out for myself: Create an ode to women musicians I admire. The rebels, mystics, and rule-breakers out there who do amazing work and constantly inspire me. (If I'm going to be zoomed in at 500% on somebody's face, it may as well be somebody I admire, right?)
The twist: To compose my visual "ode" to women musicians, I wanted to honor them in a way that was unexpected. Quirky, even. I found myself sketching in my notebook and topping off portraits with halos. This is where the idea of sainthood came in — and my decision to draw inspiration from traditional Catholic saint portraits in my compositions.
What lady saint did I decide to start with? St. Vincent, of course! Aka Annie Clark, this woman is deserving of an incredible amount of praise. She's a wicked-talented guitarist, an innovative performer, and an artist, through and through. There are very few female guitarists with as much technical talent as Annie — but I have a feeling she may just inspire a new generation of young girls to pick up the ol' axe.
To create this piece, I started by hacking together a "Franken-Annie" in Photoshop to use as a reference. Then, I outlined all the details with the pen tool to get a clean version to work off of. From there, I used a combination of the pen and blob brush tool to fill in colors. Perhaps the most challenging part was adding a little shading here and there with the brush tool — Illustrator, I now know, does not like transparency. But I persevered by using some feathering and tinkering, always more tinkering!
I have eleven more candidates for Lady Sainthood — one for each month. Can't wait to start on February!